Today, I have a review of the debut novel by B.A. Paris Behind Closed Doors!
Genre: Psychological Thriller
By all appearances, Jack and Grace have the perfect marriage. They are beautiful, wealthy, and elegant. He is a dedicated attorney helping battered women. She is a flawless homemaker, masterful cook, and dotes on her disabled sister. You are charmed by the coziness and comfort of their home and the ease and graciousness at which they entertain guests. You’d like to get to know Grace a little better, but then you realize that she and Jack are never apart. She never answers the phone, yet she’s home all day, and if she does go anywhere, it’s only because Jack brought her. Are they simply just being newlyweds, or is there something more sinister going on after the dinner party is over and the front door closes?
This is a difficult one to write about because in some respects it’s better to go in blind. But if you’re still reading, what I can say is that the book’s tension is largely driven by its action and not its suspense. There are no secrets. Much of why things are happening is revealed early on to include motivations, which are somewhat lacking in depth, so then the story simply becomes a fast-paced thrill ride to find out how this train wreck is going to end. The story flips back and forth from the past to explain how the couple met and the evolution of their relationship to the present in order to understand the structure of their marriage and the preparations leading to Grace’s sister Millie, who has Down Syndrome, moving in with them. The love between these sisters is heart-wrenching, demonstrating the lengths that these two women would go for one another. Millie is a remarkable character that was truly refreshing to see. Her disability does not simply become a caricature, as she sizes up situations better than those around her and is able to use the preconceptions of those that underestimate her to devise simple and effective solutions. Her innocence does not belie her ability to sense true evil.
The writing is pulpy and your emotions are played with, but you never have to think too hard even if your imagination may start going down some deep dark tunnels. In a sense, you as the reader begin to experience the unremitting mental abuse right along with Grace, so that while there isn’t any graphic violence on display, your mind fills in the holes. It becomes hard to look away, so you can’t put it down! Turning the page is like answering that ringing phone in horror movies: You know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for the casual thriller reader, but if you like your coffee dark with some grounds floating around, then this is the cup for you.
While this is a debut novel, the potential is there for remarkable talent in future works, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading what she writes next.
Check this one out if you’re looking to add some fright to your October reads without the gratuitous gore.