See the Cover for Karen Cleveland’s ‘Keep You Close’

Early last year, former CIA analyst Karen Cleveland took the publishing world by storm when her riveting debut thriller, Need to Know, landed on the New York Times list in January. Now, she’s gearing up to release her anticipated follow-up, which should hit U.S. bookstores on May 28, 2019. 

Last year, I did a Q&A with Cleveland, who told me at the time, “I’m hard at work on book two. It’s going to be another thriller set in Washington, D.C. It’s coming along well and I’m excited about it. I hope readers will be, too!” We now know that book, which is not a sequel to Need to Know, is titled Keep You Close and follows an FBI agent who finds out that her teenage son might be hiding some dangerous secrets.

See the cover art and plot details below.


Keep You CloseShe knows her teenage son isn’t perfect. But when the FBI starts investigating the kid she thought she knew, will she jeopardize her own career at the Bureau to keep her child safe?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Need to Know. . . .

Stephanie Maddox makes tough decisions every day. She has her hands full heading the FBI’s Internal Investigations division, policing wrongdoers within the Bureau. But, as a single mother, the most important thing in her life is her teenage son Zachary, who’s anxiously awaiting college acceptance letters. So when she discovers a gun concealed in Zach’s room, her world reels. And then an FBI agent on the domestic terrorism squad shows up at her door and utters three devastating words: “It’s about Zachary…”

Has she been wrong about her near-perfect son? Is Zach embroiled in something criminal–something deadly? And, if so, what is her greater duty: To protect him? Or to betray him?


Aside from her history with CIA, where she spent the last six years of her career working in counterterrorism, Cleveland (who is repped by David Gernert of The Gernert Company) has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and from Harvard University. 

It’s my understanding that Keep You Close is the final book on Cleveland’s current deal with Ballantine, which she signed back in 2017 (along with a preempt deal to Universal for Charlize Theron to star in a movie adaption of her hit debut), though readers shouldn’t worry that she’ll ride off into the sunset anytime soon. Few authors make the kind of impact Cleveland did with her first novel, and it feels like this is just the beginning for her in what’ll undoubtedly be a long and successful writing career. 

Fans excited to get their hands on Keep You Close can pre-order their copy here or wherever else books are sold. In the meantime, make sure you’re following Karen Cleveland on TwitterFacebook, and her official website for more updates.



Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.


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