Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Grace would rather not spend her life alone, but she's been having trouble finding the right man to share her life. Her devotion to her sister Millie, who has Down syndrome, always seems to be a deal-breaker. Then Grace meets Jack Angel. Jack, who has movie star good looks and charisma to burn, is a star attorney who represents battered women and has never lost a case.

Grace can't believe her luck. Not only is Jack crazy about her, but he loves Millie as well, and doesn't blink an eye at Grace's plan for Millie to move in with them once she turns 18 and is done at boarding school. After a whirlwind courtship, Jack and Grace marry and move into the dream house Jack built for their family, including a special bedroom just for Millie.

The Angels settle into their perfect lives and from the outside all appears well. But what if it wasn't luck that brought Jack into Grace and Millie's lives? And isn't their 'perfect' relationship just a little too 'perfect' to be believed?

Behind Closed Doors is a steam train of a psychological thriller. I can't remember the last time I wanted to stay up way past my bedtime to finish a book. If I hadn't started this one so late in the morning, I would have made it. Paris does a great job of making the pieces of this thriller fit together.

All too often, a psychological or "domestic thriller" will leave me rolling my eyes at one partner's choices or actions. While some pushing of the envelope is often necessary to keep the story moving, Paris does a good job of at least providing rationale, however warped, for her characters' actions, even when they fall in the "What the hell?" column.

STREET SENSE: Along alternating timelines, Grace and Jack's past and present unfold, winding together and building anticipation for a final confrontation. Behind Closed Doors is a riveting thriller that may keep you up into the wee hours.

A FAVORITE PASSAGE: I almost didn't pick one, as it was difficult to be non-spoilery, and this book isn't after unique or dreamy turns of phrase. Paris simply motors through in a manner that keeps you turning the pages. But I thought this one added a little something without giving much away:

I'm beginning to despair of anyone ever questioning the absolute perfectness of our lives and, whenever we are with friends, I marvel at their stupidity in believing that Jack and I never argue, that we agree about absolutely everything, that I, an intelligent thirty-two-year-old woman with no children, could be content to sit at home all day and play house.

COVER NERD SAYS: It's not just that I'm a wood nerd that makes me a fan of this cover. I love a clean image that is somewhat mysterious, and this one is that. It's simple, and yet the image along with the title can leave no doubt what this book will bring, and it brings it with gas. I also love the tag line, which is just big enough to add to the cover without being distracting. If I had to pick nits, I'm not sure why the light from the keyhole is necessary (if that's even what that flare is supposed to be). I think a dark keyhole would have been even more effective. Overall, though, this is a winner.

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About Malcolm Avenue Review

I was lucky enough to be born and raised in a nifty, oak-shaded ranch house on Malcolm Avenue, a wide-laned residential street with little through traffic, located amid the foothills of Northern California. It was on that street and in that house I learned most of my adolescent life lessons, and many grown-up ones to boot. Malcolm Avenue was "home" for more than thirty years.

It was on Malcolm Avenue, through and with my family and the other families that made up our neighborhood of characters, that I first learned about and gained an appreciation for the things I continue to love the most to this day: music, animals, photography, sports, television/movies and, of course, books.

I owe a debt of gratitude to that life on Malcolm Avenue. It gave me a sense of community and friendship, support and adventure. For better and worse, life on that street likely had the biggest impact on the person I've become. So this blog, and the things I write here, are all, at their base level, a little bit of a love letter to Malcolm Avenue.


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