The Breakdown: A Novel

by B. A. Paris

Hardcover, 2017




St. Martin's Press (2017), 336 pages


Fiction. Suspense. Thriller. HTML: "[Georgia Maguire's] overall narration is calm and elegant but emotional and alarming during the horrific moments Grace experiences." - AudioFile Magazine on Behind Closed Doors. Named One of the Most Anticipated Thriller Novels Of 2017 by Bustle! THE NEWEST PROPULSIVE AUDIOBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR OF NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY INSTANT BESTSELLER, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. 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 insideâ??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... You won't be able to hit pause on B. A. Paris's The Breakdown, the next chilling audiobook from the bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors.… (more)


½ (395 ratings; 3.8)

User reviews

LibraryThing member nicx27
I loved B A Paris's first book, Behind Closed Doors, which made a huge splash and had everybody talking about it. The Breakdown is that tricky second novel and following up Behind Closed Doors was always going to be hard but I'm pleased to say that I found The Breakdown just as much of a page
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This is Cass Anderson's story, told in the first person which means that the reader never quite knows whether Cass's account of events can be trusted or not. Having had a mother with early onset dementia, when Cass starts to forget things she wonders if she is going to have the same condition. Husband Matthew and best friend Rachel are rocks for her as she wonders if she is going mad after learning she was in a lay-by at the same time as a local woman who was murdered there. Suddenly her world is turned upside down and paranoia takes over.

This is such an atmospheric, clever and claustrophobic novel. When reading it in bed at night I was genuinely freaked out and I found the whole thing terrifying at times. The Breakdown is such a clever title as it has more than one meaning within the context of the story. Just as terrifying as anything else is the way that Cass is forgetting things like how to do the most basic of tasks. Her confusion and fear is put across perfectly to the reader.

When the big reveals came my heart was racing. It wasn't so much that it was a huge surprise, more that there was such a sense of menace about the whole book that I was feeling quite het up as I hurtled towards the conclusion.

I don't know how B A Paris does it but she manages to create these page turners that keep me reading long after I should have put it down and gone to sleep. The Breakdown is highly recommended by me and is right up there with the best of the psychological thrillers.
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LibraryThing member kbranfield
In B.A. Paris' latest domestic mystery, The Breakdown, focuses on the effects that a chilling murder on a deserted country road has on the victim's friend.

During a heavy rainstorm, thirty-four year old schoolteacher Cass Anderson notices a car sitting on a lay by and stops to see if the driver
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needs assistance. However, when it appears the woman is not in trouble, Cass's concerns about her own personal safety outweigh her concern for the other driver and she leaves without approaching her. The next day, she is absolutely horrified to learn the woman was brutally murdered and after she discovers the victim is her new friend, Jane Walters, she becomes terrified the killer might know where to find her. Over the next couple of months, Cass is plagued by a series of eerie phone calls, the sense she is being watched and overwhelming guilt she could have prevented Jane's death. Growing increasingly concerned for her safety, Cass cannot convince her husband Matthew or her best friend Rachel Baretto to take her seriously due to her failing memory. Is someone watching Cass? Is she suffering from early onset dementia? And most importantly, who killed Jane and why?

Cass is an extremely frustrating and irritating lead character and since the novel is written from her perspective, readers have a front seat to her excessive guilt, fear and paranoia. Almost right from the beginning, she is guilt-ridden and convinced it is her fault Jane is dead. Then her irrational fears begin and the novel becomes incredibly repetitive and mired down by her self-doubts and a melodramatic plot. Savvy readers will clue in fairly early to the truth about what is happening to Cass and it is not too much of a leap to guess who is responsible for them. The why is a little more difficult to figure out and it is difficult to remain invested in learning the truth since much of the storyline becomes a
regurgitation of daily phone calls, Cass's failing memory and her conviction that it is only a matter of time before she is savagely murdered by Jane's killer. This certainty that her life is in danger makes Cass's decision to take a prescription for "stress" that essentially keeps her knocked out all day and night utterly ridiculous.

