A well-written true crime book can keep me turning the pages far into the small hours of the morning. While “We Keep the Dead Close” did not keep me reading past my bedtime, it did keep me coming back for the next chapter. No small feat for a book approaching 500 pages in length!
Many passages read like a transcript from Dateline or 20/20, which was fantastic. I was intrigued as author Becky Cooper parsed out details, clues, and suspects relating to the murder of Jane Britton, a student at Harvard. Though the murder happened in the late 1960s, no one had been implicated or arrested. The story captivated Cooper, and she certainly did her homework. Over several years, she peeled back the layers of mystery and suspicion, digging into theories, possible culprits, and false leads. In the end, however, the truth would be entirely outside of the scope of her investigation.
All in all, I think “We Keep the Dead Close” is a little too long, with too many tangents and off-shoots. I found my patience and my interest waning about three-quarters of the way through. Moreover, I was a little disappointed. The final very unexpected twist felt anti-climactic and as if the entire journey had been pointless. I don’t regret reading it–the narrative is interesting, to be sure. I simply didn’t like it as much as I anticipated I would.