‘They’ll always be two steps ahead of you’
[ About the Book ]
When a young woman goes missing from Jesus College, Oxford, DS Josie Masters is plunged into a world of panic as fear grips the city. Along with Thames Valley Police’s newest recruit, the handsome DS Pryce, Josie must act fast – and when two more students disappear from Oriel and Somerville colleges, she realises the killer is sending her a deadly message in a cruel game of cat and mouse. This time, the case is personal – but who is the perpetrator?
In a desperate race against the clock, Josie hunts for the kidnapper, and soon discovers he could be a lot closer to home than she’d ever thought…
[ My Review ]
I am absolutely thrilled to be joining M.J. Ford and Avon Books on tour with Keep Her Close, the second book in the series featuring the wonderful DS Josie Masters. (Just a quick note to apologise for posting a day earlier than is expected but due to personal circumstances I am unable to post tomorrow 29th March)
I recently read the first book in this series, Hold My Hand (Review HERE), a book that I had received last year but the opportunity escaped me to read it at the time. I am so delighted to have now caught up with this series because, to put it quite simple, it’s terrific.
Keep Her Close was published on 7th March and we pick up, more or less, where Hold My Hand finished. The continuation is done relatively seamlessly making it accessible to new readers of the series, but I would always recommend starting with the first book to get a real feel for the characters. After experiencing very traumatic events, Josie is currently seeing a therapist and has a new man in her life, Lucas. Josie has serious trust issues and her relationship with Lucas is very fragile. Josie sees issues where there aren’t any and is quick to judge. She is human with all the frailties that that entails, which adds to the likability factor of her character.
A student disappears from a one of the many colleges in Oxford without trace or explanation. Josie Masters and her new colleague, DS Pryce begin the search immediately but keep coming up with loose ends. Within a very short time-frame a second and third girl go missing, all from different educational facilities. All the team are flummoxed, as there is no apparent connection and, more unusually no contact from the suspect. With limited time available to them, before any leads turn cold, the team spend every waking hour following up information, no matter how tentative.
As the clues start to slowly reveal themselves, it soon becomes apparent that Josie is central to the whole modus operandi…but why? As the team trawl through Josie’s past cases, time is running out for the victims and tempers begin to fray. The press are hounding for answers and the pressure is on to solve this case fast.
Josie’s personal life is suffering as she attempts to juggle everything, making her tired, overly suspicious and quick to judge. She is quite a complex individual with a tenacious approach to her work, resulting in many clashes with colleagues, in particular her boss. Josie is a bit of a firebrand in the office with a major hangup about the way her superiors handle her but she is also determined and focused, wanting results every single time.
Josie is fearless with absolutely no respect for her own life which makes her an incredibly exciting protagonist. She faces down every suspect with determination and righteousness on her side.
Keep Her Close is another exciting read from M.J. Ford with a gripping plot and an action-packed sequence of events. A great cast of characters make up this riveting story, with the relentless DS Josie Masters at it’s core.
Bring on Book 3 🙂
In the meantime read on for a short extract, a flavour, a teaser….and enjoy!!
[ Extract ]
‘I’m afraid not. We have a surveillance system at the front of the college, covering the porters’ lodge, but that’s it. Sorry, you think she’s been kidnapped?’
‘It’s a possibility.’
They took a passage past an open door leading into kitchens. A young man wearing whites, with heavily tattooed forearms was unloading pallets of bread and nodded a greeting as they passed, and there were catering staff at work inside.
‘I thought the students had gone home,’ said Pryce.
‘We’ve got a three-day conference coming in later,’ said Frampton-Keys. ‘Ornithologists. We can’t afford to let the college go empty out of term.’
She turned a sharp right angle, then pushed open a heavy, metal-studded door into a cosy wooden-clad room of benches and tables, with a small hatch counter. A young woman with a short, dark pixie-cut and delicate features to match was sitting next to an empty mug and several screwed-up tissues, hands toying with her phone. She stood up sharply. She was wearing jeans, a thick sweater, and what looked like trail shoes. Sensible, in the current weather.
‘Have you found her?’ she asked meekly.
‘Not yet,’ said the Vice Provost. ‘Anna, these visitors are police officers. They need to talk to you.’
Anna looked scared. Her already large, almond-shaped eyes opened wider, and she gave a single nod.
Jo introduced herself and Pryce, then sat down opposite the student. Frampton-Keys was still standing off to one side.
‘Perhaps we could have some privacy?’ asked Jo.
The Vice Provost frowned. ‘I really should be here,’ she said. ‘It’s a student welfare issue.’
Jo smiled tightly. ‘It’s an active police investigation. Anna’s an adult, and we’re only asking a few questions.’
Frampton-Keys’ mouth twitched. ‘Very well. Is that all right with you, Anna? You don’t have to talk to them if you don’t want to.’
Jo was close to losing her temper, but Anna said, ‘Yes,’ quietly, and the Vice Provost turned on her heels and left.
‘Thanks for your time, Anna,’ she said. ‘How long have you known Malin?’
[ Bio ]
M.J. Ford lives with his wife and family on the edge of the Peak District in the north of England. He has worked as an editor and writer of children’s fiction for many years.
Hold My Hand was his debut novel and was published in 2018. Keep Her Close is published on 7th March 2019, both with Avon Books.
Twitter ~ @MJFordBooks