Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

If you read this thriller, I’m warning you – you’ll want to put the rest of your life on holdbehind until you reach the last page!

Grace seems to have the perfect husband and the ideal life.  Most people who visit their home to enjoy her gourmet meals are amazed and jealous.  Grace’s husband, Jack, is movie-star handsome.  As an attorney who represents battered wives, he’s never – ever – lost a case.  Jack is not only accepting of Grace’s beloved younger sister, Millie, who has Down’s syndrome, but is eagerly looking forward to her coming to live with them.  Jack and Grace seem inseparable.

However, behind closed doors, Grace’s life is not what it seems to be.

Behind Closed Doors is the author’s first novel.  I have not yet read her recent thriller, The Breakdown.

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

Jodi and Todd have been together for twenty years.  They met when he ran into her movingsilent wife van, and Todd’s life has been a series of collisions ever since – mainly with other women.

Jodi largely turns a blind eye to Todd’s affairs.  Due to his expanding renovation business, they live in a stylish condominium in Chicago, where Jodi is quite happy to hold court as household diva and still manage a small caseload of clients as a psychologist.

It is an ordered and protected world that Jodi inhabits, and she’s fine with Todd’s transgressions so long as he’s home for dinner and makes the mortgage.

It’s the last affair that Todd has that threatens Jodi’s carefully balanced existence – and it will mess up his own life until the bitter end.  Maybe Todd should have thought more about Jodi…

The Silent Wife is a quiet exploration of affluent “normalcy” and what it takes to destroy it.  The book lacks the shock value of Gone Girl, to which it’s been compared, but give it a chance.  More a psychological simmer than a sensational thriller, The Silent Wife will catch you quickly enough, and the ending will surprise.

The book also continues a trend of fiction in which the main characters are not likeable.  The read is worth it – you’ll find out, drawn out through the novel, what makes Jodi and Todd tick, or not.  Denial is part of the game.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

After all the hype this book has generated, it seems redundant to say anything about it, but I finally read it and therefore, I’llgone girl review it.

As for its status as a page turner, Gone Girl does not disappoint.  Amy and Nick Dunne are a charmed (seemingly) thirty-something couple who lose their jobs after the recession hits and move back to Nick’s home state of Missouri from New York City.  Nick is happier; he’s back in familiar territory, and opens a bar with his twin sister and Amy’s remaining money.  Amy is not so happy.

On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears, and life gets exceedingly complicated for Nick.  He’s a prime suspect, and each newly found clue points ever more definitely to foul play on his part.  Sounds typical for a murder yarn?  Not for long.

The narrative veers back and forth between Nick’s account and Amy’s previous diaries, setting up a scenario of a relationship fraught with doubt and possible violence.  After a time, it becomes hard to choose whose story is believable, but equally hard to put the book down.

Gillian Flynn has a talent for exploring the darker sides of human psychology.  As such, her characters are damaged people, likely to be unsavory and unlikable at times.  It was a relief to finish the book because of this.  Gone Girl is not a feel-good type of novel. 

I do have to hand it to Flynn for having the nerve to create these characters.  Perhaps one of the main functions of literature is to unsettle the reader, to allow them views of others’ inner demons, and to walk away from a reading session dazed and confused.  For this, Gone Girl succeeds.

(William Hicks, Information Services)