The Breakdown is an extremely slow-paced mystery that requires a fairly healthy suspension of disbelief by readers. The novel is initially quite interesting but very quickly becomes tedious as it fails to make any progress whatsoever until the last fifty or so pages. Cass's reactions are way over the top and she comes across as very weak and irrational. The title is quite clever as is the novel's conclusion but overall, this latest release from B.A. Paris fails to live up to the hype.
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LibraryThing member Carol420
I loved B. A. Paris's [Behind Closed Doors] so was rather surprised at her character of Cass. I didn't know rather to pity her or kill her myself. I know that the author was trying to build the suspense but this woman just kept getting dumber and dumber. Some one is dead...or might be dead in the
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car you stopped and momentarily TELL someone!! The fact that she was on the road she wan't suppose to be on pales beside the reality. Overall I found the idea of the story-line interesting...hence the 3 stars... but badly carried through. The main character of Cass was gullible...needy..and stupid. I stopped feeling sorry for her about a third of the way through and gave up on her completely by the half way point.
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LibraryThing member hubblegal
Cass takes a short cut through the woods one stormy night, even though her husband had made her promise not to. She sees a stopped car with a woman in it but she’s too frightened to stop and just wants to get home. The next day she learns that the woman in the car had been killed. Cass is
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overcome with remorse and shame that she didn’t stop to help the woman. As she struggles with her guilty secret, she also struggles with her fear that she is losing her memory – or her mind. The silent phone calls she’s receiving haven’t helped as she believes they’re from the murderer.

What I liked about this book was the fact that not only did Cass not know who she could trust but she couldn’t even trust her own mind. Sure, there were times she over reacted but she was under a great deal of stress. I felt that the author’s decision to add in a fear of early-onset dementia was what held the book together for me. It made it all seem very realistic and I was pulled into the suspenseful plot. I did figure out what was going on fairly early but I still had to see what happened. I didn’t expect the ending and thought the author did a good job of pulling it together. It’s also one of those books where you just want to shake the main character and say “Just tell someone, you fool!” But of course that’s all part of the fun.

A fast entertaining book. Recommended for light summer reading.

This book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member boudicca123
Cass's life changes overnight when she takes a decision to take a short cut through the woods one rainy evening. There's a car parked in the layby and apart from stopping her car for a few minutes, doesn't get out to help, something she will regret. Shortly afterwards things start to go wrong,
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forgetting things, mysterious parcels arrive, silent phone calls - she's doubting her own sanity. Wow!! Just loved this from the very first line - what a stomping good read, gripping and menacing, pacey and dark. It was one of those books you just have to read in one sitting, no putting it down apart from the essentials that is! Allow plenty of time because you won't want to leave this story and watch out for your fingernails as you just might bite them off as you feverishly turn the pages! Another wonderful book by this author.
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LibraryThing member teachlz
I would like to thank NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and B.A.Paris for the ARC of "The Breakdown" by B.A. Paris for my honest review. B.A. Paris is the author of "Behind Closed Doors", and her novel "The Breakdown" doesn't disappoint. The genres of this novel and Mystery and Thriller. One of the
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blurbs for this book are" If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust."
I find that B.A.Paris describes her characters as complex and complicated.This story reminds me of the movie,"Gaslight". I read this book in one sitting and did not stop until I was finished. I just couldn't put this down.
The story starts when Cass is driving home from a torrential downpour and is forced to take a path through the woods. She sees the headlights of a car, and barely notices a woman sitting in it. Not sure what to do, she flashes her lights and looks for some indication that the woman needs help. It is an isolated area, and with the heavy rain and lightening, Cass decides to move on. There is no cell reception to make a call.
Cass is extremely insecure, and had been taking care of her mother, who had dementia at 44 years old. When the mother passes away, Cass inherits a tremendous amount of money that she had no idea existed. Cass has a career teaching, a husband and friends.
When Cass gets home, she is distracted and relieved, and forgets to call for help for the woman in the woods. She doesn't tell her husband she went through the woods, because he would be furious.
The next day Cass finds out the identity of the woman in the woods who has been murdered. Cass feels guilty and starts questioning her decisions. Cass's house is near the woods and isolated. There is no information that is given that can determine the killer or the motive. There is a murderer running around. There is concern and tension.
Strange things start happening. Cass starts getting phone calls,with no one on the line. She has the feeling someone is watching her. Things are misplaced, and Cass has no idea how this could happen. Packages arrive at the house with items that Cass does not remember buying. Cass is missing appointments with friends, and making appointments she does not remember making.
Why is this happening? Who is the murderer? There are twists and turns. Some of the characters are not likeable. Some of the characters seem to be suspect. I enjoyed this intriguing book and would highly recommend it.
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LibraryThing member Bonnie.Franks
I read this book knowing that it would be good as I enjoy this author's writing. I'm not going to tell you the story, but rather how the story made me feel. The book jacket can tell you the story.

