Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 9, 2016
My Rating: 🍪🍪.5
I had a lot of free time when I was reading this book. For that reason, I flew through it, which made me falsely believe, at first, that I loved it. However. After a little internal reflection, I realized that I think I really just kind of missed reading thrillers. I’ve been trying to branch out more in my genre selection this year, so it’s been a minute since I read one of my classic picks (honestly not much more than a minute, but it feels like a long time to me). I recently read my first B.A. Paris book, and although that was a flop for me, I thought I’d give her a second chance. My main issue with this book, was that it felt forced, like the classic tropes of the genre were being hammered into my brain. The perfect husband? Who wants his wife to marry him quickly and then stop working and give up everything she loves? Who manipulates her friends and family until they truly believe she no longer cares about them? This is the story of Grace and Jack. And a thousand other domestic thriller couples.
Despite this somewhat scathing introduction, the story was well written. I was sucked in, and couldn’t wait to see how Grace ultimately triumphed as I knew she would based on the predictability of this plotline. I liked the classic approach to a domestic thriller, and the addition of Grace’s sister, Millie, added an interesting twist. Millie has Down’s Syndrome, and is ultimately the one who Jack is after. He hopes that by pretending to be doting friends to Millie, he and Grace will ultimately obtain custody of her when she turns 18 and he will thus have someone he can wholly control. I’m not sure how you get into such a twisted mindset, but Paris writes it with sickening clarity.
I also appreciated how everything tied together in this book. When we initially meet the couple as they host a dinner party, we know that Grace is acting peculiar, but it’s hard to tell why. Why does everything need to be perfectly cooked? Why does her husband dote over the painting she created that is hung on their wall? Why does she need to finish all the food on her plate? Each detail comes back later, as Grace walks us through the depth of Jack’s abuse, and the ways she has tried to either fight, or acquiesce to him.
Although there wasn’t really much action in this book, I liked the way it slowly built on itself, offering the reader more and more insight into Grace and Jack’s relationship. It is first depicted as the fairytale Grace believe it is, and then we delve deeper and deeper into just how manipulative and terrifying Jack really is.
All in all, I would not recommend this book, but it was a decent thriller. The depth and detail was well written, but it was predictable, and not terribly unique to the genre. Read it if you feel like it, but don’t rush out to buy it. Maybe instead, use your reading time to bake a cake, like this crowd-pleasing Insane Peanut Butter Cup Cake. It may be time intensive, but it will never disappoint.