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ARC Review: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

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The 2016 debut bloggers can't stop raving about. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Ice Twins.

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.


Behind Closed Doors was one of those books that left me on the fence. I liked it well enough but it didn’t quite live up to the hype or my expectations. There were a couple of reasons for this. The main one being Jack Angel. This character held a ton of potential but, when all was said and done, his “insanity” was mild in contrast to another sociopath I’ve just finished reading. Jack’s definitely crazy, don’t get me wrong, and BCD is a dismal story of mental and emotional torture; however, it didn't move me as it should have. I didn't walk away feeling overly disturbed or wanting to find the nearest bathroom. Instead, I walked away wishing overall that Jack and the plot had a grittier edge to it.

Maybe if I had read this book before, My Girl, I would have felt different. But after being in the mind of an author who described in intricate and intimate details the inner workings of a deranged person’s mind, Behind Closed Doors was child's play in comparison.

Which leads me to the next issue—the lack of depth and detail. Jack Angel fed off of fear or so readers were told. The author never laid out any real background. No reasoning on why Jack was like this or why he needed fear to get through the day. There was no essential details describing his family or his past before Grace. Nothing to give us any insight as to who Jack is and why he felt the need to go to such lengths. Nothing to describe what drove his mentality. Without this, Jack’s unhinged personality and needs only flirted on the fringe of darkness, coming off as a case of entitlement instead of someone who was complex and psychologically demented.

Which then lead into the next issue—where was the suspense? The author would reel us in, building up a scene, and then she would fade to black on anything remotely graphic in nature. I never once felt fear for Grace. Sadness yes, fear no. I wanted to feel Grace’s fear, not be told about it. I wanted to feel as though I was in those rooms with her, going through those emotions and moments as well. I wanted an edge of my seat read. I wanted twists I didn’t see coming. Readers will know from the get go where this story is going. You won't be shocked by anything. 

And lastly, there were still one too many unanswered questions that led to a very abrupt ending. BCD just stopped. I’ve no idea if this is to be a standalone or a series. With the way it just ended, I felt like I should’ve been jumping into book two. 

On a more positive note, the characters and plot were intriguing. BCD was a fast paced read that held my attention through the wee hours. For a debut novel, the writing was addicting. With just a bit more nitty-gritty this could have easily been a five star read.

Thank you, St. Martin's Press, for the complimentary copy of Behind Closed Doors.
 


B.A. PARIS grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. Behind Closed Doors is her first novel.

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