Book Review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris

If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust?

It all started that night in the woods.

Cass Anderson didn't stop to help the woman in the car, and now she's dead. Ever since, silent calls have been plaguing Cass and she's sure someone is watching her. Consumed by guilt, she's also starting to forget things. Whether she took her pills, what her house alarm code is - and if the knife in the kitchen really had blood on it.

Bestselling author B.A. Paris is back with a brand new psychological thriller full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Blimey, what a rip-roaring, nail-bitingly thrilling novel from B.A. Paris The Breakdown is. I have had my eye on the second novel from this author since its original announcement, after reading the author's gripping debut, Behind Closed Doors. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it, mostly to discover what the author had in store for her readers next. If her debut was anything to go by, then I hoped for twists and turns aplenty, with a storyline that would have me grasping for speech and breath once finished. Thankfully, my hopes were brought to life in The Breakdown because B.A. Paris delivered exactly that.

In The Breakdown, readers are introduced to Cass Anderson and husband, Matthew. Returning home one evening, Cass decides to ignore Matthew's plea for her not take the short-cut through the woods on the drive home, due to a bad storm coming. While driving, Cass passes by a car pulled up in the lay-by. Wondering if perhaps the driver needs a helping hand, but also worried about it being a trap, Cass decides to pull in up ahead. From her position, Cass can make out a woman in the driver's seat but when no contact is made on either end, Cass decides to continue on her way home. After all, if the woman had needed help, wouldn't she have got out of the car and asked for it? Safe in the knowledge that she at least stopped, Cass goes home and goes about her evening as normal.

But the next morning, it is announced on the news that a woman has been found dead. In the same lay-by Cass had stopped in the night before. Here is where this heart-stopping thriller truly takes hold, and here is where Cass is plunged into a nightmare that will torture her throughout the following weeks relentlessly. Could it be that if Cass had stopped that night, if she had done more, would the woman who was now dead still be breathing? Would her heart still be beating if Cass had gotten out of the car? Who knows. But it seems that someone has got their eye on Cass, and that someone will not stop until she is convinced that she cannot trust herself for a second longer. But she has kept something to herself that she fears will involve her in the murder of the woman somehow. She was there that night. She went through the woods despite the warnings not to. The guilt eats away at Cass until she is almost convinced that she has played a role in what happened that evening whether she likes it or not.

What I love most when reading a novel is that moment where you pause and think to yourself, "I really do not know what I would do if I were in this person's situation," and I did exactly that when it dawned on me as well as Cass that the woman she had passed the previous night was in fact the woman who was now gracing the news in the most sickening of circumstances. Not only that, but as more details are revealed, it so happens that Cass had met this woman too. This woman called Jane, who leaves behind a husband and two young children.

B.A. Paris drew me right into this novel from the get-go, and once started, I felt wholly involved in the events that unravelled from there. Already shaky from the death of her mother who was taken far too early due to dementia, when Cass begins misplacing and forgetting the simplest of things, the thought that maybe she will end up in the same way begins to plague her daily. As her memory slips further away, and the blank moments begin to grow worse and worse, it becomes almost suffocating in a way that alters Cass's life completely. But with the help of her loving husband, who knows nothing of her worries, she is sure that she can get through whatever lies ahead.

As the hunt for Jane's killer progresses, Cass begins to receive calls daily although no one seems to speak on the other end, feels that someone is watching her whether in or out of her own home, and begins to lose her grip on the life she once knew every corner and detail of. Never quite sure of what was real and what wasn't, I couldn't get enough of this book and thoroughly enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery behind what was happening to Cass, and of course, why.

Gripped from first page to last, this was another absolutely thrilling novel from B.A. Paris, asking the questions, who can you trust? Who is really on your side? And what happens when your thoughts are so muddled that you can't differentiate between fiction and reality? With new surprises around every corner, and the threads of Cass's life coming loose with every chapter, this had me right on the very of my seat, desperate to know more, and desperate for that big reveal when everything would become clear. Razor-sharp, punchy and completely compelling, this novel delivers plenty of questions, with the answers following in the most mysterious and intriguing of ways.

Hummingbird Reviews is awarding The Breakdown by B.A. Paris with five out of five stars.

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris was published on the 9th of February, 2017 in both eBook and paperback by HQ. You can purchase your copy here.

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