REVIEW: In Close by Brenda Novak

bookTitle: In Close (Amazon)
Bulletproof, #3
Brenda Novak 
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: NetGalley
Published: October 2011 by Mira

Claire O'Toole's mother, Alana, went missing fifteen years ago. That was big news in Pineview, Montana, the kind of town where nothing much ever happens. Then, last year, Claire's husband, David, died in a freak accident—after launching his own investigation into Alana's disappearance.

Is Alana dead? Or did she simply abandon her husband and daughters? Claire is determined to find out—and her former boyfriend, Isaac Morgan, wants to help. Although their relationship didn't end well, he still has feelings for her. And yet it isn't until he starts to suspect David's death wasn't an accident that he's drawn back into her life.

Together, Claire and Isaac search for answers to the questions that have haunted Pineview all this time. But as they soon discover, someone's prepared to kill so those answers won't be found….

Why I Read this Book: Inside (my review) and In Seconds (my review) were such good suspenseful reads that I just had to read In Close.

What I Liked: I had a feeling to as whom the villain was but the why was not at all what I was expecting. There are a lot of factors that come into play. A lot of secrets unfold. I wasn’t sure where the author was going with the mystery but once everything was solved I had an oooooh moment.

What I Didn’t Like: You know that game one of these things is not like the others? That’s how I felt about this book being part of the Bulletproof series. The first two books in the series shared a connection. In Close didn’t. The only connection this book had was Laurel’s character (the main character in the second book) but she only played a very small role in this book. Other than that, In Close had nothing to do with the first two books. That being said, this book could definitely be read as a stand alone. (And I feel that the series should have ended with the second book.)

I was really disappointed that Rex (a character from the first two books) didn’t get his own HEA. Hell, he wasn’t even mentioned in In Close. Not once! So there’s a piece of me that doesn’t feel closure, even though this book is the final book in this series.

There were some things that didn’t make sense to me. Claire’s stepfather moves on and remarries 6 months after Alana’s (Claire’s mother) disappearance. Six months! That just looks bad on the stepfather’s part. Fingers start pointing in his direction because of how quickly he moved on. Speaking of moving on, Claire herself moves on pretty fast as well. A year after her husband’s death and she’s dancing in the sheets with Isaac. It’s actually a little more complicated than that – Claire and Isaac have a history together - but their relationship (Claire’s and Isaac’s) left me wondering. Was Claire ever really over Isaac? Did she really love David enough to marry him? Was there any regret? Thus, I had a hard time rooting for Claire and Isaac. 

Overall Impression: Unfortunately, In Close didn’t live up to its predecessors for me. Whereas the first and second book in this series kept me on the edge of my seat, In Close was more of a mystery than a suspenseful thrill ride. In Close had more of a creep factor going on. This book makes the 4th novel I’ve read by Brenda Novak so far; two were hits and two were misses. I’m not yet ready to give up on this author but I will be a little more selective when it comes to picking up another one of her novels to read.

The Book Vixen’s Rating:

2 Frogs

About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


  1. I haven't read the first two in the series yet so I might pick this one up just to see how it compares for me.

    My grandfathers both remarried 6 months after my grandmothers passed away. It's not because they didn't love my grandmothers - actually, they loved them very much. My maternal grandfather mourned my grandmother until the day he died too. I don't know how the stepfather felt about his new wife, but I think my grandfathers both remarried after losing my grandmothers because they didn't want to be alone. Which, ok, is a shitty reason to get married, but in my grandfathers' cases, they're both old already and I'm pretty sure (Oh God I hope!) that there wasn't a lot of sexin' going on. Again, I haven't read the book, so I don't know what was going on in the stepfather's head (nor do I know if we find out anything about his relationship with the new wife). Hoping for the best.

    What can I say? I'm an optimist. :)

    1. But your grandfathers had closure; their spouses (unfortunately) passed on. Alana disappeared. They didn't know what happened to her, if she ran off, got kidnapped, murdered, etc.

  2. I finished it last night:

    I too had a problem with how fast Tug had moved on and how quickly Claire fell back in love with Isaac.


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