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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Much-Hyped Psychological Thriller Compelling, But Hardly 'Amazing' or 'Brilliant'

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Newlyweds Jack and Grace Angel have what looks like the perfect marriage.  Their luxurious Spring Eaton home is one of the finest in Surrey.  Wealthy, successful, and beautiful, they're the perfect couple.  Except that their gleaming facade is a gilded lie.  Jack is a sadistic psychopath, Grace his terrified prisoner.  Desperate to save her sister—a 17-year-old with Down Syndrome—from Jack's clutches, Grace must find a way to break free.  But, how can she escape her personal Fort Knox?  Will anyone believe her incredible claims about her refined lawyer husband?  How can she save her sister when she can't even protect herself?

Behind Closed Doors, a debut novel by B.A. Paris, has been touted as "2016's Answer to Gone Girl" (Women's Health), a chilling psychological thriller that is "Amazing!", "Brilliant!", and "Unputdownable!"  I agree that it's compelling; I had to keep reading just to find out how it would end.  But amazing and brilliant?  Meh.  Not only does the plot lack depth and complexity, but it also gets a little absurd.  Far-fetched.  I prefer my psychological thrillers to take a subtler approach, surprising me with clever twists.  Behind Closed Doors does not do this.  The story is engrossing, there's no denying that.  It's just not very original or satisfying overall.  For me, it didn't live up to the hype it's been receiving.  Not at all.  Bummer, that.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs); violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of Behind Closed Doors from the generous folks at St. Martin's Press.  Thank you!


  1. The funny thing is, I think Gone Girl and Girl on a Train were nothing special. This one wasn't mind blowing or anything but I was totally engrossed.

    1. Both GONE GIRL and GIRL ON A TRAIN had twists I didn't see coming (granted, I'm super gullible). BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was just too straightforward - no complexity, no twists, no subtlety. It kept me reading, but in the end, it wasn't satisfying for me. At all.

  2. Susan, it is amazing how different we are as bloggers even when we have similar interest. I wasn't a fan of Gone Girl and no interest in reading The Girl on the Train but I did really enjoy Behind Closed Doors, giving it a 4 1/2 stars. The intensity throughout I thought amazing and it would be memorable for me so as a debut definitely gets point for me. I chose it for book club and can't wait to discuss on Tuesday.

    Happy Holidays

    1. Right? That's probably what I love most about the book blogosphere - how varied people's opinions are, even when they both like the same kinds of books.

      Happy Holidays to you, too!

  3. I hated this book, n o t well written with flat characters.

    1. I didn't HATE it, but I didn't LIKE it either. I agree on both the characters and the prose in general.

  4. I enjoyed this one. I was pretty hooked on it but I agree the praise for it was a bit much.


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