As a woman driving alone on a country road at night, Cass isn’t that inclined to get out of her car when she passes what appears to be a motorist with engine trouble. It’s pouring buckets, and Cass’s cottage is not far away. Finding out the next day that a woman was murdered is a huge shock, more so when the driver is identified and Cass realizes that she knew the victim.
On a long holiday from work, Cass hopes that she can bring her life into focus. Recently wondering if she is going to go the same way as her mother and experience early onset dementia, Cass has been suffering increasing occurrences of memory loss. The smaller events such as misplacing her bag and phone could be brushed off as the meanderings of a distracted mind but ordering items online such as a pram (when she and her husband are not expecting) is evidence to Cass that her slippage is a symptom of something more serious. The silent phone caller is now ringing the cottage landline every day and the feeling that someone has been entering her house increases Cass’s paranoia – perhaps it is someone that knows Cass could have stopped the murder. That if Cass had only gotten out of her car, a woman’s life might have been saved.
There is only a small cast in THE BREAKDOWN so our suspicious eyes are trained on characters that don’t have anywhere to hide; they are all close to Cass’s life and are becoming increasingly aware that her life is in disarray. Cass becomes more hemmed in by her memory glitches and is desperate to regain control of a life that is being puppet mastered by someone who must be close to her. THE BREAKDOWN is a very suspenseful read, tempered with periods of time where you alternately feel desperately sorry for Cass in her struggles, or frustrated with her as she seems to be going around in circles.
Like this author’s first sleeper hit, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, THE BREAKDOWN very much narrows the focus to one female character who is struggling without support and is the only one who can save herself. The everywoman leads are frighteningly relatable; we all know someone like them, or have experienced something similar. Compulsive, entertaining and tense reading from an author to watch.