Book Review / David Ellis / Reviews with Spoilers

David Ellis | Look Closer

The Book: 

Look Closer by David Ellis
Published July 5, 2022 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Date read: March 23, 2023

The Characters: 

Simon and Vicky
Jane the detective

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

Simon and Vicky couldn’t seem more normal: a wealthy Chicago couple, he a respected law professor, she an advocate for domestic violence victims. A stable, if unexciting marriage. But one thing’s for sure … absolutely nothing is what it seems. The pair are far from normal, and one of them just may be a killer.

When the body of a beautiful socialite is found hanging in a mansion in a nearby suburb, Simon and Vicky’s secrets begin to unravel. A secret whirlwind affair. A twenty-million-dollar trust fund about to come due. A decades-long grudge and obsession with revenge. These are just a few of the lies that make up the complex web…and they will have devastating consequences. And while both Vicky and Simon are liars, just who exactly is conning who?

How did Look Closer end?

Click here for book spoilers for Look Closer
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read Look Closer, I suggest you turn back now.

The Reveal:

Christian was planning to scam Vicky out of Simon’s inheritance–steal it under the guise of investing and then disappear. However, Vicky already knew he was a grifter and was double-crossing him to convince him to help her kill Lauren.

Simon was an evil genius. In high school, he spiked the Gatorade that Mitchell Kitchens stole from him every day so that Mitchell would be disqualified from his wrestling match (and couldn’t point the finger at Simon without admitting he had framed him). He had killed his father, but he did so in a way that made it impossible to pin on him. He did it on a weekend that Lauren was in Chicago, and he planted a champagne bottle and glasses with her fingerprints on them at the scene. He had held onto these for years waiting for his chance.

And he had entirely played Christian to blame him for Lauren’s death. Simon and Lauren never even spoke: Simon was texting from the green phone near Christian’s house while Vicky texted from the pink phone at Lauren’s.

After Christian killed Lauren, Vicky showed up and killed him, staging it to look like a suicide.

Simon and Vicky were never married. They had met in the survivors of suicide group Simon ran. Nick was responsible for her sister’s death (he scammed her and then Monica killed herself), so Vicky wanted to kill him. Simon wanted to kill Lauren for being responsible for his mother’s death, so they teamed up in an elaborate plan to give everyone peace.

The diary, the trust, and the marriage were all lies they told Christian to convince him to kill Lauren. Gavin showed up at Simon’s house to try to get half the trust money, and Simon laughed him out of the building.

The Ending:

Jane knew that Simon had done everything, but she couldn’t prove it.

Vicky moved to Wisconsin to take care of her nieces. Simon liquidated the trust and donated it all. He didn’t get the full professorship, but he was cleared of all charges for his father’s murder.

The Review: 

Thank you to Putnam Books for this gifted copy!

Highly recommended fall thriller here!

Did I reread this book six months later just to be able to review it and post spoilers on my blog? You bet I did. I knew I really enjoyed it, but couldn’t remember the intricacies enough to write a spoiler post. I’m fully refreshed now, though!

I thought Look Closer was so well-written. It’s exactly what I’m looking for in a thriller. Yes, you’ll be confused at first–just keep reading, it’s worth it! I recommend not reading too many reviews before you start, because you’re bound to get spoiled if you do (unless you prefer spoilers, in which case, you know where to go). I was definitely scratching my head in the middle, but when everything clicked into place it was immensely satisfying. If you’re a thriller fan, I’m sure you’re very familiar with that “yes!” moment when it all clicks into place.

This was a great book to re-read, too–I knew where it was headed, so it was a lot of fun to take it slower a second time and really look for clues. Every twist is explained in a way that is reasonably believable (I mean, for the genre) and not too over-the-top. I’d love to revisit these characters in the future!

The main events of Look Closer take place on Halloween night, so it’s the perfect book for spooky season. It’s been my go-to thriller recommendation lately!

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