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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

#CJSReads REVIEW: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris @baparisauthor @stmartinspress

The Breakdown
by B.A. Paris
St. Martin's Press

Happy Publishing Day!

One of the most highly anticipated thrillers this summer.  Coming off Behind Closed Doors, there were high expectations....  See our thoughts below!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman 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. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

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

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

My Review:

Cass takes a dangerous back road home during a storm. As she drives, she sees a car on the side with a woman in it but she's not acting like she needs help. Deciding that she surely has someone on the way, she makes her way through the treacherous storm home safely. The next day she hears that the woman was found brutally murdered and the killer is still on the loose. While she spirals into guilt, she also finds herself forgetting things and her family's history of dementia is starting to make her question herself at every turn.

As one of the most highly anticipated thrillers this summer, a lot was expected after the author's success with Behind Closed Doors. While it's hard not to compare the two, I was a bit underwhelmed with this one. Maybe it's because of just how MUCH I LOVED BCD. I found myself flying through the short chapters - I have to say, I just love the way B.A. Paris writes. Short, concise chapters that flow from one to another. I had a few issues with this book that just didn't sit right with me. I felt there was a lot of repetition, and for goodness sake, IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING ALREADY! Uff, Cass annoyed the ever living crap out of me most of the time. The ending was tied up a little too neatly into a bow for my liking and felt a bit rushed. I also felt like the murder took a back seat and popped up when needed but could've been completely left out without taking away from the storyline. What I did love about the book is that despite my irritation with Cass, I still couldn't stop reading. I needed to know what was happening. Is she crazy? Will we ever find the killer? I will say this, I will definitely pick up more of B.A. Paris. She's extremely talented and I feel there's a lot more coming out way and I am looking forward to all of it.


Jessica's Thoughts:

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!
Sam's Thoughts:

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.

Big thank you to St. Martin's Press for these copies in return for our honest opinions.

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