Book Review: The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

**3.5 stars**

See my Goodreads review of this here.

For some reason, the spoiler tag doesn’t work with my WordPress template, so I’m just going to give you a blanket spoiler alert here. Read at your own risk!

This was both predictable and entertaining. I loved Behind Closed Doors and when I heard B. A. Paris had another novel coming out, I got excited. I was hoping that The Breakdown would be the same type of psychological thriller without being formulaic. Well, I read early reviews and discovered the answer to my question, but I decided that I didn’t care and read it anyway. I’m so glad that I read this!

I love having the element of surprise (who doesn’t), but it’s an engaging novel and I loved watching the story unfold.

I love the double meaning in the title!

There weren’t many characters so even if you hadn’t read Behind Closed Doors, it was still easy to figure out where the story was going. I was expecting the story to introduce more characters, adding to the mystery. Honestly, I was puzzled and disappointed when that didn’t happen. If you’re a fan of psychological thrillers, then you already know the story structure. There are always duplicitous characters, ones that seem too supportive and give you the feeling that they’re too good to be true.

Speaking of duplicity, that’s what I love about The Breakdown and similar novels. I love characters that have a dark side that’s kept well-hidden for a while, and characters who are either unstable or ones that you think are unstable. I love that anxiety and anticipation, the constant worry, and those oh no moments that keep you reading.

The author leads you to believe that the main character is either unstable or unintelligent, sometimes both. You already know something is up, because it’s a thriller, so you’re already questioning the characters’ motives. I love those moments when the main character shows you that they have a clearer and cleverer mind than you thought, and you get excited, because you see their victory coming. You cheer the character on when he/she starts making discoveries and comes up with a vengeful plan. It’s especially exciting when those moments happen in small increments to build on the suspense. As soon as the main character has a successful moment, you have that setback to offset it. It’s like a one step forward, two steps back sort of thing.

I really want to give my own character analysis, but it seems impossible to do without revealing too much about them. I wish I could tell you who I love and who is a total bastard, but I can’t! Ugh.

I loved the text message conversations, although when you’re listening to it on audiobook, the reading of the timestamps became alloying. It was several text conversations occurring over a couple of months. The conversations were part of the big reveal and I wanted to know how all of this truly got started. The motive isn’t hard to guess, especially when one character keeps mentioning something about themselves and you’re not entirely sure how it’s possible, especially when their career doesn’t explain it. But, then you find out that her parents are dead and then you realize oh, so that’s how it’s possible.

The silent phone calls and Cass’s paranoia became repetitive. After a while, the mind games felt like overkill. Sometimes, Cass’s forgetfulness didn’t feel believable or convincing. Her gullibility felt too convenient and an easy way out to make the deception work in the story. Granted, the medical history helped make her forgetfulness believable, at least for a while. She didn’t question enough though or trust her instincts. She took everything at face value.

I wasn’t fond of the big reveal occurring in an info-dump session in the dialogue. It felt rushed, as if the author realized she had five pages left to tell you everything you needed to know to get the resolve that you both wanted and expected.

Overall, this is a fun read, but I think Behind Closed Doors is better. I’m still a fan of B. A. Paris and with her success of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown, I’m looking forward to her future releases.

See all of my Goodreads reviews here.

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