I was immediately drawn into the story and stayed there, feeling anxious, afraid, confused, certain,
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wonderful, charmed, questioning and alert. Oh, this one will have your feelings running the gamut. I knew almost at once that something was wrong with this picture, and I was continually attempting to figure it out. The author does such a wonderful job that if she ever decides to change careers, she should be a magician. I had it figured out and re-figured more times than I can count, and I am good at this.

Wonderful writing, great story's all here. Read this book!
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LibraryThing member pegmcdaniel
Thanks to the publisher, St. Martin's Press, via NetGalley, for an egalley in exchange for my honest review.

I looked forward to this novel since I had enjoyed the author's debut novel, Behind Closed Doors. This is also a psychological suspense/thriller that is quite a page-turner. It's well-plotted
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with just the right number of characters, not so many that it's hard to keep track of them.

The protagonist is Cass, a young woman who is suffering from paranoia, forgetfulness, and guilt while being frightened about losing her short-term memory like her mother. Her mental stability is tested throughout the novel. There were times when I had no idea what was going on or who to suspect was causing all the drama. But the book is so well-written, I just couldn't put it down.

Cass is traumatized by an event that starts the "breakdown" rolling. From there it's a roller coaster ride. While at times I felt it was repetitive, it continued to be fast-paced. Ms. Paris certainly knows how to grab you at the beginning and not let you go until you finish her novel.
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LibraryThing member celticlady53
Behind Closed Doors,also by B.A.Paris was my favorite book in 2016 and I read 150 books. I love psychological thrillers and I seem to be reading a lot of them lately. The Breakdown is going to be right up there with my favorite books.

Cass is on her way home on a blustery, rainy night. Her husband
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has asked her to not take the shortcut that Cass likes to take, but she disregards his concerns, what could happen right, she will just take her time. It is raining hard and it becomes increasingly difficult to see where she is going, but she keeps going. Ahead she sees the taillights of a car ahead. Should she stop and see if there is anything she can do if the person needs help. She is apprehensive though, as you never know who is in the car, it could be very dangerous. She pulls in front of the car, hoping that maybe if the person needs help, he or she can toot the horn or flash their lights. That does not happen so after a period of time, Cass leaves and makes her way home.

The next morning Cass finds out that there was a woman murdered on the street she was on and it turns out it is a woman that she knows slightly. Now the guilt sets in and she keeps thinking that there could have been something that she could have done, or if she would have stopped the woman would be alive. She doesn't tell anyone, even her best friend or her hubby, or the police. There is a reward and a hotline for anyone with any information that anyone might have. Cass does call the hotline and tells what she knows but doesn't give her name.

Aside from her knowledge and guilt she feels about the woman that was murdered, she finds that she is starting to forget things and is worried that she has early onset dementia, like her mother had. This is disconcerting to Cass because at times she feels like she is going crazy. So with the insistence of her doctor and husband she starts taking medication that may help this affliction. The story gets going pretty fast from there and there are a lot of twists and turns until the last page.

Like I said earlier, I love the books by Ms.Paris. Well written, good character development. Some might say that is starts out a bit slow, but that is good for a psychological thriller, kind of sets up the suspense for the reader! This could very well be another favorite for the year for me!
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LibraryThing member techeditor
If you expect, as I did, that Paris’s THE BREAKDOWN is an improvement on her last book, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, I would say, yes and no. The two books have in common a husband who appears to be deeply in love with and devoted to his poor, unsuspecting wife. After that, THE BREAKDOWN is better or
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worse than BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, depending on how you feel about the latter. I thought THE BREAKDOWN was better AND worse.

In THE BREAKDOWN, the wife, Cass, is concerned about both a murderer on the loose near her home and her forgetfulness. She and her husband, Matthew, fear she is suffering from early onset dementia. But this book isn't sickening as is BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which is so sickening in the cruelty of the husband that I had to put it down frequently.

