Publication Date: 9 February 2017
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
The Breakdown is about a woman named Cass who struggles to live with herself after seeing something important. One night she saw a stationery car in the woods with the woman inside who would later be murdered. The crime causes her to feel guilt about what she could have prevented. Since the incident, she has been forgetting things, such as why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby. She has also been receiving silents calls and feels like something is watching her.
I loved B. A. Paris’s other novel, Behind Closed Doors, and was very excited to read this one. After reading The Breakdown, I learned what Paris is really good at, which is coming up with a good way for the plot to come together. At the end of both novels I was very pleased by how everything worked out, and was overall really shocked.
The story focuses tightly on Cass. Her character changes throughout the novel to portray how the crime has affected her. She comes to have little interactions with those around her, which is partly due to the fact that she is on holidays from work. This made a lot of the story purely conversations that she had with other people from her house, and there was not a great amount of action. Rather, there was a great amount of dialogue and internal monologue. Things did happen to make me intrigued, but Cass acted very strange and paranoid. Even though it was important, her behaviour was at times confusing and weird.
The beginning of the book, or around the first half, is very repetitive and kind of boring. Little happens and it is a bit tedious. The conversations Cass has with people sometimes gets repeated. For example, something strange will happen to her, and then she will recount exactly what happened to someone else, but the readers already know. This didn’t seem relevant to the plot. Some of the things she does in the plot is bound to annoy anyone, so for that I think she is somewhat unlikeable as a character.
Cass also basically just went about her day-to-day activities and I had no idea what the mystery even was for a while. I even started not to care about Jane, whose death I thought was the big mystery of the plot.
The plot twist at the end was very enjoyable. I really liked it, even though I could see it coming. I sort of did suspect what the plot twist would be but was still surprised and couldn’t put the book down after I found out. It is one of those books where you just really want to know what happens.
Reading this book was fun but definitely did not make me as horrified as Behind Closed Doors did. The ending was worth it even though the majority of the book was somewhat uneventful.
I would recommend this book to those who like thrillers and mysteries.