This appears to the year for the highly anticipated follow up novel; with Paula Hawkins second novel, Into the Water, releasing back in May and Fiona Barton’s The Child out in July, the next on my list was The Breakdown, the second novel from Behind Closed Doors author, B.A Paris.
The Breakdown follows a woman, Cass, who comes in contact with a woman who ends up murdered hours later; overcome with guilt, she cannot stop wondering what would have happened if she stopped and pulled over to help. Since that day, things seem to be falling apart, first, she is forgetting small things and next thing she knows packages are showing up at the door that she doesn’t remember ordering. As things begin to unravel and the only thing she can seem to remember is the woman she didn’t save, Cass cannot help but wondering who can she trust, if she cannot trust herself….
This novel gave me some mixed feelings.
Initially, I did find that this one was slow to get into, predictable and incredibly redundant. The first 30% of the book is the guilt about seeing the woman the night she was murdered and struggling with the fact that she didn’t do anything to save her. The next 40% of the novel is Cass struggling to remember things and dealing with, what she thinks, is early, onset dementia. Although Paris is consistent in her narrative, I wanted to tell Cass to pull it together!! I didn’t find her incredibly likeable.
I did find the last 20% of the novel was a breeze to read; fast paced and twisty, as the plot unfolded I was completely sucked in and dying to know what the outcome would be. Although I predicted a majority of the plot, I was impressed that Paris has a few tricks up her sleeve and in the end, I ended up having a few things thrown at me that threw me for a loop!
This one read a bit to me like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins meets Before I Go to Sleep by S.J Watson; a narrator who is struggling and unreliable, yet you feel for them and are unsure if they are on your side. So, if you are a fan of domestic thrillers with an unreliable narrator, you’ll be interested in this read.
I gave it 3/5 stars.
Thanks to the publisher, the author and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
This one was a #cjsreads pick for July; keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica thought about this one.
What Chandra Thought:
What Jessica Thought:
For any author it’s always difficult to follow up a monster success. BA Paris’ first novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, was a fantastic thriller. I absolutely loved it, so I was incredibly excited to see that Paris had a new book coming out, THE BREAKDOWN. This was a domestic thriller with an unreliable narrator – something I’ve definitely come to love in a novel. I also love the tag line, “if you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?” Cass is driving home during a storm one night. She passes a car pulled over and she sees a woman sitting in the car. She continues on her way home. The next day she learns that this same woman she drove by, was found murdered just hours after she saw her. Now Cass is trying to live with herself over the guilt of not helping the woman or doing anything to save her. Since that night Cass has been forgetful. She can’t seem to remember simple things like where she left her keys, their home alarm code, and whether or not she took her medication. She’s consumed by her guilt and this feeling she can seem to shake – that someone is watching her. Overall, this was a good domestic thriller! The beginning is much slower of a build than I expected. Cass got to be incredibly frustrating! You just wanted to tell her to pull herself together and get over it. That being said, Paris did a great job developing her as a character. I love Paris’ writing style because it reads fast and keeps you guessing. I really liked the ending and how there was a twist thrown in that I definitely wasn’t expecting! If you like domestic thrillers and unreliable narrators, then this is one you’ll definitely enjoy! There were parts where the plot dragged and felt repetitive, but that didn’t take away from the writing. I give this 4/5 stars! I was going back and forth between 3.5 and 4, but the ending helped bump it up!