However, most of THE BREAKDOWN is an enumeration of the seeming symptoms (forgetfulness and paranoia) of Cass’s breakdown. It gets tedious.

Worse, THE BREAKDOWN is predictable. It is so predictable, I knew right from the beginning who was pulling tricks on whom. So most of what happened made me angry that the character could not see what was so clear to me.

If you like stories about rotten marriages, maybe you’ll like this. I sure didn’t.
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LibraryThing member Glorybe1
Loved this book, it had me gripped from start to finish, couldn't put it down.
Cass drives home from a night out with work colleagues along a very secluded country lane in the pitch dark and in a dreadful storm. She sees a car parked and stops to see if everything is alright, but when no one gets
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out of the car to ask for help she drives on. Next day the news is awash with a murder that has taken place in the lane that Cass drove down!
Cass has been having problems with her memory and is worried she is going mad, the murder pushes her to the edge and she doesn't know what to do. She goes on a rollercoaster of feelings and emotions from them on!
A brilliant read with a fantastic twist at the end.
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LibraryThing member Cherylk
It was an instant connection and hit for me with this author's first book, Behind Closed Doors. I could not read that book fast enough. Therefore, I was looking forward to reading this book. This book started out strong. After about a third of the way into the story, this is where the story fell
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down to a steady pace. Not a slow pace but just a steady one.

Unlike the prior novel, I was more like a casual acquaintance with the characters. In fact, after a while, I found myself wanting to distance myself from Cass. The memory problems grew old versus more of a psychological one. Yet, the author makes up for it all when the story is wrapped up in a nice bow in the last third of the story. I hope that the next book is like the first one.
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LibraryThing member JanJanFreeman
Cass and her husband, Matthew, live in a house far away from many things. Only a couple of neighbors down the road but it is quiet and peaceful. That is, until one stormy night on her way home a woman is stranded on the side of the road. Cass made the decision that she would later regret: she does
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not help her. The next morning, the woman is found dead.

Riddled with the guilt of not having done anything, and horrified that this could happen in her small and remote neighborhood, Cass gets spooked and lives in fear. When she discovers that the woman was her new friend, Jane, she nearly falls apart. Does the murderer know that it was Cass who passed by?

Let me begin with the end. The end of the book really ties everything together and makes up for the redundant middle of the book. Although many thriller books are compared to Girl On The Train, I will add this one to the list for this very reason. I gave up on Girl On The Train because the middle was so redundant on how she is drunk every day. I later had the book spoiled for me and wished I had carried on. I almost did the same for this book. The middle of The Breakdown becomes cumbersome to read as it does not feel like much of anything is progressing. The daily actions of Cass waking up devastatingly convinced to have early onset dementia like her mother had, taking pills, falling asleep, waking up again to pretend to be normal when her husband comes home, and going to bed again happens so often. However, there are snippets of clues subtly dropped within this chunk of monotony that it is easy to miss them. I would not say that this book is something that I could not put down. For a lot of the book I had a hard time actually picking it back up, but I am glad that I did as the ending makes up for everything.

I would recommend this book for anyone who could endure Girl On The Train. I also recommend this book for readers who enjoy getting in the mindset of the narrator. This reads in first-person narrative and does not jump back and forth between past and present.

For those who may be offended, there are themes of manipulation, stalking, murder, early onset dementia, and overdose.

Please note: An electronic advanced reader copy was generously provided by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member debkrenzer
I could not wait to start reading this book. I was so happy when I found out that I had been approved to do so.

However, I think this one took way too long letting the reader know that Cass was freaking out over seeing her friend in the woods. I got it, I truly got it, pages and pages ago. And, it
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was pretty predictable. I was pretty sure what was going on very quickly and detested that character. However, what I thought and how the author ended the book were not exactly quite right. So, I do have to give the author an extra star for that.

That is not to say that I would not read another book by this author. I just think this one really didn't do it for me.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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LibraryThing member jmoncton
If you liked Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train, you'll love this! It's a tense, psychological thriller that will keep you reading late into the night.
LibraryThing member BettyTaylor56
I loved her first book (“Behind Closed Doors”) so had high expectations for this one. The story is truly suspenseful. During a severe storm Cass comes across a car parked at the side of the road. She stops and waits for some indication that the female driver needs assistance. None comes so Cass
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drives on to her home. The next morning Cass learns from her husband that her friend Jane had been murdered. She is devastated when she learns that it had been her friend Jane’s car on the side of the road.

