Title: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: C
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Named One of the Most Anticipated Thriller Novels Of 2017 by Bustle!
THE NEW CHILLING, PROPULSIVE AUDIOBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.
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…
In B.A. Paris’ latest domestic mystery, The Breakdown, focuses on the effects that a chilling murder on a deserted country road has on the victim’s friend.
During a heavy rainstorm, thirty-four year old schoolteacher Cass Anderson notices a car sitting on a lay by and stops to see if the driver needs assistance. However, when it appears the woman is not in trouble, Cass’s concerns about her own personal safety outweigh her concern for the other driver and she leaves without approaching her. The next day, she is absolutely horrified to learn the woman was brutally murdered and after she discovers the victim is her new friend, Jane Walters, she becomes terrified the killer might know where to find her. Over the next couple of months, Cass is plagued by a series of eerie phone calls, the sense she is being watched and overwhelming guilt she could have prevented Jane’s death. Growing increasingly concerned for her safety, Cass cannot convince her husband Matthew or her best friend Rachel Baretto to take her seriously due to her failing memory. Is someone watching Cass? Is she suffering from early onset dementia? And most importantly, who killed Jane and why?
Cass is an extremely frustrating and irritating lead character and since the novel is written from her perspective, readers have a front seat to her excessive guilt, fear and paranoia. Almost right from the beginning, she is guilt-ridden and convinced it is her fault Jane is dead. Then her irrational fears begin and the novel becomes incredibly repetitive and mired down by her self-doubts and a melodramatic plot. Savvy readers will clue in fairly early to the truth about what is happening to Cass and it is not too much of a leap to guess who is responsible for them. The why is a little more difficult to figure out and it is difficult to remain invested in learning the truth since much of the storyline becomes a
regurgitation of daily phone calls, Cass’s failing memory and her conviction that it is only a matter of time before she is savagely murdered by Jane’s killer. This certainty that her life is in danger makes Cass’s decision to take a prescription for “stress” that essentially keeps her knocked out all day and night utterly ridiculous.
The Breakdown is an extremely slow-paced mystery that requires a fairly healthy suspension of disbelief by readers. The novel is initially quite interesting but very quickly becomes tedious as it fails to make any progress whatsoever until the last fifty or so pages. Cass’s reactions are way over the top and she comes across as very weak and irrational. The title is quite clever as is the novel’s conclusion but overall, this latest release from B.A. Paris fails to live up to the hype.