I already had this galley on my Kindle, ready to go, when I attended a Mary Kubica book event at my local library. She recommended The Breakdown as a great title for her fans, so of course I had to run home and immediately begin reading it. I was fighting to keep my eyes open, but the beginning of this book was crazy compelling.
The premise is that a woman is driving down a dark road winding road through the woods in the middle of a torrential storm, even though her husband specifically asked her to not go that way. She sees a car stopped and wonders if she should stop and help. Of course, this person could be a murderer (that’s exactly where my mind would go), so she stops for a minute then decides against it and continues home.
This sets the course for the book. It’s interesting how one choice can change the course of your life.
From the Publisher:
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 inside―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…
This book was for sure compulsively readable. I really didn’t want to stop reading it the first night I picked it up. If I’d started earlier in the day, it may have been one of those I read all at once. The details just kept stacking up in the beginning and it just kept getting more and more intriguing.
Fairly early on in the book we learn that Cass, the narrator, lost her mother recently but spent many years caring for her after early onset dementia. And fairly early on we also realize that Cass is terrified that at the age of 37, she is beginning to suffer from a similar fate. So as she is dealing with the murder that took place close to her house and the fear and anguish she feels having left the woman out in the woods by herself, she is also worried she is slowly losing her mind.
The story was compelling and I really did wonder if she was losing her mind. Because she is the narrator, the story hops around a bit and I found myself feeling a little disoriented from the holes in her story. I also found myself getting annoyed with Cass, as her husband seemed to be. I wanted her to remember things and was frustrated when she would forget yet another event or plan.
The details did come together in the end, and I didn’t see it coming a mile away, which I appreciate. And Cass redeemed herself with me in the end, so all was well.
This one is another book set across the pond but I’m starting to get used to a lot of these types of books taking place in charming little countries I’ve never visited. I like the colloquial language and I can just picture Cass’s house as a charming English cottage.
I definitely recommend this one to suspense readers as one of the top suspense novels I’ve read this year. And great news–The Breakdown came out last Tuesday, July 18, so you can run right out and pick up your copy.
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an e-galley of Breakdown by B.A. Paris for my review.