By: B. A. Paris
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 7/18/2017
My Rating: 5 Stars
British author, BA Paris (one of my favorites) returns following her sensational debut, Behind Closed Doors, on my Top Books of 2016 with another gripping second thriller THE BREAKDOWN – A fitting title for a mysterious car breakdown, to a possible mental breakdown.
The dark truths behind a façade. From friendship, love, trust, deception, madness, jealousy, gaslighting, to murder.
It is summer in July and Cass’s husband has told her to drive carefully. There is a storm coming. Secondly, he cautions her not to drive through the woods on her own at night. She promises.
Cass leaves a party early to go home when it begins to rain. She should have waited out the storm with her friends. However, she does not heed the warning. At the very last minute, she veers off to the left, taking the shortcut, Matthew told her not to take.
An eerie setting, Cass is determined she will be home soon. Suddenly there is the wind and she is in her Mini. She fears she will be stranded in the woods. More thunder and lightning. The road is deserted. She does not want to wake her husband. He would be furious. She cannot call him. She sees a car up ahead. The car is stopped. It is a woman. A woman looks back at her, her features blurred by the rain.
Thinking she has broken down, she pulls in a little way in front of her and comes to a stop. She waits to see if the woman will get out of the car. She does not get out. Why can’t she leave the car? Why is she just sitting there?
Then Cass notices there is something off about the way she is sitting with her headlights on. A shiver runs down her spine. It does not seem right to drive off and leave her. Maybe someone is on their way to help her.
She is afraid and does not want to stop and help because it could be dangerous. Everything tells her to go. So, she does. But the woman is still her on her mind and wonders if she could call the breakdown services to tell them or the police.
Then she sees a text from Rachel. The message was strange. Did she forget something? She racks her brain. Memories of her mum, uncomfortable ones flood her mind and she quickly pushes them away. By tomorrow she will have remembered.
Rachel is the sister she never had. Their mothers had been friends. Rachel had spent a large part of her childhood at their house and they always referred to her as their second daughter.
Cass is a teacher and had to give up her job to take care of her mum. She and Matthew had not been on a real honeymoon because they had been busy renovating their cottage. Turned out when her mom died she had been wealthy instead of a penniless widow after her father passed away. Her mum had lived on so little when she could have lived in luxury.
The next morning, she learns the woman is on the news. A woman was found dead. Blackwater Lane. Could it be the same woman?
A woman had been found dead in her car near Browbury in Suxxex. Did she commit suicide?
Feeling overwhelming guilt, Cass thinks if she had stopped to check on her, things might have turned out differently.
Her death was being treated as suspicious. Had the killer been in the same spot? Had he been lurking in the bushes waiting for the opportunity to kill. Murder.
Cass cannot stop thinking about taking this road. What about the woman? She had left her to her fate. . . to be murdered.
Turns out the mystery woman was Jane Waters, a young mother whom Cass recently befriended. A mother with two-year-old twins. She is shocked. She recently had lunch with her. Her cottage was only a few miles from where she was killed. She was her new friend. They had met by chance at a party.
Between this, Rachel and her husband continuing to tell her she is forgetting things, she begins questioning her own sanity. Or, is she getting like her mom with early onset dementia? She is terrified.
Rachel and Matthew do not like one another. There is mistrust there. Rachel disapproved of Matthew. Could Rachel be jealous that she has someone in her life?
Jane haunts her. The constant nagging guilt. She has to find out what happened. Should she contact the police? She was on the road at around eleven-thirty but another voice tells her not to because she kept this information to herself. Could she be putting herself in danger if the killer is still out there?
Now she is worried about her own safety living so close to the murder. Strange things begin happening.
The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.
Cass has a surprise for Rachel. A house. She will give her the keys to her house of dreams. She will keep the secret. Her mum and dad would have wanted her to have it.
Tension builds to the point of madness or is it paranoia? Either someone is gaslighting her with an evil plot to make her think she is crazy, and losing her mind or she is actually losing her mind.
From Matthew to Rachel, something is not right. Someone is manipulating circumstances and Cass soon does not trust anyone.
From the intensity and worry of trying to solve Jane’s murder — could there be a connection with her husband, Rachel, and Jane? Nothing is as it appears and Cass feels like she has nowhere to turn. Why is everyone out to get her? Does someone want her money?
Cass wants the truth no matter how it turns out. However, will she get too close to the truth and put herself in harm's way?
Once again, the author delivers a brilliantly crafted intense psychological thriller grabbing you from the first page to the last. Enjoyed reading the inspiration behind the book by the author.
Gripping, riveting, and maddening, the author takes readers on a twisty, dark and scary journey. A page-turner which will keep you on the edge of your seat turning into the night. Emotional and addictive— (great cover)! Would make a suspenseful movie. Love the author’s style.
The setting reminds me of all the rainy stormy late nights stuck out in the dark deserted woods on the Silver Comet 150 mile bike trail in Atlanta, GA — I rode every week (alone) 8 hrs (for years) and often after the time change I would be stuck out after dark before returning to the end, where I parked my car. There was no cell signal since most parts were very remote. I literally could not see anything in front of me, and no one on the trail for miles and miles. Pitch dark in the middle of thunder and lightning and pouring rain storms.
Everyone warned me to stop doing this, but I was an avid cycler. Later, of course, several women were murdered on the trail. (guess it was fortunate I moved to Florida ). Also hiking on a mountain top in the dark with thunder, lightning, and rain on so many occasions. When looking back on these times, I wonder how I survived. Young, crazy, foolish, and adventurous. Would love for someone to write a book about this trail. I definitely have some scary and chilling stories.
In addition to the reading copy also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Georgia Maguire for a chilling performance. (love the accent).
Fans of Wendy Walker, Mary Kubica, and Fiona Barton (also my favorites) will enjoy this top-notch psychological suspense thriller. Can't wait to see what's next!
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.
On a personal note:
My apologies for the delay in posting my review since I was fortunate to have read THE BREAKDOWN prior to the pub date back in March, and wanted to wait until closer to pub date to post a review.
In early May-June, my dad became critical with congestive heart failure (I was his POA) and flew home rather suddenly to care for him (my mom passed away ten months earlier). Wound up remaining in North Carolina for another two months, was in a bad car accident (his SUV), and my dad passed away the same evening, planned a funeral, deal with the insurance claim, car repairs, and had to clear out and sell his home. (closed on it this week). Also being the executor of my dad's estate, dealing with probate, among other things. So just getting back home to Florida and returning to work full time, this week.
Tons of reviews, book blogging, and lots of reading to catch up! (May-Aug)