Book Review : Don’t Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

February 18, 2014 Book review 8 ★★★★

This book pulled me in with its spooky looking cover, then held me firmly in place with its well executed story that filled me with trepidation for what the next page would reveal.

Book Review : Don’t Stand So Close by Luana LewisDon't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis
Published by Transworld on 13 Feb 2014
Genres: Mystery & Detective, Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Buy on Amazon

A lingering, compulsive debut novel that will keep you tightly in its grip. What would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help? If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone? What would you do if you let her in, but couldn't make her leave?

What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse? Stella has been cocooned in her home for three years. Severely agoraphobic, she knows she is safe in the stark, isolated house she shares with her husband, Max. The traumatic memories of her final case as a psychologist are that much easier to keep at a distance, too.

But the night that Blue arrives on her doorstep with her frightened eyes and sad stories, Stella's carefully controlled world begins to unravel around her.

First Line of Don’t Stand So Close:

“At first, she ignored the doorbell.”

My Thoughts on Don’t Stand So Close:

This physiological thriller isn’t one of those books that scare you with scenes of graphic violence (but there is one part later in the book that is harrowing).  Instead it flings you straight into an intriguing puzzle and then builds the suspense to the point where you don’t know who to trust.  The real menace in this book is your own imagination as it flies off in every direction.

I love books where you have no clue what is happening and this book definitely achieved that at the beginning.    Yes, I was confused but not in a frustrated way, instead in a way that made me read faster to unravel this tricky story.  I did eventually guess how all the dots joined up and what picture they would form but watching it all unfold was still good fun.  There wasn’t any huge plot twists to get hugely excited about but it was still really enjoyable.

The main character was a really interesting one.  She is complex and trying to work out why she is the way she is a huge part of this book.  We learn very quickly that Stella is severely acrophobic and afraid to even answer her own doorbell.  But then we get flashbacks of her working very competently and capably as a psychiatrist for Social Services.  What happened between then and now and just who is at her door are the questions that this book teases you with .

There are lots of creepy secondary characters to keep a close eye on.  Through the flashbacks and current day events, we get well fleshed out character development that make the events seem believable, horribly believable.   There are 3 threads to the story; current day Stella, past day Stella and a girl in counselling.  Each time we switched to a different thread, I was sorry to be leaving the current one but then I’d get invested in that storyline too.

I loved the part of the book that focused on Stella at work and the various techniques she used to draw people out.  I’m always fascinated by psychology so I loved the little insight we got here.  I did have an issue at the end of the book though.  I never found out what happened one of the characters, a young character who had a huge part in the book so I felt a bit unsatisfied by this.

Overall though an exciting debut that makes Luana Lewis an author to watch out for.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read Don’t Stand So Close?

I’d recommend this to folks who like books that focus on intelligent character building and plots that take a bit of time to unravel.  If you are interested in psychology then I also think you’d enjoy reading about Stella’s work as a psychiatrist just as much as I did.

Thanks to Random House UK for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest unbiased review.


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8 Responses to “Book Review : Don’t Stand So Close by Luana Lewis”

    • trish

      I know CeCe, that model creeped me out too. And the matches/fire just seemed really sinister. And yes, it was a really interesting book, I loved working it all out.

    • trish

      Haha, you make a good point there Charleen! I love puzzles too and I really appreciated that it was possible to work this one out before the reveal as I love to do that.

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