Monday, September 4, 2017
Book Review: 'Behind Closed Doors' by B.A. Paris
Grace Harrington feels fortunate when she meets forty-year-old Jack Angel, a successful British lawyer with "film-star good looks," who makes an excellent living seeking justice for battered wives. Jack sweeps Grace off her feet and, after a relatively brief courtship, asks her to marry him. She happily accepts. Everyone who knows this couple believes that Grace has "the perfect house, the perfect husband, the perfect life." They have no idea that, far from being pampered and overprivileged, Grace is in agony. As the months pass, the danger to her and Millie, her beloved sister who has Down syndrome, grows. As B. A. Paris demonstrates in her debut novel, "Behind Closed Doors," individuals who appear to be too good to be true generally are. Grace is, at first, thrilled to have a handsome and accomplished spouse who admires her for her devotion to Millie. How wonderful it is, thinks Grace, that Jack has agreed to welcome Millie with open arms when she eventually comes to live with them. What a sweet, wonderful, and compassionate individual Jack is.
In this tense psychological thriller, Grace learns, to her woe, that Jack is a very different person when no one else is around. Our heroine struggles to retain her sanity as she is methodically stripped of everything that she values. As the vise around her grows tighter, Grace must find a way to save herself and Millie from an unimaginable fate. Paris injects this disturbing work of fiction with dark humor and enough twists and turns to keep us mesmerized. Although this novel has formulaic elements, Paris's simple yet powerful writing style and clever use of flashbacks effectively evokes terror and despair and she paces her story perfectly. We strongly identify with Graces plight and wonder if this subjugated woman will find the strength and guile to outsmart her captor, a man so devious and cruel that he seems to be invincible.
Editor's note: This review was written by Eleanor Bukowsky and has been reposted with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.