Book Review: The Breakdown

07.18.2017 | St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 4/5 stars


Would you stop if you passed a car sitting on the shoulder of a rural road during a downpour? Cass has found herself in this predicament. While she decides to stop, she does not exit her car. Instead she waits for the driver of the stranded vehicle to approach her. When that doesn’t happen, Cass drives away thinking that will be the last she’ll ever think of this situation. That is, until the next day, when the news can’t stop talking about a murder. The woman from the car was killed. Was she dead when Cass stopped? Was the murderer in the car at that very moment? These are the questions that haunt Cass’ mind.

Cass refuses to tell anyone about her connection to this murdered woman, but she soon feels that someone knows her secret. Someone is watching her. She begins receiving silent calls. To make matters worse, Cass is forgetting things. She doesn’t remember plans she’s made, gifts she needs to buy, where she’s parked her call. Is she on the verge of a breakdown?


I read B.A. Paris’ BEHIND CLOSED DOORS a few years ago and fell instantly in love with her writing abilities. For some reason I let THE BREAKDOWN get shoved around on my TBR after receiving it as a Christmas gift. In an effort to get through my backlist I decided to give my audiobook/reading combo a try with this one and found myself really loving Paris’ sophomore novel.

THE BREAKDOWN is told from the viewpoint of Cass, who we come to realize might be bit unreliable. Paris does not create Cass’ unreliability in the same methods that are often used in this genre. It is not alcohol or drugs making her memory of events foggy, but the possibility of early-onset dementia. I really enjoyed the connection this disease had to Cass’ backstory, as I felt that helped increase the fear Cass was experiencing and the conclusions that her emotions were making her draw.


The level of paranoia that Paris is able to create within the pages of THE BREAKDOWN is truly remarkable. The events happening around Cass with the murder, the memory loss, and the silent calls are a concerning combination and as you’re reading these events, you want to reach out and give Cass a hug and tell her that things will be alright. Which is essentially what her husband does throughout the story, but his method of forcing pills upon her isn’t the path I would choose.

The ending to this twisted story was one that made me pat myself on the back for partially guessing. There are strong clues in my opinion for one part of the story, but the other portion I wasn’t able to fully guess. I’m going to leave it at that because I’m worried I’ll let something slip that will give away part of the plot, which would do you a complete disservice.

I highly recommend giving the audiobook a try with this one. The narrator does a fantastic job of bringing the character of Cass to life!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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