If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?
Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside - the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.
But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.
The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt. Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…
Author: B.A. Paris is from a Franco/Irish background and was born in 1958. She was brought up in England and moved to France when she was 21. She spent some years working as a trader in an international bank 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 first novel “Behind Closed Doors” was published in 2016 and became a tremendous bestseller.
My thoughts: After I finished “The Breakdown” I immediately purchased her first novel “Behind Closed Doors” - I had enjoyed reading this psychological thriller so much. I am pleased to say that I have also enjoyed reading “Behind Closed Doors”, which I will review in due course.
I ordered The Breakdown in mid-March in the original English version. As soon as I received it from Payot bookstore in Geneva, I started reading it and I finished all 415 pages that same weekend. This book was a real great surprise: I knew it to be good, but I wasn’t expecting it to be extraordinary, which it certainly turned out to be.
To summarise it, without giving away too much of the plot, it’s the story of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s the story of a split-second decision taken by Cass, the main character, which has such a devastating impact on her life.
It relates the consequences of her decision not to stop to help that motorist she came across in an isolated place in the woods, not far from her cottage, that Friday night at eleven thirty.
Gradually, Cass learns that she knew Jane Walters, the victim who was brutally murdered. Cass had made her acquaintance just a few weeks before and they had begun a good friendship. That shakes Cass. Her previously peaceful and happy life, a life without drama at the side of her loving husband (they have been married for a year) and in the company her childhood friend, Rachel, who is like a sister to her, is turned upside down. Cass starts undergo many things that have suddenly caught up with her and throw her off-balance.
Cass starts to have memory lapses and she feels the threat of dementia hanging over her: ten years before her mother died, she was diagnosed with dementia and Cass fears it is hereditary.
I will stop here and tell you that if you like very well written psychological thrillers and a well developed and consistent story, without descending into clichés and improbable plot twists, you will love this book.