Pub. Date: August 9, 2016
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!)
Summary: Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.
Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?
And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?
The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?
Genre: Contemporary, Psychological Thriller
THIS. BOOK. This book. Let’s be honest: we’re all a little wary of those hyped-up, overbuzzed books, right? The books that are hailed as the Second Coming and the Next Best Thing, the novels that will change your life. I tend to take those praises with a grain of salt (I’ve been burned way too many times) but I’ll admit I couldn’t help but be intrigued by Behind Closed Doors. For one thing, it’s a debut and I’ve been all about debuts this year. Second, Mary Kubica has a big ol’ blurb right there on the front cover and I love her books. When a copy arrived at my door one day it was all I could do not to immediately drop everything and dive right into it!
Jack and Grace are the kind of picture-perfect couple that the neighbors all secretly envy. Still newlyweds (their anniversary having just passed last week), this pair is nothing but stolen glances and secret smiles. Jack is a high profile lawyer who focuses on defending domestic violence victims and has never lost a case. Combine that with his good looks, easygoing charm, and the perfect last name, Angel, and, well, it’s no wonder Grace all but instantly fell for him. Grace too has a perfectly fitting name and always amazes the guests that she can pull off such elaborate meals yet stay so slim. Once she married Jack she left her equally high profile job in order to run the home and master the arts of cooking and gardening until the day her special needs sister turns 18 and leaves her school to come live with them. A newly-built custom home and frequent vacations to exotic destinations only solidifies that envy. No one thinks twice about the one bedroom window encased in bars or the fact that Grace has an excuse for every lunch invite.
Believe the hype. Told in chapters alternating between the past and present, Behind Closed Doors is a novel that had me hooked from the very first page and tightened its grip the further I dug into this horrifying relationship. With a title like Behind Closed Doors and the pretty transparent summary, it should come as no surprised just what this book involves. Jack is no angel and his way or torturing Grace was chilling. He thrives on fear and control and Grace’s terror and helplessness came through with every beating and punishment. He uses visits with Grace’s sister Millie as a way to keep Grace in line. If she talks back or refuses to eat, oh look at that, another weekend they stay home. However, if she says all the right things at a dinner party or manages to create Jack’s wildly difficult menus, Grace is granted a few precious hours with her beloved sister.
Millie is by far the star of the show. She’s the first to suspect there’s something off about Jack and I couldn’t help but love the scenes with her. That said, Jack is such a vile and disgusting person. He’s using Grace to get to Millie, for in someone as vulnerable as Millie he’ll truly be able to completely dominate.
Watching Jack and Grace’s relationship unfold was equal parts fascinating and terrifying. Seeing the pair meet and begin to date, being there as Jack tells Grace he plans on building them a house and wants to know all of her requirements and wishes, witnessing the pivotal moment at their wedding that set the wheels in motion for what’s to come. I couldn’t tear myself away.
Behind Closed Doors is easily a Top Read of 2016 for me. I was thoroughly captivated in a car-crash kind of way. I knew what was happening but I couldn’t stop it and couldn’t look away. I stayed up way too late reading this one and I love the book all the more for it. While I wouldn’t necessarily believe the Gone Girl and Girl on the Train comparisons, Behind Closed Doors is one hell of a thriller that kept me turning the pages until the very end.