Someone Close To Home

Fiction - Suspense
252 Pages
Reviewed on 08/12/2016
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

Someone Close to Home by Alex Craigie grabs you on page one and doesn't let you go. What a marvellous read this is. The plot line covers many years in the topsy-turvy life of Megan Youngblood, who as a young child has only two ways to escape the hardship and unhappiness of having a domineering, manipulative mother who drives her dear husband to suicide. Megan suffers terribly after her father's death, but escapes her pain through her piano. She becomes a famous concert pianist. Her other escape is a beloved childhood companion, Gideon, but thanks to the machinations of her mother, as an adult, Megan loses Gideon too. When she bows to her mother's wishes and marries a famous, but narcissistic movie star, Jordan, whom she doesn't love, her life begins an even steeper downward spiral that costs Megan her children and her health.

If Someone Close to Home was not classified as fiction, you would believe you were reading a memoir. The entire story is expertly told in first person, but what makes the delivery doubly intriguing is how the story unfolds. The story opens with Megan, totally incapacitated, lying on a bed in what appears to be an old people's home. The only part of her that is "working" is her hearing, eyes, and mind. What she hears from those in charge of her care is a sometimes horrifying look into how overworked and harried such nurses are, and now mean and cruel some can be. It's enough to make one wish they never find themselves in such a situation. As Megan drifts in and out of sleep, she tells her sad tale of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her sadistic husband, who changes from a loving, attentive suitor to a cruel control freak right on their wedding night. His actions leave Megan and the reader shuddering.

Is Someone Close to Home devoid of love and happiness? Happily, not at all. The ending of the story is romantic and utterly touching. Despite the twists and turns in the plot, Alex Craigie leaves us completely satisfied with no loose ends. The author restores our faith that good will win over evil, as love conquers all. The book is brilliant. It reads like a memoir and grips like great fiction should. Beautiful characterization. A fantastic read by a fantastic writer. Loved it. Five stars in every way.

Patricia Reding

Alex Craigie’s debut work, Someone Close to Home, opens eerily as his subject’s eyes flick, flick, flick... Shortly after, readers learn that Megan Youngblood, a world-renowned pianist, is hospitalized, unable to communicate. Without a champion to speak on her behalf, she suffers the unkindness — and in some situations, outright intentional infliction of harm— brought on by those in whose care her son and daughter left her. As Megan recalls scenes from her past, which are centered around her overbearing and manipulative mother, and later of a cruel and abusive husband, Craigie fills in the blanks. Megan suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. Megan finds, as the author suggests, that, “True and desperate loneliness is to be found in the unwanted company of others.” In the absence of her best friend, Claire, and Gideon, an old friend and love interest who re-enters her life, Megan experiences the kind of nightmare that would keep anyone awake and fearful. For her, the situation grows darker as the story progresses, when Anna, a member of the staff with a personal grudge against her as a consequence of her mother’s actions, returns after a short time away.

While showcasing the kinds of outrages that can occur in care facilities that run on inadequate funds and without appropriate supervision and management, Someone Close to Home is actually a story of the human spirit —of rising above adversity, of coming to grips with one’s prejudices, of learning to forgive and to love. Alex Craigie presents a tale that will keep readers turning pages quickly. Even while fearing from time to time, what is to come, hope remains that Megan will be freed from the prison of her mind and body. I predict that readers will be watching for more from this gifted writer, as I know that I will! Congratulations to the author on a work very well done.

Christine Nguyen

Someone Close to Home by author Alex Craigie is a chillingly suspenseful story about a young, shy girl named Megan Youngblood, raised by a very manipulative, cold mother, whose only concern is superficial matters like her friends and appearances, and a distant, reserved father. She lives in a lonely world of isolation until she meets her neighbor, Gideon. From there, her world is opened up by a deep friendship that spans the years. Megan becomes an accomplished pianist as she dedicates her long, lonely hours at home to playing the piano. Her gift draws the attention of her mother who loves to brag about her. But the story jumps to Megan in a nightmare that slowly unfolds, chapter by chapter, as her world is devoid of warmth, communication, love - just a lonely, helpless existence in a home where she wants to escape into oblivion.

Alex Craigie draws the reader in from the very beginning, telling the story slowly to build the suspense and chilling overtones of the book. Eileen, Megan's mother, is the new "mommy dearest" of the decade. She is the perfect example of a twisted, horrific monster in the traditional guise of a concerned and loving mother. This is a very well developed and entertaining book in the suspense genre. I really enjoyed it as it is really very well written and gripping. I highly recommend this book for readers who love to read about the horrors that people can become and what they are capable of. It is not a pretty story with a happy ending, but a stark, dark story.