Monday, January 15, 2018

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Reviewed by Jeanne

It’s the clichéd dark and stormy night when Cass decides to take the shortcut home, even though her husband, Matthew, had warned against it.  It’s a desolate stretch of road, heavily wooded, and a terrible place to have your car stop, but it is a much quicker way.  Part of the way down the road, Cass is startled to see a car pulled off to the side.  A woman sits inside. Cass hesitates, unsure if the woman is in trouble or just waiting for someone.  The woman gives no sign—doesn’t flash her lights, blow the horn, do anything to indicate distress—so Cass drives home.

The next day she learns the woman was murdered there.

And Cass knew her.

B.A. Paris won rave reviews for her debut novel, Behind Closed Doors, and she’ll pick up even more fans with this taunt, suspenseful novel.  Cass is a character almost anyone could relate to: she’s just returned to teaching after her marriage, having spent years caring for her mother who suffered from early onset dementia. She feels terribly guilty that she didn’t go check on the woman and is frightened that a murder took place so close to where she and Matthew live. Even worse, she seems to be having some memory loss.  She’s terrified that she might end up like her mother, but she can’t share that concern with Matthew.  They met and married after her mother died, and she’s never told him the details of her mother’s illness.

The characters are all well developed and the tension steadily increases as the pages turn.  The ending is both shocking and satisfying.

I confess I did not make it all the way through Behind Closed Doors.  I took an intense dislike to one of the characters early on and after four chapters decided I did not want to spend any more time with that personality.  However, I read the ending (don’t judge!) and liked it well enough that I decided to try her second book.  I’m glad I did.

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