Now it’s winter time, I’ve really enjoyed reading again. In the Summer, I find I only have time to read when I’m on holiday, it tends to get in the way of drinking gin at the pub otherwise. But now I love staying in to stare at our beautiful Christmas tree, curl up under the blanket on the sofa and read a great book. My favourite genre is crime/ thriller. I just find them so exciting and easy to immerse yourself in. I think I enjoy them because they are so far from the set books I had at uni and I still get enjoyment out of them. I read so many crap books at uni, that it has taken me a long time to find that passion for reading again.
A couple of weeks ago I had to go to London for work and I forgot to take the book I was reading with me for the train journey. However, as with modern technology, I have the kindle app on my phone and there were a couple of unread books on there. Praise the Lord. I chose to start reading ‘Behind Closed Doors’. I had downloaded it a couple of years ago but fell out of love with my kindle and reading. I couldn’t even remember what the book was about!
I thought it was fantastic. One of the best books I have read this year (I’m aware I probably say that about every book I review), but I literally couldn’t put it down. I finished it in a day – this was with a full days work too. The book flickers from past to present with each chapter and there is never a jump between the two or any narrative discrepancies, as this often happens when an author attempts to write in two different tenses.
Jack Angel seems to be just that when Grace first meets him. Grace has a younger sister who has Down’s Syndrome and their parents have emigrated to New Zealand, meaning Grace is Millie’s sole carer. Grace has never managed to hold down a long term relationship because of her dedication and love for her sister – she is practically her mother. Then along came Jack. Millie was dancing the Waltz on her own in Regent Park, and Jack came along and danced with her. It’s then revealed that he had seen Grace and Millie there the previous Sunday and had wanted to introduce himself them.
The introduction of the book seems very straightforward. Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Live happily ever after. Or so Grace thought.
As a reader, you can’t help but feel heartbroken for her.
On their wedding night, Jack goes missing. Grace calls, leaves messages and hears nothing back. Millie had fallen down the stairs prior to the wedding and couldn’t attend as she had broken her leg. Grace has a sleepless night before Jack turns up in the morning so they can embark on their honeymoon to Thailand. Gone is romantic, caring, attentive, Jack. He has been replaced by a cold-hearted, impatient man who Grace doesn’t recognise. You end up shouting at the book, telling her to get out of the car there and then when he stops it. She of course doesn’t. Believing it to be a one off. Then the nightmare starts.
Jack loves instilling fear into others – that’s exactly why he wanted to marry Grace, so eventually he could have Millie to torment and have her as his little toy. Grace realises she needs to be smart to outmanoeuvre the monster she has married. Although he never harms Grace physically, Jack holds immense power over her – locking her up all day with nothing to do in her room, bringing her food sporadically. No one would believe he’s a monster; they’re like the perfect couple. Jack has no idea that Millie knows he’s a ‘bad man’ and thinks of her as useless. But she is smarter than everyone thinks and manages to get prescribed sleeping pills, which she saves up for Grace so they can get rid of Jack once and for all. Grace knows it’s not as simple as that, but with only three months to save her and Millie, Grace knows she needs to play it extremely carefully if she’s to free herself.
B. A. Paris writes a narrative that is thrilling, unexpected and fluid. There are no plot holes and it has you not wanting to put it down. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a thriller.