Cheri Reviews The Breakdown by B. A. Paris

I enjoyed Behind Closed Doors quite a bit so when I saw the author had a new novel coming out, I immediately put in my request with NetGalley. Then, as always seems to happen, other things got in the way and I ended up listening to the audio book after publication. Yes, I know how ARCs are supposed to work… But on the bright side, I can say that the narrator did a great job. So there’s that.

I expected The Breakdown to be pretty much the same sort of book as Paris’s first but I was mistaken. Instead, it reminded me a lot of The Girl on the Train, which I also liked. I know. I hated every new thriller being compared to TGotT but this one really did have me thinking of it while reading. A murder and a woman trying to figure out what the hell is going on but can’t remember everything and doesn’t know who to trust. Not exactly the same but some of the same feel.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

The story is told from Cass’s POV and Paris did a great job of really getting me into her head. There’s lots of information about what makes this character tick without big info dumps. Although there is a good chunk toward the end where some nastiness is laid out that definitely felt like dumping and I was disappointed with the way it was all put out there. I get why but it put an end to the action of the story for a while as I got caught up with what had been happening behind the scenes.

I nearly forgot to mention that I was very frustrated toward the middle of the book by the number of times Cass would fret and worry about whether she should tell various people what she knows or suspects but, ultimately doesn’t. There were a few times when I yelled at the narrator to either do it or just shut up about it. It was too much.

As far as what was going on plot-wise, I had most of that figured out early on. There were, of course, some red herrings that made me second-guess myself but, for the most part, I was in there. The very end, however, I didn’t get right and was happily surprised. I won’t give anything away but I was pleased with the way the book ended and had a big smile on my face.

So that’s two for two. Both Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown go on my “yep, I recommend it” list and I eagerly await whatever comes next from the author.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this one.

You can download a sample or purchase a copy of The Breakdown by clicking here.

Cheri Reviews The Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton

I found out about this book from the Daily Deal email I get from Audible. I read the blurb, saw the star rating was pretty good, listened to a sample, and dropped my $2.95.

Agatha Raisin, an advertising professional who has taken an early retirement and moves to the country, decides to enter a local baking competition. She figures she’ll make some friends and get a little notoriety when she wins. She’s pretty sure she’ll win since she cheats by purchasing her quiche from a well-known quichery in London. Unfortunately, someone dies after eating it. Who the murderer was isn’t too tough to figure out – and the author doesn’t really try to hide it – but figuring out how it was done is main point of the book. That and laying the foundation for a series.

I was pretty quickly engaged and found the various characters inhabiting the small village in the Cotswolds great fun to get to know. I loved the secondary characters, even the most snooty of them. I laughed out loud several times. The narrator did a fantastic job of bringing them to life. I can certainly see how the series could become addictive. The humor and the personalities of the residents alone make me want to read the next one right away.

The only thing that really pulled me out of the story is the way the POV style changed. For probably the first half of the book, we’re getting Agatha’s POV in a third person but that eventually changes to more of an omnipotent POV. First it’s just Agatha, then it was Agatha and whomever was in the scene with her, and toward the end, characters not in a scene with her were featured. I found it distracting but it may not be something that other folks even recognize.

All in all, it was a fun read and I’m likely to eventually read the next in the series. And try to find the TV movie that was made based on The Quiche of Death.

You can download a sample or purchase a copy of The Quiche of Death by clicking here.

Cheri Reviews Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

I first heard about Still Missing from a really good friend who heard about it from a good friend of hers who was turned on to it by a good friend of hers. I know the friends in question but not really much about their tastes in reading material. But my really good friend had just started reading it and we enjoy reading things together so I was in! Here’s the Amazon blurb:

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

Still Missing is that rare debut find–a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.

I thought most of the book was fantastic. Truly great. My friend and I would only have to type a word or two and immediately know what scene was being mentioned. We were both thrilled with how well the suspenseful and emotional scenes were written. Yeah, Annie’s voice when directly addressing the “Doc” got old very quickly but everything else about her descriptions of her abduction and what happened afterward felt authentic and drew me in. I couldn’t stop reading.

Unfortunately, once the mystery of who The Freak was and how he came to find Annie started unfolding, I had a hard time not putting the book away. Instead, I spent the last couple of hours of reading time highlighting some of the most ridiculous passages, rolling my eyes, grimacing, and uttering things that sounded like “ugh.”

I SO wanted to love the book from start to finish. The author did a great job of keeping me on the edge of my seat with well constructed, suspenseful scenes and made me cry several times while describing some of the most heartbreaking things a woman could experience. But the unfolding of the reasons behind the abduction just killed it for me. There were still some good scenes toward the end but I was pretty well disgusted by then. Maybe disgusted is too strong. Disappointed would probably be a better word.

Knowing that this is her debut novel does help and I rated it 3 stars over on Goodreads. I’m pretty sure I’ll read her second book and hope that Ms. Stevens came up with a story that will be more satisfying to me. Because, really, the woman can write some suspense and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to laying on the pain, fear, and anguish.

I have to say that while there are some plot issues, there are parts of this book that won’t leave me. The author created a couple of characters who felt incredibly real to me and she wrote scenes that were so clear in my head, I felt like I was standing in the same room. I’m certain that I’ll keep revisiting Annie and The Freak and the cabin in my head for awhile. If you think you can just grin and bear the unbelievable bits toward the end of the book, and you like this genre, you will still get some serious enjoyment out of the experience.

You can download a sample or purchase Still Missing by clicking here..