Monday 7 November 2016

Review ~ Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris

Book Description:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

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Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4 stars

“Had it all been a facade, had he covered his true self with a cloak of geniality and good humour to impress me?”

I have just read two psychological thrillers on the bounce as my thirst for something mentally taxing and suspenseful overran my usual penchant for tear jerkers or romance. For a debut novel, this was a great read. Not gory, blood thirsty or overly dramatic but more a workout for the grey matter. This was a book that makes you read between the lines as you try to imagine just what does actually go on behind closed doors.

At first glances, Jack and Grace Angel are the ideal perfect couple. The people that know them want to emulate them, they are jealous of how in love they are, the house they have and the life they perceive to lead, but we all know that appearances can be extremely deceptive. Told from Grace’s point of view with flashbacks to past and present, BA Paris cleverly weaves the sorry tale of the Angel’s and one psychopathic husband.

“‘Fear,’ he whispered. ‘There is nothing quite like it. I love how it looks, I love how it feels, I love how it smells. And I especially love the sound of it.’ I felt his tongue on my cheek. ‘I even love the taste of it.’”

Jack is a forty-year-old, highly successful lawyer, who is the front runner in domestic abuse cases. He battles for the battered women and has never lost a case…he even has a job that makes you want to love him…add into the mix he is drop dead gorgeous and Grace never really stood a chance. Grace is a thirty-two-year-old successful buyer for Harrods that has lived her life for one person and one person only, her sister Millie who is seventeen and has downs syndrome. Millie boards at a special school and Grace works all the hours to provide for that schooling. She is biding her time until Millie turns eighteen when she can finally come to live with her.

Grace and Millie meet Jack on one of their frequent visits to the park, as Millie is dancing on her own with her arms around an imaginary dancing partner, Jack does the unthinkable and dances with her…cue heart melting into a pile of mushy goo. This is exactly what happened to Grace…cue whirlwind courtship and marriage with Jack promising to provide everything for Millie if Grace gives up work and becomes his wife as Jack is tired of coming home to an empty house and bed…this is where you wonder where the hell Jack Angel went.

“He prides himself on uttering only the truth, and enjoys that I am the only one who understands the meaning behind his words.”

As I said above, this is a book that makes you think, I was constantly second guessing Grace trying to think of ways I could get out of her situation but actually when you sat back and thought about it, you really couldn’t. Jack was one clever son of a bitch, being a lawyer he was intelligent and also has seen and witnessed a lot of crap, but he was meticulous in everything, was one step ahead of everybody and had managed to create the perfect illusion. Jack was conniving, inherently evil and the master manipulator, he was mentally depraved and yet still managed to cast the perfect veneer over his evil cravings…he was the devil in disguise and had one huge trump card that he constantly dangled over Grace’s head…Millie. The things we do for love…

“I hold my hands out in front of me and the shaking that I can’t control tells me what I’ve only just begun to realise but what Jack has known all along—that fear is the best deterrent of all.”

While the flashbacks to past and present worked, I personally felt that this could also have worked in chronological order and may have actually flowed a little better…there is only a little over a year covering the whole book so the time lapse wasn’t that great. My need for the present was greater than for the past, but the little snippets that we got from those past chapters only intensified the need to keep page turning as little by little the real Jack Angel stood up. The brief look we got into his past was jaw dropping and while it went some way in trying to justify the man he was, really it was just the match that started the raging fire that must have already been on a slow burn, because one instance did not maketh the man that Jack Angel became.

“In her mind, where the line between fact and fiction is often blurred, murder is simply a solution to a problem.”

The ending, while predictable was delivered in style if not a little rushed, however, the last two lines summed up this book perfectly and delivered one hell of an emotional impact which really brought together the whole plot line. This was extremely clever and left me giving the author a clap and a mental high five. What is it with red rooms…? 

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