Title: Bring Me Back
Author: B.A. Paris
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery
Release Date: June 19th, 2018
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible
A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she’s not inside. No one ever sees her again.
Ten years later he’s engaged to be married; he’s happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She’s turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.
As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?
This book started off so promising, but then fell short in the second half. The narrative switches back and forth between present day and ten years earlier, when Finn’s girlfriend Layla mysteriously disappeared from a rest area on their way back from a trip to Paris. Fast-forward ten years, and Finn has a new girlfriend, Ellen, who happens to be Layla’s sister. Despite never finding out what really happened to Layla, they have finally moved on and are happy together, engaged to be married. Until suddenly little Russian nesting dolls start showing up everywhere they go, leaving both Finn and Ellen with one chilling question: “Is Layla still alive?”
What I loved about this book is that is had a very intriguing and suspenseful storyline. There are plenty of twists and turns, in true psychological thriller style, and at some point you will question each and every character. I was sucked in to the story from the very beginning and had a hard time putting it down, even staying up late to finish it.
However, the biggest problem for me was the realism, or lack thereof. Some of the characters’ decisions didn’t quite sit well with me; they just felt “off” somehow. I kept thinking that maybe it would make more sense after I knew the whole story, but it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there are reasons and justifications given for their actions, but they just didn’t quite jive for me. It seemed like the further I got into the story, the more I doubted the characters’ actions and rationalizations. Then the believability went completely out the window in the final chapters with the big reveal.
I wanted to love this book – the synopsis sounded so promising and I’ve seen so much praise online for B.A. Paris’s writing. I still intend to read some of Paris’s other books in case this one was an anomaly, but Bring Me Back just didn’t quite meet my expectations. A great premise and admittedly addicting read, but unrealistic and somewhat lacking.
Quick side note – I’m not sure how the book blurbs are written. Is that the responsibility of the author, someone from the publishing company, or someone else entirely? Regardless, the blurb for this book was riddled with errors. “A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car.” They didn’t stop for gas – the story even explains that the rest area they were at didn’t have a fuel station, just restrooms and a small picnic area off the parking lot. He didn’t run in to pay – he went in to use the restroom. It says he’s engaged to be married (which is correct), but then states “his wife is the sister of his missing first love” and that “their marriage becomes strained” which isn’t possible because they’re not even married in the first place! Fortunately I didn’t notice any inconsistencies like these in the book itself, which makes me think it was someone other than the author who wrote the book blurb. But I still can’t figure out why the author or publisher didn’t catch these before the blurb was released.
Rating: 3/5 stars
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.