Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: The Breakdown

Summary: If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods. It was on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, and a woman was sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm, and she probably would have been hurt herself if she’d stopped. Not only that, her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing. Where she left the car; if she took her pills; even the alarm code.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

And the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

You won't be able to put down B. A. Paris's The Breakdown, the next chilling, propulsive novel from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors. -- St. Martin's Press

I was thrilled to receive a copy of THE BREAKDOWN by B.A. Paris. I adored her first novel BEHIND CLOSED DOORS -- you can read my review here; and apparently, I wasn't alone because this book was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. So you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to a luncheon during BEA to meet Ms. Paris and discuss her books. It truly was a highlight of this year's BEA!

THE BREAKDOWN tells the story of Cass, a woman who takes a shortcut home one rainy night despite warnings from her husband not to go that way. The next morning, she discovers that the woman she saw in a broken down car was brutally murdered. As much as Cass tries to forget about the murder and what she might have done differently, she can't stop thinking that she might have been able to help the woman, although it's possible that she might have been killed too!

The accident obviously unnerved Cass, and ever since it, she's been forgetting things... lots of things. She can't find her car in a parking lot, can't remember how many pills she takes, and even forgets the new alarm code for their house. In addition, Cass has been receiving calls with no one there; and she constantly thinks that someone is watching her. She begins to fear for her sanity... and her life!

I thought THE BREAKDOWN was fantastic. It's hard to follow up a huge success like BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, but I think Ms. Paris did a darn good job. I don't know that I loved it quite as much as her debut novel, but I did enjoy it quite a bit and definitely think it's a must-read for fans of suspense.

One thing that the author excels at is making the reader feel very uncomfortable. I honestly wasn't sure what to think of Cass and her mental state, but I do know I was deeply affected by the panic she felt. Like BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, I felt sheer discomfort and even panic at times; and I loved that about both books!

In recent years, I've complained right here on this blog about unreliable narrators. Frankly, I feel many authors try to manipulate the reader and I'm kind of sick of them. However in THE BREAKDOWN, Cass didn't rub me the wrong way despite being a rather unreliable narrator. I didn't feel manipulated by her and I think Ms. Paris did a great job in bringing her to life... and making her sympathetic to the reader.

There were quite a few twists in this story; and at times, I wasn't sure which way the story was going. Having said that, I did figure out part of the ending. I can't go into any detail or I'll spoil the surprise for the reader, but I wasn't totally shocked by the reveal. There were elements of the story that did surprise me, so I guess I'd say overall it was a satisfying resolution.

All in all, I think THE BREAKDOWN is a solid followup to BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. Fans of Ms. Paris' first novel won't want to miss this fast-paced and suspenseful story. Highly recommended.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I agree completely. This may not have been quite as good as Behind Closed Doors but it was still great!

techeditor said...

I read this book, too. I'm more critical of it then you are.

I had heard that THE BREAKDOWN is an improvement on Paris's last book, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. After reading both, I would say, yes and no. The two books have in common a husband who appears to be deeply in love with and devoted to his poor, unsuspecting wife. After that, THE BREAKDOWN is better or worse than BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, depending on how you feel about the latter. I thought THE BREAKDOWN was better AND worse.

In THE BREAKDOWN, the wife, Cass, is concerned about both a murderer on the loose near her home and her forgetfulness. She and her husband, Matthew, fear she is suffering from early onset dementia. But this book isn't sickening as is BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which is so sickening in the cruelty of the husband that I had to put it down frequently.

However, most of THE BREAKDOWN is an enumeration of the seeming symptoms (forgetfulness and paranoia) of Cass’s breakdown. It gets tedious.

Worse, THE BREAKDOWN is predictable. It is so predictable, I knew right from the beginning who was pulling tricks on whom. So most of what happened made me angry that the character could not see what was so clear to me.

If you like stories about rotten marriages, maybe you’ll like this. I sure didn’t.

Kelly-Belly said...

I read this one recently and loved it. She is my new favorite author!

cindysloveofbooks said...

I have both of her books on my wishlist and I am planning on getting them before we head to Chicago on vacation since we will be driving for two days. I think this will make the drive fly by. Great review Julie

The Book Sage said...

I haven't read Paris. But it certainly sounds like I would enjoy her books.