The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

Cass, a teacher who lost her mother after a long struggle with dementia, is driving home from a party on a stormy night.  Her husband, Matthew, warns her against taking a shortcut home because he worries for her safety in such weather.  Cass decides to take the shortcut anyway and sees a woman who appears to be broken down on the side of the road.  Cass stops for a moment to help the woman but is frightened when she thinks it might be a scam and drives away.  After she arrives home, Cass learns that the woman in the car was murdered and someone she had met before.  Cass is deeply disturbed by the tragedy and feels guilty that she didn't try to help the woman.  Soon, Cass begins to suffer from bouts of memory loss, making plans and purchases that she can't remember later.  Then there's the phone calls.  Almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day, Cass answers a call from an unblocked number and a caller who is ominously silent.  Is Cass experiencing a nervous breakdown, experiencing early symptoms of dementia or is someone after her?

I read B.A. Paris's novel Behind Closed Doors a few months ago and I was blown away.  Paris knows how to craft a truly terrifying psychological thriller and how to build suspense slowly.  I have to admit that I didn't enjoy The Breakdown nearly as much.  The psychological terror, the main character's questioning their mental health and the supporting characters who appear perfect to the rest of the world but are completely different when alone were all there.  The suspense may have built just a little too slowly this time, though.  The story still moved along enough that it was able to hold my interest but I would have liked more twists and turns.  That being said, I still enjoyed the story.  Paris is great at creating wonderful, complex characters.  Cass, Matthew and Rachel were very interesting characters.  I couldn't tell until the very end whether or not Cass was experiencing a breakdown.  I really enjoyed this book and I think it is a must for any reader who enjoys psychological thrillers.  

My rating:
★★★★★

Watch an interview with B.A. Paris here:


This book is currently available and can be purchased from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Read more reviews on this book on Goodreads.

Reviews for books like this one:
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

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