Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Book Review | Come Closer

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I saw this one over on Ethan's blog last week and you can read his review here if you would like. Ethan and I have pretty similar tastes when it comes to books of this nature - thrillers, some horror, and the like. If you love these kinds of books too then you should go see what other goodies he has on his blog - he has not steered me wrong yet!

Before we get to the review, please indulge me a bit and see how you fare with this little quiz that our protagonist returns to multiple times over the course of the novella. Amanda, an architect, orders a book entitled Design Issues Past and Present but somehow receives Demon Possession Past and Present instead. She intends to send it back, but never quite gets around to doing so.

1. I hear strange noises in my home, especially at night, which family members tell me only occur when I am present.

2. I have new activities and pastimes that seem "out of character", and I do things that I did not intend and do not understand.

3. I'm short and ill-tempered with my friends and loved ones.

4. I can understand languages I've never studied, and have the ability to know things I couldn't know through ordinary means.

5. I have blackouts not caused by drugs, alcohol, or a pre-existing health condition.

6. I have unusual new thoughts, or hear voices in my head.

7. I've had visions or dreams of personalities who may be demons.

8. A psychic, minister, or other spiritualist has told me I'm possessed

9. I have urges to hurt or kill animals and other people.

10. I have hurt or killed animals or people.

0-3: You are probably not possessed. See a doctor or a mental health professional for an evaluation.

3-6: You may be haunted, or in the early stages of possession. Seek a spiritual counselor for assistance.

6-10: You are possessed. Consult with your spiritual counselor immediately. You may be a threat to the safety of yourself and your family.

So friends, how did you do - possessed, on the way, or not at all?

It all begins in a mundane sort of way, a sudden and recurring noise that foreshadows all to come - either a demonic possession, or one woman's slow descent into madness. Amanda and her husband Edward begin hearing soft taps around the apartment, barely noticeable at first. Edward reports that when Amanda is out of town for a few nights, the taps stop completely. But when she is home alone, they grow to a terribly loud and incessant noise. All sorts of explanations are put forward, but none fit, and none prove to be the cause. Even as they follow the sound around the apartment as it seems to move from room to room, they never figure out the source. Just as suddenly, it fades to nothing, no longer invading the safe space of their home.

Though the sound has gone, Amanda soon finds her mind invaded in a different way as she begins dreaming of the imaginary friend whom she spent much of her childhood with. Yet, she is no longer the little girl Amanda imagined her to be, but a grown woman - one who still wants to play. The stray dog who used to follow Amanda home from the bus stop each day no longer wants anything to do with her, and at first she doesn't understand why. When the dog bites her hand, the reader knows that the dog senses something that no one else has picked up - save for a young child who spends time with Amanda and also sees what is really going on.

Slowly the perfect-for-her life that Amanda has built begins crumbling. She and Ed begin fighting often, she takes up smoking again much to his disgust, and then she begins losing chunks of time. When a murder is reported on the news, Amanda has the  self-awareness to think that she is possibly responsible for the crime. Even as the darkness settles comfortably into her life, Amanda watches from the inside, recognizing what is happening. She seeks help on three different occasions, but by the last go-round it is too late.

We have a front row seat to the entire show, as the story is told from Amanda's perspective. We are taken along for the ride as she moves between confusion and fear as things get worse. Amanda begins neglecting her marriage, her job, her life. She opens credit cards and buys new items she doesn't want or need, something to recognizes. She can't stop. Or won't stop. Amanda goes to bars, cheats on her husband, continues the shopping sprees as her dream of someday opening her own architecture firm disappears in the dumpster fire that her life has become.

Amanda does not seem bothered by any of that as the novel propels itself toward its twisted conclusion. Is she resigned to the fact that she no longer has control because Naamah has taken over? Or has she slid irrevocably into absolute madness? What Gran does so masterfully here is entwine the two so tightly, the truth is hard to know.

That is truly the most terrifying part of it all, and what makes this book the best kind of horror/psychological thriller. The suspense, the slow burn and minimal action make this book so deliciously terrifying. I have always found myself more afraid of what is not spoken than what is. My imagination can conjure up some pretty scary shit, so most of the time for an author to give me a good scare, they have to leave it up to me to imagine the worst parts.

I could not put this one down. There is a whole lot of punch packed into this book, coming in at just under 200 pages. But not a word is wasted, so pay attention to the details and make up your mind about what you think has happened.

Highly highly recommended.


  1. I read and enjoyed Gran's Clara DeWitt series. I had not heard of this book but she is a very talented writer.

    1. Very talented! To tell such a deep story in less than 200 pages was quite the accomplishment. I had not heard of her before reading this one.

  2. I'm so glad you loved this one as much as I did. The perfect kind of creepy!

    1. YES!! Just creepy enough to make me read with the lights on. I loved it so much!!

  3. I'm for sure possessed lol. This book sounds so good!

    1. Lol, NO! You can't be! It's super creepy and delicious, I think you will like it.


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