Besides all the guilt Cass feels wondering if she could have done something different and have saved Jane, Cass begins forgetting more and more things. Cass forgets appointments, she forgets ordering items from the shopping channels, etc. She is afraid that she may be showing signs of Early Onset Dementia, a disease her mother has. She receives silent phone calls several times a day. She sees things that later are not there. Her husband is losing his patience with her.

There are lots of suspenseful moments in the book. However, I did have it mostly figured out by 60 pages. But the writing was still good and kept me anxiously awaiting the reveal. The chapters are short so by the last several chapters I was telling myself “I have time for one more chapter – just one more – just one more.” I don’t think it is as good as the first book but it was definitely worth reading.

Suspenseful – Riveting – Can’t put down until the truth is revealed.
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LibraryThing member Sharn
Didn't do it for me. I didn't like a single person in the book and Cass drove me bat shit crazy (even though I have a better understanding now that I've finished). I feel disappointed. I loved the author's first book Behind Closed Doors so I thought this one was in the bag. Not so much.
LibraryThing member jenn88
It's a stormy night and Cass Anderson is taking an isolated shortcut back to her house. She finds it odd that there's another vehicle on the lane and while Cass does stop to see if they need help all kinds of bad scenarios come to mind and plus the driver never indicted they needed help, so off she
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goes. Only to learn the next day that the driver of that car has been murdered. And Cass knew her. She can't confide in her husband because he told her not to take the shortcut and she promised him she wouldn't. She's convinced the murderer knows who she is. Ever since the murder she's been getting calls from an unknown number, she feels as though she's being watched and that someone has been inside her home. And she's been very forgetful - she couldn't find her car, she doesn't remember ordering things from the shopping channel, she can't remember the code for the alarm, or how to work the washing machine. Something's going on and Cass wants to get to the bottom of it.

Right from the very beginning this is a page-turner. It has a very sinister vibe throughout. I liked the setting - Cass lives at the end of road and her house is isolated. The murder happened not far from there. I couldn't wait to find out exactly what happened to that poor woman on that stormy night. I wasn't disappointed!
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LibraryThing member ivydtruitt
4.5 stars
B.A. Paris once again takes readers on an intense mental and emotional roller coaster of a read in THE BREAKDOWN.
Cass is not only suffering from guilt over not helping the driver she saw sitting on the side of the road late that stormy night, she’s also afraid she’s developing Early
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Onset Dementia just like her mother.
She’s caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
As the forgetful incidents occur more often, and the guilt multiplies when she discovers the identity of the motorist, Cass pulls you deeper into her little corner of hell.
What will this do to her young marriage, her husband Matthew, the life she’s only started living after caring for her mother? Is she losing it? Could she have helped that night or would she too have been a victim? How can she live with the guilt of not having done more? Questions abound for Cass and the reader.
Before you realize it, you’re so immersed you don’t want to come up until the last page has been read. And what a doozy those last pages are. Sly, clever, cunning, subtle, however you choose to say it, that’s THE BREAKDOWN in a nutshell.
Ms. Paris has a knack of making the improbable, probable; and THE BREAKDOWN is as engrossing as BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. Ms. Paris' sophomore release has solidified her place on my auto buy list.

Highly anticipating Ms. Paris' next book!
Reviewed for Miss Ivy's Book Nook Take II & Novels Alive TV
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LibraryThing member Staciele
One of the most riveting thrillers I read last year was Paris's first novel, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. It made my skin crawl and kept me turning the pages until I finished it. Her sophomore thriller, THE BREAKDOWN is just as creepy and mystifying, but maybe not quite as exciting.

Cass, a newly married
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teacher, who after celebrating the end of the school year, drives home during a heavy rain storm. Anxious to get home, she takes the shortcut through the woods, even though she knows it could be dangerous during the storm. Just miles from home, she comes upon a car pulled along side of the road. After some thought, Cass decides the person must be waiting for someone and chooses not to get out and investigate. The next morning, Cass learns that a woman was found, murdered, on the same stretch of road, right near their home. After Cass realizes she also knew the woman, her life is completely torn apart by her guilt at not stopping to help and her fear about whether the murderer is still out there and saw her that night.

