As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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HarperCollins, 9 February 2017. ISBN: 978-1-84845-499-6
When a novel begins with an edge-of-the-seat drive through a dark wood
in a huge storm, it’s tempting to wonder how much further the tension can be
ramped up. But that journey is only the beginning of the nightmare in this edgy
and often terrifying psychological thriller.
Cass is a teacher, about to
start the long summer holiday, and her life is apparently perfect. She loves
her job, has some good friends including businesswoman Rachel who she has known
since childhood, and is married to Matthew, a Robert Redford lookalike who
seems to adore her. There’s money in the bank thanks to Cass’s late mother, and
they even have vague plans to start a family.
Then, that stormy night, she
passes a car in a lay-by – and the following day learns that its occupant has
been found murdered, and that’s it’s someone she knew. After such a shocking
discovery, her life starts to spiral out of control. At first it’s small
things: a forgotten gift, a barbecue invitation that slips her mind. But Cass’s
mother died young, after several years of early-onset dementia; though she’s
only in her thirties, she begins to fear she is heading the same way.
The memory lapses escalate;
even lovely Matthew starts to lose patience, and insists she sees the doctor.
That’s when things really go pear-shaped...
B A Paris proves adept at the
subtle art of misleading the reader, largely through Cass’s own first-person
narration. We see mainly what she sees, as her guilt about not stopping to help
the woman in the lay-by eats into her and undermines her confidence. But
always, on the edge of consciousness, is the sense that something outside her
control is going on. When the truth finally emerges, the answers are so
obvious, and yet so shocking and surprising, that you’ll want to kick yourself,
as I did, for not seeing it earlier.
Paris draws her characters
well. Sharp-edged Rachel and loving but exasperated Matthew hover around Cass
as she disintegrates; slightly too friendly John and other friends are only
sketches, but seen through Cass’s clouded eyes that’s as they should be. The
village and small town locations are only sketched as well, but to the
protagonists they are so familiar that detailed descriptions would be
Mainly, The Breakdown
is about the plot: Cass’s descent into a nightmare world in which she becomes
less and less aware of what is real. I descended into that nightmare with her –
and that’s the sign of a well-crafted psychological thriller.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
B A Parisis the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, her debut novel.
She was brought up in England and moved to France where she spent some years
working in Finance before re-training as a teacher and setting up a language
school with her husband. They still live in France and have five daughters. Her
second novel, The Breakdown is out
Follow B A on Twitter @BAParisAuthor
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.