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This month's theme: Mysteries
 

The Breakdown: A Review

by Fran Joyce

Author photo: Ev Sekkides


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Breakdown, published by St. Martin’s Press, is the second novel for author B.A. Paris. It will be released in the United States on July 18, 2017. Her debut thriller, Behind Closed Doors, was a New York Times Bestseller. I am one of the lucky readers selected to read and review both novels before their U.S. debuts. You can read my 2016 review of Behind Closed Doors on Goodreads.

B.A. Paris has an unusual writing style. She writes in first person present tense and uses flashbacks to fill in details. At first, this can seem a bit off-putting, but it enables the reader to quickly become involved in the story because we are experiencing events first-hand with the heroine of the story.

The Breakdown is a book you won’t want to put down. The experience is not unlike going to the movies and becoming so engrossed in the action you start trying to warn the characters. “Don’t open the door! Get out of the house! Trust no one!” Yes, it’s annoying when people yell as if the heroine can hear them, but from the safety of your own chair in your own home, it’s actually pretty fun.

Cass Anderson is a teacher who loves her job. She has good friends, her best friend Rachel, and she has recently married Matthew, the man of her dreams. One rainy night, she takes the shortcut home through the woods, despite her husband’s constant warnings about traveling alone on such a desolate road. She sees a car stopped by the side of the road with a woman inside. Cass stops her car to see if the woman needs help, but in the heavy rain, fearing for her own safety, she stays in her car waiting for the woman to wave, blink her lights, or get out and ask for help. When nothing happens, Cass eventually drives away confident the woman has pulled over to wait out the storm or she has help coming. The next morning, she learns of the woman’s murder. Overcome with guilt, Cass can’t bring herself to tell anyone she was there and didn’t help.

She begins receiving phone calls, but when she answers, no one speaks. She feels like she’s being watched. Sometimes it seems like someone has been in her house. Is it the killer? Did he see her that night? Will she be his next victim? Cass seems forgetful; packages arrive that she has no memory of ordering. Matthew and Rachel are concerned. Is Cass in danger or a danger to herself?

As Cass sinks deeper and deeper into despair, we become more determined to help her. Just when we think she is a lost cause, Cass helps herself. It’s a beautiful, triumphant, moment because we “know” she finally heard our warnings. As thanks for that moment, we are willing to overlook a few unlikely coincidences along the way.

The Breakdown is available for pre-order at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. While you are waiting, you can read Behind Closed Doors.

 

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