Cass's mom has recently passed away from dementia and the stress of the murder has made Cass's own memory lapses more pronounced. She can't seem to keep anything straight and wonders if it is stress from the murder or if she too, is suffering from early on-set dementia like her mom.

Along with Cass, her husband Alex, her best friend Rachel and some other co-workers fill out the main characters in the story. The book chronicles the dates of July 17 through October 2 during the present day. Each chapter highlights the events of that day which mostly includes Cass's paranoia about the murder and her memory lapses. As the dates move along through the summer, I got a little bored with the repeated occurrences of Cass's fear and forgetfulness, Alex's concern and desperation, and Rachel's inability to be there for her best friend. The murderer is eluding the authorities and the reader begins to question every character and conversation, wondering who the murderer could be.

Finally, when you can't seem to stand it anymore and you just want to skip to the last page of the book, the author gives you a little twist and baits you to keep reading all the way to the end. There is a lot of build-up and the characters continue to throw you off. At one point, I even wondered if Cass, as the narrator could be considered as reliable due to her constant confusion. But, once the truth is revealed, you keep reading to make sure that the murderer is caught and revenge has taken place.

I still found this to be a good mystery that held my attention. I just found it a bit repetitive. Paris does, however, create scenes that the reader can feel the panic in the character's voice and actions. Readers will care about Cass and feel sorry for her when she is frantically looking for her car in the ramp or trying to remember why she ordered an item that arrives in the mail. They will sympathize with her fears knowing the murderer is still loose. Cass is likable and easy to root for, even if her struggles to function get annoying. Paris has a way of creating characters with flaws that we will still relate to, root for, and believe in. She also has a way of surprising you once the mystery is revealed. All qualities much needed in a good mystery novel.
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LibraryThing member GrandmaCootie
B. A. Paris is a master at this! At scaring me, I mean. At making me second – and third – and fourth – guess. The Breakdown is the second book I’ve read by B. A. Paris, and it’s just as exciting as Behind Closed Doors.

The story starts on a rainy night, when Cass takes the shortcut home
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through the woods, even though her husband has warned that it could be dangerous. With just minutes left until she’s at their house, she sees a car stopped on the side of the road with a woman sitting alone inside. Has the car broken down? Does she need help? Cass waits for a moment, but as the rain crashes down, she soon continues on. When the news reports the next morning that a woman was killed in the woods, Cass can’t stop thinking about it. Pained by guilt, she has been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code to the house. What she can’t forget is the woman she might have saved. . .and that maybe the killer saw her. Then the silent phone calls start, and the feeling that someone is watching her.

The Breakdown just grabs you and won’t let go. It starts out with Cass agonizing over what she could have or should have done differently. Then she starts losing control, forgetting things and seeming more and more agitated confused. And then the phone calls start, and she obsesses over them. She’s sure someone is watching her and that she is in danger, but no one will believe her. They are concerned and worried about her, but they don’t believe her, and she can’t bring herself to tell them about leaving the woman in the woods. And the more confused Cass gets the harder it is for her to even believe herself.

At some point I almost stopped caring about what happens next, it just has to happen soon because I can’t stand the suspense. It’s not a contest or brain exercise about whether I’m right or smart enough to figure it out. It’s a thrill ride. And a thrill ride it is, like the carousel in the movies that goes out of control, spinning faster and faster. Stop! Or throw all the people off. Just make it stop spinning because I can’t stand not knowing. I want to see somebody get caught, find out who is doing this. But if someone is doing this to Cass and it’s not just her imagination, then that is almost too awful to imagine. How could someone be so cruel, so evil? What has she done to deserve it? And at what point will they stop?

The story is fast-paced, easy to read, and hard to put down. The characters are likeable, or almost likeable, or maybe they just fit in so well you don’t even pay much attention. They are just there, part of her life, and why would they want to see Cass come to harm. So whom can Cass trust? Or is the she paranoid one? At times I thought of the movies Midnight Lace or Notorious, and then thought no, can’t be like that, wait, is it, yes, no . . . back and forth right up until the end.

