Title: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 304 pages
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
She went missing. He moved on. A whole world of secrets remained—until now.
Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They’re driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone—never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.
Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there’s something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him…even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.
Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla—hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla’s past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen’s house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive—and on Finn’s trail—what does she want? And how much does she know?
A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris is a tension-filled page-turner.
Twelve years earlier, Finn McQuaid’s girlfriend, Layla Gray, disappeared from a rest area while they were returning to England from a holiday in France. Although initially a suspect in the perplexing case, he was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing. Finn has moved on from the tragic loss but he is shaken when Detective (and friend) Tony Heddon calls with to tell him that Layla has been spotted by a former neighbor. Unsure of what to think of this unexpected revelation, more perplexing news awaits Finn at home. His fiancée who is also Layla’s sister, has discovered something that significantly points to the fact that Layla is alive. Not long after these two stunning events, Finn begins receiving emails that increasingly become more ominous over time. Despite the menacing undertones of the emails and alarming deliveries, Finn’s hopes are raised that Layla is, in fact, alive but what impact will this shocking realization have on his future with Ellen?
In a clever role reversal, Finn is cast as the proverbial character who is haplessly targeted by an unknown person. He is, at first, uncertain that the sighting and the deliveries have any link to Layla and he is off balance as he tries to make sense of what is happening. The first email he receives throws him into turmoil and he never really regains his balance as alternately veers wildly between believing Layla is alive and his certainty that someone else is behind the emails and vaguely sinister deliveries.
Caught in an endless circle of “is she or isn’t she”, Finn waits on tenterhooks after he is given a deadline from his mysterious correspondent. Losing sleep and desperate for the truth, he is wildly erratic as he tries to parse the truth about who is behind what is happening and more importantly, what this person hopes to gain. His relationship with Ellen begins to falter as he becomes obsessed with the possibility of Layla’s return and Finn is absolutely stunned when the situation takes a dangerous turn.
Bring Me Back is a clever mystery but it is a little repetitive which makes the pacing a bit slow. The storyline is intriguing and features a variety red herrings and misdirects. B.A. Paris ends the novel with a humdinger of a plot twist that incredulous readers will find extremely difficult to believe. Despite requiring a suspension of disbelief to completely enjoy the “big reveal”, this somewhat implausible mystery is an engaging read.
One Response to Review: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
I like the sound of this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Kathy