Keep Him Close by Emily Koch


Book blurb

Alice’s son is dead. Indigo’s son is accused of murder.

Indigo is determined to prove her beloved Kane is innocent. Searching for evidence, she is helped by a kind stranger who takes an interest in her situation. Little does she know that her new friend has her own agenda.

Alice can’t tell Indigo who she really is. She wants to understand why her son was killed – and she needs to make sure that Indigo’s efforts to free Kane don’t put her remaining family at risk. But how long will it take for Indigo to discover her identity? And what other secrets will come out as she digs deeper?

No one knows a son like his mother. But neither Alice nor Indigo know the whole truth about their boys, and what happened between them on that fateful night.

Keep Him Close is a dark domestic drama from an award-winning writer.

My thoughts

Kane, Benny and Lou are out for the night having a drink. Only Kane and Benny come home the next day.

Kane’s mum, Indigo, wants to know how anyone could believe her son could harm another person. Kane insists he’s responsible.

Lou’s mum, Alice, wants to know what happened that night to make Kane do what he did. Benny, Alice’s older son, won’t say.

Alice is a librarian and single mother. Indigo, an art therapist, is also a single mother. She’s looking for information that will prove Kane didn’t do anything wrong. She goes to the library, the Police have taken Kane’s laptop, to use the computers there. This is how the two mothers meet. However, whilst Alice realises who Indigo is, Indigo does not know who Alice is.

Indigo is a more emotional woman whilst Alice is quite constrained with her emotions but as the story is told from more than one perspective it is easy to understand both ways of coping with their respective losses. For it is as much a loss for Indigo as it is for Alice. I liked both women. All the characters are well written and believable. The story goes along at a really good pace and the tension is palpable throughout the book. This is a story of loss, grief and trying to find answers. What happened to Lou? What will happen to Kane? Why is Benny so secretive? Who else was there that night? Will these two mothers find the answers? Will the answers be what they want to hear?

Emily Koch has written another fascinating story which has a mystery at its heart. It uses misleading, duplicitous information and, what can only be described as, a complete lack of a full and proper police investigation not to mention a half-hearted defence solicitor to bring these two women together. Whilst they do not have the same agenda they are both after the truth and determined to find it.

As the story unfolds we find out not just what happened that night but how it came about. We are wrapped up in family life at it’s most vulnerable. If it was not for the strength of these women, two mothers, it would be easy to see all those lives remaining broken. What a terrible tragedy and waste that would be.

It took a little while to get completely immersed in this book but ultimately I thought it better than Emily Koch’s debut, If I Die Before I Wake, and would be more than happy to recommend Keep Him Close.

My review of ‘If I Die Before I Wake’


With thanks to Kate, Marketing Executive at Vintage: Penguin Random House UK, for the invitation to read Keep Him Close by Emily Koch and pre-approving my eCopy via NetGalley.

All thoughts are my own. I have not received any payment in return for my review of this book.


Published by: Harvill-Secker (Hardcover – 19 Mar 2020) Vintage Digital (eBook and Audiobook)

Buy: Hive, Waterstones, Amazon, Audio


An author and journalist Emily Koch lives in Bristol, UK, and is represented by Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

Her second novel Keep Him Close came out in March 2020. The Sunday Times called it ‘a tense drama’ and Literary Review said it was ‘A moving account of family relationships and…devastating criminality’.

Her debut novel If I Die Before I Wake was shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award. It has also been longlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award, was selected as a Waterstones Thriller of the Month, and was one of Waterstones’ top paperbacks of 2019.

You can follow Emily on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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