The issue of the breakdown itself and her actions, without any sinister happenings (or imaginings) is another fright all unto itself. Who among us hasn’t done or not done something that we instantly regret, but there is no way to absolve ourselves without exposing just how horrible we are. And we can’t make this situation right, ever. We are guilty and there’s no way to rid ourselves of the guilt.

As with Behind Closed Doors, it’s almost impossible to say much about this story without spoilers. So suffice it to say I was engaged from start to finish. A very satisfying read with the perfect ending. When I put the book down I had a smile on my face and said, “Yes!” And once again I eagerly await the next book from B. A. Paris.
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LibraryThing member Twink
I loved B. A. Paris's debut novel, Behind Closed Doors. I was very excited to see what she had in store for readers in her newest book, The Breakdown.

Cass takes a shortcut home late one rainy night through a dark wooded area. She comes across a parked vehicle and wonders if the woman driver needs
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help. She pulls over, but the woman never exits her vehicle, so Cass drives on, thinking she will phone the police to let them know there's a possible breakdown. But she forgets to call and is stunned to find out that a woman named Jane was murdered on that same shortcut road last night. Cass seems to forget a lot these days and she is terrified that she has the same early onset dementia that her mother had. And she is just as terrified that the murderer may have seen her license plate as she drove by. And then things start happening....

"It's hard to believe that my split-second decision to take a shortcut through the woods that fateful Friday night has had such a devastating impact on my life. Jane may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time but so was I. So was I."

Wonderful premise! And a decidedly unreliable narrator - are the 'things' happening all in her own mind? Or are they real? Is the murderer after her as well? And her memory seems to be rapidly deteriorating....

Paris introduces a set of friends and family and because we only meet them through Cass, I was suspicious of them all. The tension builds and builds as Cass becomes even more paranoid and terrified. The last one hundred pages turns everything upside down, providing the twist that psychological suspense lovers like myself are just waiting to discover. Read carefully as Paris drops little snippets of dialogue along the way that will point the reader in the right direction for the final whodunit. There are one or two pieces of the resolution that require a few grains of salt to be taken, but this didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book in any way. (In fact it ended up being read in a day on the weekend!) The Breakdown was another great read for me and I will be looking forward to Paris's next book.

I always enjoy a clever title - Breakdown can be interpreted a couple of ways in this case.
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LibraryThing member fredreeca
OOOOOOOOOO!!!!! So freaking good! I finished this book a few days ago and I am still thinking about it. It is difficult to put into words. I truly do not want to give anything away with my comments. Just know..this is a must read if you like psychological thrillers.

Cass has come upon what she
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thinks is a car broken down on the side of the road. She stops but does not get out her car. It is pouring down rain after all. She decides to head on home. Later she finds out the owner of the car was murdered in that very spot. Plus, the victim is someone she knew. This is the beginning of Cass' own breakdown.

"What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!" A great quote for this book. It is amazing the illusions the mind can play on you, as Cass is finding out. Did she really buy that?? Did she really sign this?? Is she really going crazy?? I love how the author tangles so much within this tale. It is brilliantly contrived.

I did have part of it figured out, just didn't have the whole picture. I am trying very hard not to give anything away. Twists and turns and figments of the imagination!!! This is a read not to be missed!

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.
I did meet B.A. Paris at Book Expo. Her accent is fabulous. Sadly, I did not get a picture but, I did get a signed ARC.
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LibraryThing member SilversReviews
For three years, Cass Anderson had been taking care of her mother who had dementia. It has taken its toll on her, and has also made her worry that she too may have dementia some day.

The worry actually seemed to be coming true since Cass has been forgetting everything including appointments, where
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she left money given to her to buy a gift, and lunch dates.

On her way home from a work party, Cass passed by a car on a deserted road and didn't stop because the driver gave no indication that any help was needed. The next morning the news announced that a woman had been murdered on that same road.

The guilt Cass felt from not stopping to help caused her memory to get worse and her fears that the murderer saw her that night and was after her escalated. She did get phone calls that had no one on the other end of the line as well as many other instances that made her think she was heading the path of her mother. Was it dementia or stress? Or could it be someone making her think her memory was declining.

THE BREAKDOWN was very tense, and did have me thinking someone was purposely doing all of these things to stress her to the point of losing her memory and deciding to not go back to work.

