Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris was another one of those books that you just can’t put down. In the same vein as The Couple Next Door, another domestic thriller I read earlier this summer (review here), Behind Closed Doors reveals the reality that those “perfect couples” we all know are not always as perfect as they seem.
To the outsider, Jack and Grace are the perfect couple. He’s an attorney who defends battered women, she’s a stay-at-home wife who loves gardening and cooking. She’s elegant, he’s handsome, and they’re madly in love. In fact, they’re never apart. And soon, Grace’s sister, who has down syndrome, will come to live with them, seemingly adding to Jack’s charm and generosity.
The tension builds page-by-page as the reader uncovers layers of the relationship between Jack and Grace. Why is she planning on canceling plans a week before they’ve arrived? Why does she never answer the phone? And WHY the heck are there bars on the windows??
This was such a fast-paced and unputdownable read. I’ve been hitting the jackpot with thrillers this year. This book really stood out to me because the plot is so unique from any other that I’ve read. Unlike a lot of thrillers that will shock you with gore and stark acts of cruelty, Paris paints a carefully drawn picture of subtlety and tension.
As you turn each page, the image of the perfect marriage Jack and Grace have carefully built is chipped away at piece by piece. The reveals are shocking, but don’t come all at once, giving the reader time to try to uncover the ending for herself. In fact, I wondered if the ending would do justice to the story, but I was completely satisfied with how we were left.
For how quick this novel reads, I thought Paris did a great job of creating the characters. The reader really gets to sit inside Grace’s head, feeling the panic build as you realize how desperate her situation is. I would have loved further insight into Jack’s past and the steps he took in executing his perfect plan, but I don’t think the book is lacking because of it.
If you love psychological or domestic thrillers, you will absolutely love this. I think “unputdownable” is sometimes overused in book reviewing (guilty), but this one truly was for me. If I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it or talking about it to my friends.
The only reason I gave this book less than a 5 star review, is because of some very minor animal cruelty. Truthfully, I just skipped over those two pages, and it was fine. But, I’m a firm believer that you need to be prepared for these things if you are the type of animal/dog lover that I am. (See this article from Book Riot)