Thursday, 13 April 2017

Book Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Book: The Breakdown

Author: B.A. Paris

Pages: 336

Read: The paperback pictured above

Read in: 3 hours

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Plot Summary: 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.

Things I Liked:

1. I really enjoyed B.A. Paris' debut novel- Behind Closed Doors- and so, when I heard that a second book by her was already out, I simply had to get it! The premise sounded really interesting.. a woman who, potentially, could have been an eyewitness in a murder is now receiving mysterious blank calls (Hello, early 90s!) and is also rapidly losing her grasp on reality.. one could smell a big fat this-can't-be-a-coincidence rat! 

2. Cass is a likeable character; she is a teacher, someone who has overcome the tragic loss of her mom to dementia, after having cared relentlessly for her day-and-night for three years. Cass' new life, over the past couple of years, has involved meeting, falling in love and being married to her husband- Matthew. She has a happy life when while driving home late one night, she sees a woman in a car in the middle of the woods and that woman is, later, found murdered. Cass' life changes after that. 

3. The last few chapters of the book are nicely done. The treatment is quite similar to the climax of Behind Closed Doors and I am not complaining because I like to see the good guys win! 

Things I Didn't Like:

1. Oh boy! Where do I start?! First of all, anyone who markets these books and blurbs them should really take a long and hard look at what the term 'psychological thriller' means. It means many things but it does not describe the plot, structure and treatment of this book. This book is not thrilling.. not by any means! It is, in fact, quite dull. We spend most of the book looking through Cass' drugged out haze as she plonks herself in front of daytime TV and orders random things from the shopping channel. There is absolutely no menace, no tension, no thrill in this book. Such a disappointment! 

2. The plot has zero mystery! Anyone with the intelligence of a potted plant can figure out what's going on in Cass' life. Her lapses in memory- not remembering inviting people over for dinner, leaving her purse at home, spotting the murder weapon in her home etc. etc. It is so blindingly obvious as to what is going on and who is behind all of it! Again, such a disappointment! 

3. There are also zero red herrings in this book. This is such a boring, dull book and I am appalled that it is being marketed as some kind of riveting psychological thriller! 

4. Cass discovering what was really happening to her was also quite by-chance. It is such lazy writing. The protagonist is just so uninspiring.. she just gets more and more paranoid each day and starts drugging herself to tune out the sound of the ringing phone! I wish the author had shown Cass being a little more proactive or smarter in figuring out what's happening to her! Early-onset Dementia may be sudden but it is not that sudden that one is fine one day and then they rapidly start making one mistake after another! Really, Ms. Paris, do your research! 

Rating: 2/5 
This book is very hyped and well-loved on Goodreads, but if you want to read a psychological thriller, there are far better ones out there than this one! Also, Behind Closed Doors is a much better book than The Breakdown. 

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