Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
About this book: (from the publisher) Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.
Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.
Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.
About the author: B.A. Paris grew up in England and has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher, and she has five daughters. Behind Closed Doors is her first novel.
Genre: Fiction/Thriller/Psychological Suspense
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG-13
Reminds me of: Am I dating myself if I say Mary Higgins Clark?
[Tweet “Creepy psychological suspense for your fall reading list @BAParisAuthor @StMartinsPress”]
Reflection: It’s been a while since I’ve read a good psychological thriller. I’ve tried quite a few recently, but none of them hit the mark. Then Behind Closed Doors came my way, and while it didn’t hit the target perfectly, it came pretty close.
From page one, I was drawn in. It was creepy: you knew something was wrong between Jack and Grace, but you weren’t sure exactly what. There was just enough hint and double entendre to understand something lurked beneath the surface. The writing was smooth, the characters well-drawn for the most part. The most notable exception, interestingly, was with the villain. The reason for his villainous behavior was not explained to my satisfaction, which made his motivation run shallow. Oddly, once his evil intentions were revealed, I didn’t feel the fear in the same way anymore.
Which sounds as if it should be a deal-breaker, but somehow it wasn’t. True, I wasn’t as emotionally invested anymore, but I was still interested…curious to see how it was all going to work out. How Grace was going to outwit the guy. I also liked that for a psych thriller, which tend to lean toward the profane, this one was relatively clean.
As for story development, there was one other bit toward the end that didn’t quite ring true — it stretched my credibility — but I was willing to overlook it as the story rushed toward the climax, delivering a satisfying twist in its very last pages.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: What other creepy titles do you recommend for my fall reading list?