Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (A Review)

And another bites the dust (just kidding because I really enjoyed this one!). I know, I know, another mystery…what is wrong with me?! I’m kind of on a bit of a mystery-streak right now but thats okay, they’re great. I started and finished Behind Closed Doors, by B.A. Paris, yesterday in two sittings. I have to give a little shoutout to my sister-in-law and mother for giving me yet another book I thoroughly enjoyed and obviously couldn’t put down. It gave my Easter weekend the perfect ending touch of staying up late, reading my book, and eating all the little chocolate eggs that were leftover (not even sorry).

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I think one of the coolest things about this read was that Mary Kubica, the author of my last book review, was quoted on the cover of the book. She calls it “a hair-raising debut, both unsettling and addictive. A chilling thriller that will keep you reading long into the night,” and that it did.

So here goes, Behind Closed Doors, the perfect marriage or the perfect lie?

From the outside everything seems perfect, but from the inside nothing is (cliché I know right?). Grace and Jack are the “it” couple, newlyweds and having everything they could ever need; a fancy house, amazing car, and the idea that they both are just madly in love with each other. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Grace Angel has lived a hard life–feeling distant from her parents who outright told her they never wanted children, to finally getting a little sister of her own, Millie, who is born with Down Syndrome. She begins to care for the child, noting an 18 year difference between the two, only to turn 32 and have her the serious relationship of her adult life end. Now she’s single, selfless, and simply caring for Millie on Sundays. Thats when Jack, the handsome bachelor that every woman lusts after, meets Grace and begins what only can be considered the greatest love story of them all. They soon marry, but before Grace can even set out for their honeymoon, her entire life is turned upside down. Jack isn’t who she thought he was, and he has a lot more planned for the “happy couple” than Grace could have ever imagined.

Although the mystery of the book seems to have been done before, I mean aren’t all mysteries the same in that way?, there was something different in how this one was written. I could see that their life wasn’t perfect, as is with every other mystery ever written (The Girl on the Train, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Good Girl–do I have a thing for books with the word “girl” in the title?). But the desperation of the story was–I felt myself constantly at the edge of my seat, wondering what was possibly going to happen, and just pushing for the good guys to win in the end. I needed to see it happen, thats why I finished the book in three hours!

Maybe its because I’ve been deprived of reading lately or maybe its because I genuinely thought the storyline was gripping–B.A. Paris does a great job transitioning throughout time during the story. She gives just enough information for you to question a couple things but never really consider it after that (much like Jack and Grace’s relationship). I was constantly looking for clues that meant something in the various chapters, but Paris does a nice job of keeping the mystery a mystery. I had noticed obvious things without realizing what they meant at first (the wedding incident with Millie, Jack noting the “red” bedroom, and Esther’s importance), but there others thing I had not caught onto at all (I’ll leave that for you to find out).

I liked the adventure in the story (should I call it that?). There was this sense of urgency that Grace had to do what she had to do, and she had to do it now. The timeline was the greatest weapon Paris brought into play, because it was constantly changing, so the rules of the game Jack played were changing as well. It seemed like Grace’s defeat after defeat made a happy ending hopeless (which I wouldn’t mind), but I wanted to see this guy get what he deserved. I wanted justice. As situations arose between Thailand and England, I just didn’t see how Jack would get away with some things, but he did! There were a lot of loopholes Paris found for her character to do what he sought out to do without getting caught, and I couldn’t question the choices he made. They seemed rock solid in what they stood for, unfortunately for Grace. Paris was thoughtful in her plot, something not all authors are when it comes to mysteries, so nice job there!

Although there are some questions I still have for Paris that seem unanswered, I will try not to give too much away by asking them:

  • Why did Jack want Millie so bad? For sympathy from others? For power over both of them? For the game of it all? If he already had Grace, what was the point?
  • Why did you decide that Jack wouldn’t physically hurt Grace like he did his mother?  What it so their appearances weren’t flawed (even though she was emaciated?)?
  • And why does Molly have to die? I mean I know its to show how far Jack will go, but that made me so sad.

I have to say that Paris does an amazing job with this story, tying up all the loose ends by the finish and leaving the reader feeling relieved. I thoroughly liked Paris’ writing style and the little details she gives without putting too much emphasis on how important they are. Soon enough, it seems like every little thing matters. She is a fast-paced, simple writer who knows how to keep the reader engaged. This is a story you can read in a few days, or a few hours, and be happy you picked it up in the first place. I’ll look out for her other books in the meantime, but feel like I need to get away from mysteries for awhile. I would rate this a 4 out of 5 stars, as it kept me entertained, chilled, and frantic (in the best way possible).

Here’s to summer quickly approaching and only 15 more school days (if I go haha!).

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