THE BREAKDOWN had me turning the pages as well as being nervous for Cass, but it was nothing like the tension and terror of her first book.

As the ending neared, the suspense was very high as the truth came out.

I sort of figured out toward the end what was going on, but the plot and revelation were carefully and cleverly carried out by Ms. Paris.

ENJOY!! 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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LibraryThing member thewanderingjew
Although the mystery may seem obvious from the beginning, the author’s sleight of hand will keep the reader guessing constantly. This is the first book I have read in a long time that literally kept me on the edge of my seat from page one even though it was uncomplicated. I loved the “double
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entendre” of the title. Was the main character having a nervous breakdown or was the book about a car that had been on a forested road during a terrible storm and suffered a breakdown, resulting in the loss of life? Was Cassandra (Cass) Anderson losing her memory as her mom had, from dementia, or was something else afoot? The reader will wonder and wander in different directions, testing out different theories and scenarios until the last page. The ending is somewhat of a surprise, although perhaps it should have been obvious; yet, it works!
One stormy night, in mid-July, while traveling through the wooded road her husband had begged her not to use, Cass came upon a car blocking the bumpy and unsafe flooded road. Swerving to avoid it, she attempted to look back to see if the person needed help. All she could see was the face of a woman who showed little emotion and whom she could not readily identify. Since the woman did not reach out for help in any way, and since she was afraid to get out in the violent weather, she drove on. The next day, she learns the woman was murdered, and it was someone she knew, someone she had recently met and liked very much. Ashamed of herself for not offering the woman help, he tells no one she saw her, and she grows consumed with guilt. She believes that if she had stopped and offered help, her new friend Jane Walters, might still be alive. She tells no one, not even her husband, that she saw her car on the road that fateful night, believing that she will be judged badly, and then ridiculed, or perhaps even suspected of being involved in the foul play.
Cass was only married a year to Matthew Anderson. She had kept other secrets from him, like the fact that her mom was diagnosed with early onset dementia in her forties, so when she grew more and more absent minded and forgetful, she wondered if she should have warned him before they married, that she might one day have the same disease. The only one who knew all of her secrets was her quasi sister and best friend, Rachel Baretto. Rachel’s mom had worked long hours, so she spent a great deal of time with Cass and her parents as she was growing up. She was thought of almost as a daughter. Cass was even afraid to confide her secret of the night of the murder to Rachel.
As the weeks and then months pass, with the murderer still at large, she becomes obsessed with her guilt and fear. She fantasizes that the killer knows who she is and is stalking her. Slowly, she seems to fall apart, losing her memory, becoming more and more afraid that she is in mortal danger. She begins receiving phone calls with no one on the other end. She believes it is the murderer taunting her. At the same time, she begins to forget how to operate the everyday appliances she always used, like the coffee pot and the washing machine. She forgets to take her purse with her or to keep appointments she has made. A doctor prescribes medication to alleviate her stress, and she begins to sleep much of the time. She neglects to prepare the lesson plans due for her teaching position, and she rarely leaves the cottage. She seems to be descending into the same dementia that her mom had suffered from and she is distraught. Her misery, coupled with her fear, is driving her slowly mad. Although Matthew at first seems to be offering support, after weeks pass, he seems to be losing patience with her failures and her fears.
The reader will easily follow the events that are presented carefully and logically. The twists and turns, the misdirection and the character setups work to hold the readers at bay, so that they are never sure which way the book will end, never sure what the mystery is exactly; they are always wondering who is the murderer, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Just what is the connection to Cass’s downward spiral and what is not, just what is real and what is fantasy? Is it what seems obvious or is it something else?
Is Cass suffering, as her mother did, from early onset dementia or is there is a diabolical plan afoot to make her think so? Is it related to the murder of her friend Jane Walters or are both issues totally unrelated? Is she being stalked by the murderer? Is it something else entirely that is driving her mad? Some answers may seem obvious to the reader, at times, but the reader will never be sure until the very end, about exactly what occurred and why. This author is skillful at sending out clues leading in many directions at once, essentially misdirecting the reader at every opportunity. It is a great read that will keep you guessing and wanting more.
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Physical description

336 p.; 9.36 inches


1250122465 / 9781250122469
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