December 1, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Five Reasons Not To Read Close Enough To Hurt By Katherine A. Olson

Close Enough To Hurt By Katherine Olson Summary

Goodreads summary for Close Enough To Hurt By Katherine Olson (review below):

In Katherine A. Olson’s thrilling debut, perfect for fans of Jeneva Rose and Elle Cosimano, vigilante Dylan Truman is out for revenge—and this time, it’s personal.

Dylan Truman, better known under her alias of Lady Justice, is the bane of every grifter, cheater, and bully in the Bay Area. Operating out of a houseboat community in Sausalito, she works as a revenge-for-hire freelancer alongside her best friend and hacktivist, Daniel Haas. When a prospective client brings up a fraud complaint against billionaire and pharmaceutical CEO Brent Wilder, Dylan sees this as an opportunity: Wilder, years earlier, assaulted Dylan’s sister and got away with it. Dylan’s plan is simple—she’ll take on a socialite persona, rent a house next to Wilder’s mansion in Pacific Heights, and worm her way into his life. There, she will find a way to avenge those he’s wronged—one way or another.

But this time, Dylan may be doing it alone. Daniel is ready to leave the business, start a family, and settle down with a stable and safe job. Dylan is devastated—not only is she losing her partner and one of the most talented digital private investigators in the city, but she’s beginning to realize her feelings for Daniel are deeper than she thought. But with Brent’s increasing paranoia comes life-threatening danger, and Dylan must keep her head in the game.

With the clock running out fast, Lady Justice must choose between vengeance at any cost—and giving it all up for the man who may actually love her back. Dylan has always tried to protect those she loves by walking her path alone, but perhaps there is another way to ensure justice is served.

Reason #1- Characters

These characters were OVER THE TOP. Everything is on level 10 and repeated ad nauseam (but you’ll see that pattern throughout this review). Things that were over the top included:

  • Dylan hates Brent. Brent is a douche.
  • Dylan is in love with her best friend, Daniel, and he’s probably in love with her. EXCEPT, he is stuck in family obligations to marry in a particular class, and with a quickness
  • The journalist, the only one who knows Dylan’s true identity, is working on two stories about Dylan going after Brent. However, Dylan insists that everything stays anonymous… until she throws that out the window in a shocking, stupifying turn.
  • Without spoilers, I would like to speak of the above generally. In the above point, and in many other ways, the core of Dylan’s character is just thrown out the window. Growth over time? YES! Character arc? YES! Abandoning their core? Not cool.
  • It is some kind of mental gymnastics to write inconsistencies repetitively.

Reason #2- Pacing

Oh, for fucks sake. What even is pacing? The worst part is that Close Enough To Kill lulls you in by taking off like a rocket. However, that only lasts until the 5/10% of the book. Then, it comes to a complete stop. A significant part of why this happens is covered in the next section. The first 5/10% includes an excellent foundation for the mystery, thriller, and suspense (plus some A+ dark humor). Unfortunately, that is where it ends.

Reason #3- Plot

Please note that a lot of what I’m about to say lends itself to the above reasons: pacing. As mentioned above, there was so much potential at the start of Close Enough To Hurt. Yet, it exploded in abject failure. First of all, the character who serves as the catalyst for Dylan’s plan against Brent should be consistent throughout the book, right? She is a main character, even. Well. No. Katherine Olson drops this character off the face of the earth. She pops up here and there as a convenient plot point. She is a part of the ending (no spoilers coming), but for the most part, she spurs Dylan on and then disappears.

Next, this is a romance novel with a mystery in the middle of it. This isn’t a me thing, which is often the case when commenting on romance. The level of fawning and romance overshadows any minuscule amount of suspense. There are whole chapters in a row that focus on Dylan and Daniel, leaving the thriller part of the book out to dry. This impacts the book’s pacing and throws cold water on any attempt at being a thriller. Even the most tenuous of situations are dragged down by insistent fawning. There are often convenient plot points, but they are romance-based, again having nothing to do with the “thriller.”

Summary Review

Thank you to Dreamscape Media for an advanced audio arc of Close Enough To Kill by Katherine A. Olson, released on October 10th.

Reason #4- Writing

You have to see this coming. With so much repetitiveness, Katherine Olson’s writing has to be at the core of the issues. She seems to be obsessed with the word babe. Everyone is babe. Utilizing Dylan’s inner narrative to repetitively describe how she would like to stick steak knives in Brent and kill him in one way or another is out of control. I wanted to scream; I GET IT. She has to fake liking him while wanting to kill him. At one point, Dylan ruminates that she should have a bingo card on her date with Brent to tick off his behaviors. I immediately thought I should have made a bingo card for this book’s repetition. I would not suggest a drinking game because you will blackout. Then again, if you blackout, you will hopefully blackout Close Enough To Hurt.

Lastly, but very important. I am a massive fan of Game of Thrones. Having said that, Katherine Olson has the main character refer to herself as Khaleesi. If it was only once? Cute. Twice? Eh. Third time? CRINGE.

Reason #5- Ending and Audiobook

I combined this with the bonus audiobook thoughts because I don’t want to spoil the ending. Both are pretty short, so it made sense. Again, without spoiling or speaking in generalities, I’d like to note that the conclusion has no thrill or suspense. It is stupid, obvious, and again focuses more on the romance than the mystery. That’s all I can say there.

While the audiobook is produced well by Dreamscape, the narrator is aggravating. I won’t mention her name, and maybe I’ll like something she does in the future. But right now? I couldn’t stand her narration of Close Enough To Hurt. The men’s voices were trill. The cadence and intonation necessary for Dylan’s character just wasn’t there. It was flat. Then again, with the material that the narrator was working with? Not sure I can blame her.


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