The Breakdown starts as we watch Cass drive down a deserted road through the middle of the woods. Her husband advised her not to, but it's quicker and there's a storm. Driving along the road, she runs into a car pulled off to the side and wonders if the driver is broken down or needs some help. She pulls over in case the driver wants to get out and run over (she's heard too many stories of women getting out to help and getting sabotaged), but they never do. Uneasy and anxious to be home, she drives away.
The next morning, Cass wakes up to hear the news: the woman in the car on the side of the road is dead. Filled with guilt over whether she could have prevented the murder, she sets out for answers. Only this isn't so easy when she can't even trust her own memory.
With this novel, B.A. Paris took a different approach than what she did for Behind Closed Doors (review here). The tension Paris created in Behind Closed Doors was expertly done - oftentimes leaving me breathless. The storyline in The Breakdown is a little less intense, but that isn't a bad thing. Throughout the novel, there is a continual building of suspense and distrust of each character. As Cass questions her memories, I found myself questioning my own judgement and predictions. She is an unreliable narrator in it's truest form. It's exhausting to witness the way in which she questions her own actions, unable to remember huge chunks of time - but exhausting in a good way, if that's possible.
This is the type of novel you will breeze through in one sitting. The pacing is fast and the chapters are short, propelling you forward at an unstoppable speed. If you're looking for a addictive psychological thriller for the beach, look no further!