behind closed doors book coverReviewed by Bethany Kelly

In Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris, the reader comes face-to-face with the age old question of whether or not the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

Everyone knows that couple that seems to have the perfect marriage, right? That’s what Jack and Grace seem to have. Jack is charismatic and handsome. He always seems to know what to say to put everyone at ease. And Grace…well, she is the perfect wife. She has the perfect figure and knows how to do everything a good wife should know how to do. She is a fantastic cook, an amazing gardener, has an immaculately clean home, and dotes on her disabled younger sister.

So, what’s the issue? Jack and Grace are inseparable. Anywhere Grace is, Jack will always be. Some people call it the “honeymoon” stage, but others begin to question why she always cancels lunch dates and never answers her phone. Or why her beautiful home has security shutters on the windows…is it to keep dangerous people out? Or is it to keep Grace in?

When do all of these seemingly small things go from cute to strange? And when will someone step in to make sure that Grace and her younger sister are okay?

When I read the synopsis for this book, I had to read it! I was so excited, that when I got it, I immediately opened it. However, as I began reading, I started skimming, and then finally, I put the book down and moved on to something different. Honestly, the only reason I finished the book was for the hope that it would get better. This novel, which is written in both the past and present, had such potential! Unfortunately, there were many issues that made the novel one that I could’ve skipped reading.

Paris’ writing style is very simple…something that doesn’t bother me at all. My issue was that it didn’t keep me interested. In a thriller novel, I need to be hooked from the beginning, and there needs to be something that keeps me intrigued throughout the entirety of the novel. Unfortunately, this book didn’t do it for me.

The characters in this book were okay. They honestly felt flat to me, like maybe Paris didn’t know them very well, and that is something that – as a novelist myself – bugs me. I get that Grace was scared, but she just didn’t feel convincing. She just felt frustratingly pathetic and weak. She didn’t even try to come up with a plan to fight back, which feels completely implausible. She has absolutely no personality, even in the chapters that are written in the past time period before the emotional and mental abuse began. As for Jack, he isn’t very interesting. He is boring yet sadistic, if that makes sense. His abuse of the women – Grace and her sister, Millie (who has Down Syndrome) – didn’t even advance the plot, which is extremely frustrating. There is always some reason, something that motivates a psychopath to act the way he/she does, but that was never given in this novel.

All in all, I felt that this book – which had such potential – had no depth, no backstory whatsoever, and ultimately, no thrill. If you are looking for a psychological thriller, I definitely would not recommend this one.

Bethany Kelly is currently getting her MFA at Goddard College and has a BA in English. She is a writer, editor, and stay-at-home mother and wife who spends her spare time (when she has some) reading and cooking.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.