Bring Me Back
by B.A. Paris
St. Martin's Press
Publication Date : June 19, 2018
Pages : 336
Synopsis from Publisher:
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 is honestly one of the hardest reviews I have written. With Paris’ 2016 release Behind Closed Doors, Paris quickly became one of my favorite authors. To read Paris’ newest release and to not have completely and utterly love it, makes this review especially difficult. While Bring Me Back has a creepy and haunting feel, the lack of character development caused the story to miss the mark for me.
Finn and Layla are young and deeply in love. On their way home from a vacation, in France they stop at rest area to use the bathroom. When Finn comes out of the bathroom Layla has vanished. A devastated Finn searches for Layla, but after years of silence he begins to move on with his life. Twelve years later events begin to suggest that Layla is alive. Finn struggles with feelings of relief and fear. Layla’s return would bring closure to a terrible time in his life but may also unearth secrets and lies.
I usually love unlikable characters. These characters are full of mystery and make readers mistrust their actions. I find unlikeable characters interesting because no matter how despicable they are, I can always find at least one redeemable quality. One aspect which explains their actions or makes them at least understandable. In Bring Me Back, I could not understand nor relate to any of the characters. Many of the character’s actions and reactions seem unreasonable and odd. I could not manage to put myself in any of character’s shoes.
Finn begins to suspect Layla has returned when Russian dolls are delivered to his home and car. Layla and her sister Ellen, both had a set of dolls when they were younger, this fact is not known by many. The delivery of the dolls cements Finn’s belief of Layla’s return. I believe the author wanted to use the Russian dolls to add a creepy element to the story. This was successful in some ways, but I would have enjoyed Bring Me Back more if there was some sort of backstory linked with the dolls. Mainly, identifying the person who gave the dolls to the Layla and Ellen.
When I started Bring Me Back, I had high expectations. I know these expectations may be unfair to the author, but I could not help but draw comparisons to Behind Closed Doors. Where Behind Closed Doors was filled with tension and anxiety, Bring Me Back has sinister qualities but lacks tension and the ending was a bit of a let down. My lack of enjoyment for Bring Me Back will not dissuade me from reading other books by Paris, but unfortunately Bring Me Back did not meet the high expectations I have of B. A. Paris.
**Thanks to St. Martins Press for my free copy of Bring Me Back**
Murder and Moore Rating:
3 out of 5 Stars