Review: Don’t Stand So Close – Luana Lewis – Plus a Giveaway!

Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Title: Don’t Stand So Close
Author: Luana Lewis
Publication date: 13 February 2014
Publisher: Bantam Press (Transworld)
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780593072301
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Psychological thriller / Suspense
Age group: Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

What would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help? If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone? What would you do if you let her in, but couldn’t make her leave?

What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse?

Stella has been cocooned in her home for three years. Severely agoraphobic, she knows she is safe in the stark, isolated house she shares with her husband, Max. The traumatic memories of her final case as a psychologist are that much easier to keep at a distance, too.

But the night that Blue arrives on her doorstep with her frightened eyes and sad stories, Stella’s carefully controlled world begins to unravel around her…

My thoughts

I have a soft spot for psychological thrillers so I fell in love with Luana Lewis’s story the minute I read the synopsis. I had very high hopes for Don’t Stand So Close and luckily, it didn’t let me down. I loved it from start to finish and I’m not exaggerating when I say I read the first hundred pages in one sitting.

One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to put it down is that you have no idea who’s lying, who’s manipulating who and who the (real) victims are. Blue turns up at Stella’s house with an innocent enough story but once she’s inside, it turns out things are more complicated than they seem. Both of them are acting strange. Stella has been cocooned inside her home with symptoms of agoraphobia and anxiety, and been on heavy medication for years so she’s clearly not the most reliable character you’ll ever find. Blue says she knows Stella’s husband but she keeps changing her story all the time. You have no idea what’s going on and you want to find out who’s telling the truth so desperately that by the time you manage to put the book down for a few minutes, it’s midnight and you realize you forgot to have dinner. And lunch. It’s very addictive!

Another thing I particularly enjoyed about how the story is built up is the fact that it runs on three different levels. It all starts at Hilltop, Stella and Max’s Buckinghamshire home, in the present. The following chapter describes a scene between patient and therapist, and the next one takes place two years earlier when Stella was an ambitious and ever so effective employee at Max’s psychiatric clinic. I loved how Stella’s past (the scenes at the clinic), Blue’s past (the ones between patient and therapist) and their present (the scenes at Hilltop) intertwined – it’s such a clever way of telling the story and it makes it even more captivating, if that’s possible. We get a glimpse into both women’s past and their present together. It gives us an insight into what Stella was like before her life fell apart and, chapter by chapter, Lewis unveils the truth about Stella’s phobias and why her life took such a dramatic turn all these years ago.

Suspenseful, dark, chilling – Don’t Stand So Close is a twisted, brilliantly written story which is guaranteed to render you speechless. I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next!

5 star rating
*Many thanks to Transworld for sending me a copy for review*


I have 5 copies of Luana’s debut to give away to 5 lucky winners, courtesy of the lovely Transworld team. If you’d like to be in the chance of winning, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is open to UK residents only and runs until 22 February, 2014. The five winners will be selected at random and contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


    • says

      I know what you mean – it doesn’t always work. In this case, I think it did – or at least it worked for me. :) It definitely made the story more intriguing.

  1. says

    I love stories where you can’t be sure if you trust any of the characters to be telling the truth – it keeps me interested and guessing! Sounds like I need to add this one to my TBR pile! :-)
    Mel S recently posted..On a break!My Profile

  2. Tammy says

    I have been wanting to read this book for a while. I love books that keep you guessing until the end. Thank you for your review and giveaway!

  3. katie skeoch says

    had read an excerpt about this recently, I’m intrigued already! Thanks for bringing us these great books that I would never have found otherwise

  4. erinf1 says

    wow… this sounds awesomely suspenseful :) This is the first I’ve come across this book and it’s going on the top of my wishlist! Thanks for the great giveaway and review!

  5. says

    I love psychological thrillers and this one sounds fab, especially with the jumps in time! I’ve had this reserved at the library since I first heard about it and can’t wait to read it, especially as your review makes it sound just as good as I’d hoped it would be!
    Fi recently posted..Book Haul #64My Profile

  6. Anita Yancey says

    It sounds like a wonderful book. I just love thrillers. I really like the cover. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  7. Amanda D says

    I enjoy psychological thrillers and this one has me intriqued after reading your review. The first 100 pages in one sitting? This is definitely a book I want to try. It’s going on my TBR list now! Thanks for the chance to win it.

  8. says

    I do love the idea psychological thrillers a whole lot, the problem is that I can never find ones which work for me. That said, the synopsis of this one is definitely intriguing (not to mention the cover is pretty freakin terrifying). If it’s as dark and chilling as you say, then perhaps this might be a psychological thriller for me. :)

    Brilliant review Vicky and thank you for the giveaway. 😀
    Ruby @ Feed Me Books Now recently posted..Fantasy, Crime and Historical FictionMy Profile

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