Behind Closed Doors
by B.A. Paris
Published August 2016
Goodreads: See here
Psychological Thriller / Suspense
Synopsis at a Glance:
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.
Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?
And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?
I’ve had such a wonderful year better acquainting myself with suspense/thrillers, that at some point you have to wonder when the bubble will burst. I’m happy to report that this was not that book! In fact, this was another whopper that kept me spinning through pages and neglecting daily necessities like food and sleep just so I could fly through it a tiny bit faster.
As with any suspense book, I find it difficult to really go in depth discussing things like characters and plot movement because I hate spoiling anyone that actually make the effort to read my reviews. I will say though that I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamic between Grace and Jack, whose marriage is the central focus of the story. There’s such an insidious undercurrent of dread within their interactions with each other, and with other characters, that even in the earliest pages of the book I knew I was in for a some real tortorous moments later on, which is a sentiment that definitely doesn’t go unfulfilled.
One thing I enjoyed most here was the plotting. While it’s not the most original tale ever told, it is a tale told quite well, and there’s still enough surprises/foreshadowing to keep any reader interested. I went into the story thinking one thing, and B.A. Paris pulled the rug out from under me with some wonderfully clever foreshadowing interspersed through conversations and small moments between the characters over the course of the novel that left me feeling really fulfilled by the entire story.
The only reason I’m detracting a star is I would have preferred a bit more showing over telling. Grace’s story about her marriage is told through a first-person narrative voice that follows alternating “Past/Present” chapters. While the story she’s telling is compelling as hell, it’s told a bit too informally for me. It really does feel like I settled across a table from an old friend and listened to them regale me with some very personal experiences over a cup of tea.
But it doesn’t exactly feel like building a vision in written word. Those informal stories told between friends are always entertaining – and I admit to being hooked by it here – but I wanted to feel and see more in the storytelling. I had trouble feeling like I was experiencing the events myself. I also think this would have allowed for certain characters to feel a bit more dimensional than they ended up being by the end of the story. Had the narrative voice been slowed down a tiny bit, and things like settings and characters been explored a bit deeper, I would have given this a full 5 stars.
Based on how quick a read this is and how much I enjoyed it, I would definitely recommend it to other fans of the suspense genre in the future.
🌟🌟🌟🌟 = 4/5 stars
What did you think of this book? Can you recommend any good thrillers that play off of horror movie tropes well?