Monday, July 23, 2018

Book Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris, narrated by Georgia Maguire (audio)

I've said before, these women-focused, domestic thrillers aren't my usual cup of tea. But they're so prevalent these days that I do pick one up every once in a while. And thrillers are good for audio, even if I tend to avoid fiction on audio.

Cass was driving home in a terrible storm, and she took the dangerous windy road through the woods with no cell service that her husband asked her not to take. She saw a car pulled over. She stopped and waited to see if the driver would somehow signal they needed help, but they didn't. She went on. The next morning she found out that the driver of the car, a woman she knew slightly, had been murdered. And Cass can't put this behind her. It starts to obsess her, eat away with her, ruining her confidence, making her doubt her sanity, until she nearly gives everything up. Cass is meant to be a very sympathetic main character, but instead she is frustrating, often causing the reader to want to shake her or slap some sense and some gumption into her.

You know, given the genre of the book, that there will be twists and you're looking for them from the very beginning. When they come, while they have been set up and are (within the realm of the genre) believable, and I didn't entirely guess them, Cass's new level of agency, self-determination, and finally gumption, seem out of character with the Cass we've gotten to know in the first 80% of the book. There are some reasons for that, but it still felt somewhat disjointed. And the complexity of the gaslighting seemed to be hanging together by a thread.

But hang together it does. Even when Cass was driving me up a wall, I couldn't stop listening. It was compelling, even when annoying. If you like these domestic, women's thrillers, this is a good one.

I listened to the audiobook on Overdrive via my library. This book is published by St. Martin's Press, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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