Writers Abroad Magazine 6 May 2017 - Page 43

WRITERS ABROAD MAGAZINE: THE THIRD SPACE BOOK REVIEWS The Breakdown, psychological thriller by B. A. Paris Reviewed by ANGELA WILLIAMS A howling storm is blowing and Cass Anderson has to drive home along a deserted back road through a wood at night. She sees a woman in a stationary car, stops briefly sensing something is not right, but fearing for her own safety drives on. Next day she discovers that the woman in the car has been brutally murdered and from then on Cass is plagued by guilt. Persistent, silent phone calls and bouts of memory loss blight the young teacher's hitherto rosy existence as her life begins to unravel. A gripping premise gets the book off to a rattling start, hooking the reader in. I identified with Cass, wondering how I would have reacted in a similar situation. If you enjoy the unreliable protagonist sub-genre, as epitomised by Gone Girl and Girl on a Train then you will find this a compelling read. The linear story told in the present tense from Cass's point of view gives the novel a visceral immediacy as you ride shotgun on the central character's emotional roller coaster. The pace isn't slowed down by having to leaf back and think who, what, when, why? So it's a great book to read in just a few sittings or when one is reading in an environment with distractions. On the other hand I did miss the challenge of the corkscrew plot twists in, Gone Girl and the complexity of multiple points of view in, Girl on a Train. Genre aficionados may see the denouement coming. The Breakdown is very firmly set in the English countryside (loved this aspect) in an isolated house which Cass and her husband Matthew have recently moved to. The contrast of the undercurrents of threat and betrayal in an idealised setting in provincial England made this novel both comforting and disquieting to read. Available from Amazon The World of Suzie Wong by Richard Mason Reviewed by LAURA BESLEY This book caused more than a few ripples when it was released in 1957. Reading it 60 years later, I can see why. It reads more like a memoir than a work of fiction which possibly fueled the strong opposition against it. Robert, an English painter, unknowingly takes up residency in a hotel which doubles up as a brothel. He befriends the women working there, but has a particular fondness for Suzie Wong, a woman he met on the star ferry before he moved in. 42 | MAY 2017