Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Behind the Door: A Sizzling, Psychological Suspense - Hidden Motives Book 1 by A. Gavazzoni is a complicated story, but in a really good and intriguing way. I was unable to put this book down, mainly because I didn't want to put it down, it was so good. The story follows Simone; she is a psychiatrist by profession and a compassionate person by nature. She is the perfect person for the job. Her clientele are men and women who have issues with sex (think kinky sex, but more) and she enjoys her work.
Her life takes a serious and more profound turn when a defense attorney named Carl offers her a job. She needs to help him prove that his client, Mark, is innocent. Mark is accused of killing a woman named Lara and Carl needs Simone's help to prove that Mark is innocent. Carl provided her with a diary in which Mark wrote every single detail about his affair with Lara. Now it is Simone's job to prove if he is the killer or not. To make matters worse, there is a killer on the loose who is murdering women. Can Mark be that person? Or is he innocent? Stuck in a moral and professional loop, it is up to Simone to find the truth through words written by Mark in his diary!
The story was fast paced, intense, and very well written. The characters were very strong; even the characters that appeared in just a few scenes were very well-thought out. The narrative is fragmented and the reader is taken into Mark's world via his diary. This not only adds another layer to the novel, but makes it even more interesting. What I really liked about this novel is the fact that it was complicated without being too difficult. It tackles a theme and topic that not many people know about or are comfortable reading, but A. Gavazzoni handled it with grace and with sheer force of artistry! It was intense and simply too entertaining to put
Behind the Door wonderfully combines the steam of an erotic novel with the suspense of a murder mystery. It keeps the reader's heart racing from page to page, a result of both the highly detailed sex scenes and the dead bodies that keep popping up in Simone's vicinity. Simone is intelligent and likeable, a complete foil to Lara's over-the-top drama and flightiness. Both women were written so well, I had to wonder how much of the novel was written by Gavazzoni's personal experience!
The novel's pacing was great overall, and the ending had me gasping in surprise. I'm not too bad when it comes to murder mysteries, but Behind the Door was delightfully tricky! I will also say that I was afraid to read this book on the train in case some old man happened to look over my shoulder and have a heart attack, but once I started reading nothing could really stop me. I was completely enthralled by the story line.
I have one, and only one, complaint about the novel. Simone is being paid to read Mark's account and her opinion may be what frees or sentences him. It is only natural that she reads it with a critical and clinical eye. However, due to the layout of the chapters in the novel, the reader often exits what was a steamy and enjoyable scene for Mark and Lara, only to have their feelings dampened by Simone's analysis of the text. At times I looked forward to the continuation of Mark and Lara's story more than I did Simone's side of the text, and even had a few moments when I was irritated by the switch in perspectives. Although, looking back, perhaps the author was giving the reader a chance to cool themselves off a bit?
Overall, I would give Behind the Door 4 out of 4 stars. It is a wonderful debut novel by Gavazzoni, and has been followed by what seems to be an equally popular and well-written sequel. Although it is not for the faint of heart - trust me on this - I think it's the perfect novel for someone who wishes to liven up their imagination, if not their actual lifestyle.
From the Author
South African Author Angela Shearer - author of The Scarlet Code and Mad Mischief.