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Summer Must Read: The Breakdown

This is an advertisement for SheSpeaks/St. Martin's Press.

A few weeks ago, I posted my summer reading list. The first book on my list was The Breakdown by B.A. Paris. Last summer I read B. A. Paris' Behind Closed Doors and loved it. It was an absolute page turner. You can read my full review here. Don't worry...there are no spoilers in the review if you haven't read it yet.

When I heard that B. A. Paris had another book out, I was excited to get my hands on The Breakdown and start reading it. I just can't seem to get enough of psychological thrillers of late, and The Breakdown sounded like a gripping tale.


The book begins innocently enough when the main character Cass Anderson, a teacher, is celebrating the end of the term with colleagues at a bar in a small, quaint English town. Things take a sinister turn when Cass has to endure a grueling drive home in a raging thunderstorm. Against her husband's recommendation, Cass takes a turn down a small, winding road and encounters a car parked along the side of the road. She pulls in front of the car and briefly considers getting out to help, but the raging storm and the unknown about who is in the car and what may be wrong stop her. Quickly, she pulls away and heads home to safety.

The following day Cass learns that the woman in the car was murdered. Cass also learns her identity and realizes that she had briefly met Jane on one occasion. Overwhelmed by guilt, Cass can't stop pondering what could have been if she has only offered help.


Plagued by guilt, Cass soon begins receiving silent calls and she immediately assumes someone saw her that rainy evening when she abandoned Jane. Her paranoia begins to spiral out of control and soon Cass is second guessing herself and her memory. She begins forgetting appointments, where she has placed items, and how to use everyday household appliances. Cass rapidly declines mentally, and cannot seem to function physically, and her husband, Matthew, is left picking up the pieces for her while trying to be supportive.


Just as you begin to think Cass' luck will never turn around. She is given a cell phone that belongs to her friend Rachel after some pranksters took it from her while she and Cass were enjoying a chat in the pub. Cass doesn't recognize the cell phone as Rachel's despite the fact that one of the pranksters insists it was taken from Rachel's purse. So Cass opens the phone to take a look, and the course of the book and Cass' life change.


You will have to read the book to find out how it ends. But be patient once you start. A little too much time is spent detailing Cass' very rapid decline before the book comes to a turning point. But once that turning point is reached, the action moves very fast and excitedly. There were parts that were predictable and other parts that were totally unexpected.


Overall, The Breakdown was an enjoyable way to pass some time. In my opinion, it wasn't as thrilling as Behind Closed Doors, but it wasn't a complete waste of my time either. It was good while I was reading it, but it didn't leave an indelible impression on me. That being said, I am looking forward to what comes next from B. A. Paris as she is a very talented writer. In the meantime, grab a copy of The Breakdown to take on your next beach trip.

The Breakdown hits shelves on July 18th. It's currently available online to preorder. Grab your copy and join SheSpeaks for a Twitter party on July 18th at 1:00 PM ET to chat with B. A. Paris and have a chance to win prizes. Head over to SheSpeaks to RSVP.

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