Friday, May 19, 2017
Book Review: "The Breakdown" by B.A. Paris
Cass seems to have it alla loving husband, a job she enjoys, a secure financial position, and good friends. One night in the middle of a huge rainstorm, she takes a shortcut home through the woods (in her car, not with her picnic basket), even though she promised her husband she would avoid that route. When she's nearly home she comes upon a car on the side of the road, in the midst of the storm, and she sees a woman sitting in the car.
Cass should stop and see if the woman needs help, right? But the woman doesn't have her flashers on, and didn't honk her hornwouldn't she do that if she needed help? Then Cass realizes this could be a scam of some sort, one which might leave her vulnerable in the middle of the woods on a rainy night, with no mobile service to call for help. Since the woman must already be waiting for help, Cass decides to drive home and alert the authorities afterward, but when she arrives home she forgets about it.
The next morning, Cass is distraught to find out a woman was found murdered in her car in the woods the previous night, the woman she saw. But she was fine when she drove by, wasn't she? Or was the killer still in the woods, waiting to see if Cass would stop so he could kill her, too? Cass is utterly wracked by guilt, but she can't admit to her husband that she took the shortcut. As the days following the murder pass, Cass is barely able to functionshe's consumed by the thought that she could have helped the victim, and she's growing increasingly more afraid that the murderer saw her stop that night, and is planning to silence her.
Cass' days are spent feeling convinced she's being watched, worrying that someone is trying to break into her house, and someone keeps calling her house but not saying anything. She's coming utterly unglued, and to make matters worse, she's starting to forget thingsplans she's made, occasions she's plannedeven whether she took her pills or activated the burglar alarm. The only way she can seem to cope is by taking pills to calm her anxiety, but they leave her in a drugged stupor, much to the chagrin of her husband.
Why can't she get past the murder? What is happening to her that she can't remember anything? Will she wind up alone, unaware of what is going on around her?
The Breakdown took a while to build up speed and tension. Obviously you know something will happen, but you don't know what or when. For a while, Cass' character really started grating on my nerves because she was just a sniveling mess, falling to pieces at the slightest thing, yet taking all sorts of risks. And then...BOOM. B.A. Paris throws in a twist which, while not utterly surprising, really turns the plot on its ear and sends the book careening to its conclusion.
I haven't yet read Behind Closed Doors so this was my introduction to Paris' storytelling. Once the book hit its stride, I really enjoyed it, and found myself reading it quicker and quicker, so I could see how everything panned out. While it took a little while for the tension to build, once it started she didn't let up, which is the mark of a good thriller.
I tend to be really hard on thrillers, so I can totally see why others fell so hard for this one. I still have Behind Closed Doors on my to-read list, and I have little doubt that The Breakdown will be seen on beaches, airplanes, and e-readers once it is released this summer, and deservedly so.
NetGalley and St. Martin's Press provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!