Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris is a taunt thriller whose slow reveal will have your pulse racing to the end, once it actually gets started. Let’s get one thing out of the way, and honestly this crap has got to stop. This is not the next Gone Girl. Seriously can we hire a marketing department with some originality? There is no next Gone Girl! Gillian Flynn hasn’t even written another book (and no The Grownup does not count) since Gone Girl and that was in 2012. Five years ago. Enough already, get over it!

But Behind Closed Doors is the first book by B.A. Paris and the one an only Behind Closed Doors. Given its due and an opportunity, this book will hook you and have you flipping pages as fast as your mind can process what is happening. Then you will go back and think wait, did I miss that? How is this happening now? Twists come strong and fast and the secrets when revealed will amaze and stun.

“…I look around the room that has been my home for the last six months. There isn’t much, just a bed, a barred window and another door. It leads to a small bathroom, my only portal to a different world, where a shower, basin and toilet stand, a tiny cake of soap and towel its only ornaments.
Although I know every inch of these two rooms, my eyes continually search them, because there is always the thought that I might have missed something that would make my life more bearable, a nail that I could use to etch my distress on the edge of the bed, or at least leave some trace of me should I suddenly disappear. But there is nothing. Anyway, it isn’t death that Jack has in mind for me. What he has planned is more subtle than that and, as always when I think about what is coming, I pray frantically that he’ll be killed in a car accident on the way home from work, if not tonight then before the end of June, when Millie will come to live with us. Because, after that, it will be too late…”

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple, there is one in every neighborhood. Jack works hard all day, his looks and wealth brimming with self confidence and Grace, sophisticated and charming. They throw the perfect dinner parties and she prepares the most exquisite meals. Never a place setting that isn’t perfect or a hair out of place. Jack seems to spoil Grace, flowers and endless attention. But as the saying goes, who knows what really goes on behind closed doors.

Grace’s life completely changed the day she married Jack, and so did he. Grace cannot make a move without Jack’s prior approval and as he begins to reveal the depths of his true depravity, Grace fears what is to come. For soon her younger sister Millie is coming to live with them and if Grace doesn’t do something soon, Jack will have Millie as well.

As is the case with most first novels, there are plenty of moments in this book that could have done with a second go over. The easy way Grace falls for Jack. His attention to her younger sister Millie being the once thing she fell most in love with him for. Ladies, is a man pays undue attention to your younger sister, it probably isn’t a good thing. His attention though at first seems so thoughtful and loving soon reveals itself as a way of controlling her. Then the big reveal into his dark and violent nature. Through it all she plays her part as the dutiful and loving wife.

But Grace isn’t the scared little girl that Jack thinks she is. No Grace is plotting and waiting for the moment to act. This too rings false. There was ample opportunity to reveal who Jack was, even with his threats of harming her family, her fake friends didn’t believe that Jack was all that good anyway and they probably would have loved the chance to expose him and bring down the facade of the perfect couple.

The little sister Millie is a terrific character. How she quickly sees through Jack and plots with Grace to get rid of him.

There are some really good characters here. Jack is truly disturbing and Millie heroic. Grace goes through so many phases that the one that finally emerges is a relief and a joy. But the situations that keep her in check just don’t ring true. Even then, the characters drive this novel and make it very much worth the reading.

A good, good read.

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