Behind Closed Doors was one of the most disturbing books I have ever read. It was indeed a psychological thriller, but because the plot relied heavily on mind control, domestic violence, and emotional dominance, I found it hard to read. So much so that I actually decided to stop reading it. But after a few hours away from the tumultuous relationship of married couple Jack and Grace, I found myself wondering the how Grace would extricate herself from the barren room Jack fashioned as her prison within their picture perfect home. So I finished this, and was glad I did.
This novel really was a heart pounding thriller with a pace that kept me invested in what would happen to Grace and her her special needs sister, Millie. This author falls in the same category as Gillian Flynn because she came up with some of the most disturbing things I’ve ever read about, but managed to weave them into an intricate and powerful story. They weren’t just placeholders for shock value. instead everything was a piece of a larger intricate puzzle that culminated in outstanding final chapters.
Grace was absolutely the victim of domestic violence, which was ironic since Jack was a renowned attorney who only defended battered women. Despite her status in the story, Grace came across as a strong and defiant woman because she constantly attempted to assess her surroundings and then act in ways that advanced her agenda to escape. Millie’s presence added an unusual element to the plot, but she had a few standout moments where she emerged as a clever hero that just made me smile.
Another reason this worked so well was that the story was told in chapters that alternated between the past and the present so that there was significant attention given to their courtship. In those early scenes, Jack pretended to be a perfect gentleman. His actions made it easy to understand how Grace was duped into believing he was the perfect husband, which was a fatal mistake that landed her in a marriage with no escape.
I appreciated the author’s stellar writing that effortlessly made Grace a sympathetic character worth rooting for. This was unquestionably a difficult novel to get through but the ending was so fantastic that it was worth the read.