cover image The Breakdown

The Breakdown

B.A. Paris. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-12246-9

British author Paris follows her bestselling debut, 2016’s Behind Closed Doors, with another first-rate psychological thriller. When school teacher Cass Anderson, who lives in the English hamlet of Nook’s Corner, leaves a party during a heavy rain, she decides, against her husband’s advice, to take a shortcut home on a dangerous lane through dark woods. She’s almost through when she sees a car stopped on the road with a woman behind the wheel. She stops, but when the woman doesn’t get out, Cass drives away. Later, she learns the woman has been murdered and that she was Jane Walters, a young mother whom Cass recently befriended. Wracked with guilt that she didn’t do more, Cass also worries about her sanity. Her mother has early-onset dementia and lately has been forgetting major things, like signing a contract and inviting guests for a barbecue, and Cass worries the same thing could be happening to her. Tension quickly builds to a crescendo as Cass’s fears about her mental state—and those mysterious phone calls that may be from the killer—become palpable. 300,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Camilla Wray, Darley Anderson Agency (U.K.). (July)