“Look Closer” by David Ellis tells the story of Simon Dobias, a law professor, and Vicky Lanier, an advocate for domestic violence victims, and their lives together. They couldn’t seem more normal: the couple lives in Chicago and has an incredibly stable, if unexciting, marriage. Yet, there isn’t a single moment of normalcy in the novel.
Readers will be part of murder, deep lifelong secrets, a secret whirlwind affair, a $20 million trust fund, decades-long grudges, suspicious deaths and dozens of lies. It is highly encouraged that readers do in fact pay close attention as things aren’t what they seem.
This book was published in July 2022 and is a recent addition to the Casey Memorial Library, featured on their “Newly Arrived” shelf. This is Ellis’ 10th novel, though he has co-authored eight novels with James Patterson.
Ellis is in fact a lawyer himself and practices in Chicago through a private practice and more recently through public service. He served as the House Prosecutor who tried, and convicted, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in the impeachment trail before the Illinois Senate. Most recently, Ellis was sworn in as the youngest-serving justice of the Illinois Appellate Court.
Overall, I was absolutely enthralled by this book. It is roughly 450 pages and I read the entire novel in just under a week.
From the jump, readers are quickly pulled in as the very first chapter, in fact the very first page, involves an apparent murder. The writing is concise yet engaging, being descriptive where it was necessary without being flowery and over-the-top.
This continues on into the makeup of the characters. Though there are many characters, which was overwhelming in the beginning, each has their story and individually push the story along in a way that is unexpected.
Thriller novels often times have the cliché tropes: misjudged deaths, incompetent police, early suspect, amnesia, blackmail, criminal consultants and, of course, twists and reveals. While this novel does involve some of those, my favorite was the twists and reveals. The moment I thought I knew what was happening, a twist happened, followed shortly by another reveal. Sometimes tropes can be too much, or can happen too often, though I didn’t feel that way for this novel. I felt that each twist was perfectly timed and perfectly placed.
It has been a while since I have read a novel this quickly and been this engaged.
If someone is looking for an engaging story, what could be a quick read and a story that readers will quickly recommend to others, this is the novel for you.
Five out of five stars. Available at major booksellers and the library.