BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. (2016) A NOVEL BY B.A. PARIS. PUBLISHED BY HARLEQUIN MIRA, AN IMPRINT OF HARPER COLLINS PUBLISHERS.
BOOK REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?
Jack, handsome, dedicated lawyer, loving husband.
Grace, elegant, consummate housewife, prisoner…
I had great hopes for this one, a domestic thriller set in England about a marriage gone badly wrong. I expected the cracks to show slowly, barely perceptibly at first, then to start widening and popping up all over the place. I expected the wife to come to a gradual realisation that the man she’d married had feet of clay, but no.
Jack Angel, rich and handsome top lawyer who makes it his business to defend battered wives from their horrible husbands, announces to Grace once they reach Thailand, their honeymoon destination, that her dream is over and her nightmare is only just beginning.
He was never looking for a wife, this evil disturbed man, only ever a prisoner whom he could emotionally abuse and whose fear would be a turn-on for him. Not only that, though, as if all that wasn’t bad enough on its own, but Jack makes it abundantly clear that it’s Grace’s teenage Down’s Syndrome sister Millie that he’s really gunning for.
When Millie turns eighteen and leaves the school where she’s been boarding happily for years, the plan is for her to come and live with her beloved sister Grace (their selfish parents have buggered off to New Zealand to live their own lives) and Grace’s wonderful new husband Jack. Jack’s even preparing a special bedroom for Millie, but it’s not the one she’s been dreaming of…
I don’t mind thrillers about frightened wives and abusive husbands (in fact, I normally love them), but this one almost goes too far, it stretches belief. Okay, if you tell me that a guy as sick and twisted as Jack Angel really exists, I suppose I’d have to concede that, yes, there are some pretty evil people in the world. But do I find Jack believable as a character? That’s the bit I have trouble with.
I probably had trouble believing that someone would really be prepared to devote so much time and energy to being evil as Jack does. Doesn’t he know that there are bound to be repercussions at some point? He couldn’t keep the two women prisoner forever without someone somewhere becoming suspicious, someone from Millie’s school, for instance.
And I didn’t like all the references to starvation and dehydration, two very horrible processes indeed that hopefully none of us will ever have to suffer in our lives, but they’re two of the things a prisoner has to worry about happening to them, say, if something happens to their jailer and no-one else in the world has a clue about their whereabouts. I also really hated what happened to poor little Molly the dog. Animal abuse is nearly harder to read about than the abuse of a human being.
I guess I just didn’t care much for this book, with the evil Jack as the villain who’s just too bad to be true and the theme of keeping a woman (and her differently abled sister) as your prisoner rather than as your beloved wife. It all gets a bit harrowing in places and, dare I say again, a bit unbelievable. It’s well written and everything and I suppose you could say that it’s well plotted also, but the plot has a few holes in it as far as I’m concerned. That’s about it, really…!
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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