B. A. Paris has followed up Behind Closed Doors with another Domestic Noir psychological thriller, The Breakdown.
On a dark and stormy night, Cass Anderson dismisses her husband's warning to stick to the main roads and takes a short cut through a woods. She notices a stopped car and pulls over wondering if the driver needs help. Seeing no flashing lights or the driver getting out of the car, Cass drives on. The next morning she learns that the parked driver was found murdered in the car--and that Cass knew her.
Consumed by guilt thinking she could have saved a life, and unable to admit to her husband Matthew or best friend Rachel that she had driven by, Cass becomes obsessed and nervous. Then strange things happen and she wonders if stress is affecting her, or if she has inherited her mother's early onset dementia. Plus, an unknown silent caller rings all day when she is alone. Cass is certain the caller is the murderer.
Told in the first person, the bulk of the novel follows Cass's mental health breakdown into paranoia, curtailed only by powerful drugs that leave her stupefied, until by chance she discovers that it is not her own sanity that she should mistrust.
Personally, I liked this novel better than Behind Closed Doors. Although I early on guessed the villain, it was not from any intentional clues left by the author. Some readers may want the plot to move more quickly, but Cass's breakdown is presented in a very probable way. It is the psychological intensity and the expectation that drives the narrative. If I found anything to be slow, it was the method of how the chain of events is revealed, which although thorough, went on too long for this reader eager for the wrap-up.
I expect this to be a successful 'beach read' but I will warn you: you won't want to stop reading and may end up with a bad sunburn!
Read an excerpt at https://us.macmillan.com/excerpt?isbn=9781250122469
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
B. A. Paris
St. Martin's Press