My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Rating: ⋆⋆ ½ / ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press, who provided this copy of B.A. Parish’s THE BREAKDOWN in exchange for an honest review.
“If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?”
Cass, the main character in this story, is driving home from a friend’s when she decides to take a shortcut through the woods, which her husband, Matthew, has told her not to do. A storm has come in, making the shortcut especially dangerous, but she continues. Driving through the downpour, Cass sees a car parked on the side of the road with a single woman sitting inside. As she passes the car, Cass decides to stop and see if the she needs help and pulls over a little ahead of the car. Because of the downpour, Cass is reluctant to get out. She figures the woman would give some signal to Cass if she did need help and convinces herself to leave without rendering assistance. The next morning Cass finds out there was a murder; in the woods; on the very road she traveled on late the night before. The road Matthew told her not to take. Cass lies to Matthew and doesn’t tell him she took this route home. Here lies the crux of the story. One little lie.
After that night, Cass is tormented by guilt, that she might have been able to save the woman. Cass can’t stop thinking about the murder and starts feeling like she is being watched. Then the silent calls start, making Cass more paranoid. That perhaps the killer had seen her that night. As the investigation runs cold, the police ask for help from the public. Cass is torn as to call them or not. If she does, Matthew will find out she lied to him. If she doesn’t, the police won’t be able to narrow down the victim’s time of death. The weeks following the murder, Cass starts forgetting every little thing; where she left the car; if she took her pills; even the alarm code.
From the start, I could see why Cass wouldn’t tell Matthew about taking this shortcut to her house. But after a few chapters, I could not understand why she just didn’t tell him! It would have solved so many problems before they got started. Even if Matthew had gotten angry at her, it would have been less painful than not telling him. I felt this part of the story was unrealistic since the lie wasn’t that big of a lie (e.g. if Cass was the murderer, then yes, I could understand not telling Matthew.), and the decisions Cass made frustrated me. I found the first part of the book unnecessary and tedious. I felt that the majority of this book was spent dealing with this one little lie and the consequences Cass has to deal with because of it. I liked the main plot, which was revealed at the end, but felt that the conclusion was rushed and the confession given up too easily. This could have been a good story but it was poorly executed.