Bring Me Backby Published 19 Jun 2018
|Bring Me Back.pdf|
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" Reviews
Please don't hate me. I have mad respect for B.A. Paris; I felt her debut novel Behind Closed Doors was a forerunner in the domestic abuse thriller genre and I think the quality of her writing is incredible. Unfortunately, this one was just too over the top for me.
Like a few other people have mentioned previously, I was gripped and fully invested during "Part One". I did find I had already guessed initially where "Part Two" was going, but wanted to keep an open mind. I didn't find the characters particularly likable or well developed; this is a short novel focused on moving the plot along and not particularly on character development, but Paris kept me turning the pages and unable to put the book down.
It had started going downhill in "Part Two" for me, but where the story really lost me was "Part Three". The twist is simultaneously one that has been done before many times in many ways, yet also one that is so far fetched and wackadoodle that there is no way it could be remotely plausible. This may be due to the fact that I've read so many thrillers; someone who is newer to the genre and a little less jaded will likely take to the twist much more graciously than I was able to.
In short, the pages were easy to turn, but in the end I can't say that I enjoyed this one. I'm still on board the author's fan train and will eagerly await her next novel. <3
*I received a copy for review via the publisher.
I read this with the Traveling Friends group on Goodreads and most enjoyed it more than I did.
This book has a compelling premise and a strong start. I thought the first half was interesting enough even with some inconsistencies. I was still invested enough to keep reading to see how the story played out and I even had a theory about what was happening.
First the good:
- I partially guessed the conclusion but not 100% so the author surprised me.
- This is a quick and fast read. It would be perfect if you want an easy read at the beach, airport, or anytime you want a book that doesn’t require a lot of thought or concentration.
- it would make a fun Lifetime movie, and I mean that in a good way
- it wasn't terrible but it also didn't wow me
But then after the 50% mark things went sideways for me for the following reasons:
-too much telling, not enough showing.
- the plot didn’t advance much in the second half and there was a lot of repetition
-I grew more and more disillusioned with the story as I read
- the aforementioned inconsistencies, which I can’t go into without spoilers.
- the Russian nesting dolls were supposed to be creepy but they were not. They were mostly annoying and pointless
- the protagonist is dumb as a box of rocks
- the ending. I am sometimes willing to suspend disbelief but not here. I was surprised but not in a good way. I found it preposterous. Maybe I'm just burned out on the psychological thriller genre.
The reviews are all over the place, with a love it or hate it reaction. I was somewhere in the middle. Give it a try, you may end up in the love it camp!
** I received my copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Sometimes you read an author’s work and realize that you and the author just don’t “click”, that is the case with me and B.A. Paris. I had read “Behind Closed Doors” and did not really enjoy it but I was willing to give this new book a read. This is what I discovered.
The author has a writing style that “tells” rather than “shows” the reader what is going on. It also includes lots and lots of questions for the reader to ruminate on, example “I had put it down to a sensitivity for my feelings--but could her reserve have been for a darker, secret reason? Had Layla somehow made her way back to Lewis after she disappeared from the picnic area? Is that why Ellen has brought me here, why she left the link to CalMac ferries on her computer, because Layla is there?” This is just one example, there are many, many questions addressed to the reader and for me this just doesn’t work in fact the repetitive use of this format is somewhat irritating.
I like strong characters in my books, no matter what genre, and Layla, Ellen and Finn are not well described or developed. We know very little of their lives except what is happening in the present, and even that is questionable since they are unreliable narrators. Harry, Finn’s previous partner and now still a friend and Ruby, Finn’s ex-girlfriend, are very minimally described.
The premise was interesting, “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. “
“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?”
I could go on but I will just annoy the fans of this book and this author so I will just chalk it up to not enjoying the writing style. The ending was interesting but I was left thinking “really, this is the answer we get”, it just was not plausible. I’m willing to suspend belief for a while, particularly with thrillers, but this was just not worth the effort in the end.
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley.
Entertaining but utterly ridiculous!
The plot is derived from a soap opera and the main character is a moron. However, it's a fun mindless read!
Unfortunately, I was less than impressed with Bring Me Back. I feel like all the soap opera watching I have done helped me to figure things out rather early on. I was hoping I was wrong, but sadly I was not. When all was revealed, I was laughing and I don’t think I was meant to be. I am capable of suspending disbelief but this goes beyond. I really could have cared less about Finn, Ellen, and Layla. They lacked depth and intelligence. Peggy the dog was the only character I cared about.
Despite all the issues I had, I did have fun reading this and I enjoyed how the Russian nesting dolls were woven in.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.
Holy Moly! The 'Do Not Disturb’ sign was definitely displayed (mentally if not physically) while I read Bring Me Back! Seriously, if this book had been edible, I would have made myself ill devouring it!
British couple Finn and his girlfriend Layla, are on their way home from a skiing trip in France when he pulls into a secluded, dimly lit area late at night to use the restroom. When he returns to the car Layla is nowhere to be found!
Fast forward 12 years and Finn has moved on with his life, in fact he’s now in a relationship with Layla’s sister Ellen, and they’re living happily together in a picturesque Cotswold village. However, knowing how B A Paris's previous books played out, I knew that this idyllic situation wasn't going to last! Someone claiming to be Layla contacts Finn by email, and also begins leaving Russian dolls outside his house and sending them in the mail. These dolls have huge significance for Layla and Ellen, but is it really Layla, who’s behind it?
My oh my, who’d have thought that Russian dolls could have such frightening significance! This was a fantastic storyline, and for me it was the plot rather than the characters that was the star of the show, and literally had me holding my breath at times. The tension began on page one and really never let up, with the author using misdirection - smoke and mirrors to maximum effect, and though I kind of guessed where it was heading, it didn't pan out exactly as I thought it would, which meant I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Utterly gripping!
*Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for my ARC. I have given an honest review in exchange *