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?
Published 8th March by HQ (UK)
I’ll admit – I wasn’t a massive fan of B.A Paris’s debut novel, Behind Closed Doors – I had a couple of issues about some aspects of the topic which made me a bit uncomfertable and struggled to believe some of the characters actions. However, I did appreciate how compelling the author’s writing was and really liked her style, so think it was a case of that particular book just not being the best fit for me personally. So, I was keen to read Bring Me Back – B.A Paris’s third novel.
I’m glad to say I liked this one a whole lot more! Again, I was struck by just how easily B.A Paris’s writing is. Right from the beginning the story flows, effortlessly gripping the reader and tugging them along chapter after chapter in a chilling frenzy to discover the truth.
The story starts with a flashback to twelve years ago, when in a remote service station, Finn’s girlfriend Layla disappears without trace. But is all as it seems? Is this a tragic but random situation or does Finn know more than he’s letting on? Fast forward twelve years and with still no trace of Layla, Finn is now engaged to her sister Ellen. Life seems to be moving on, but when mysterious Russian dolls begin appearing, could a ghost from the past be about to put the couples plans for a happy ever after in jeopardy?
I LOVED the way B.A Paris constructed this story, with alternating chapters of flashbacks to the past and increasing tension in the present. Every chapter seemed to reveal just enough to hold my interest and throw in a twist to keep me frantically turning the pages. I had no idea where this book was going, with all my theories being quickly debunked one after the other.
I was completely on board with the characters this time, and thought they were incredibly believable and convincing. Finn was conflicting in his personality with the right amount of charm and hints of a controlling menace giving him an unpredictability which was perfect to create suspense and intrigue. The contrast between the two sisters, Layla in the past and Ellen in the future is also stalk, and I particularly felt Ellen’s nervousness and vulnerability seeping from the pages.
There’s lots of twists and turns throughout this book, constantly keeping the reader on their toes. But I couldn’t have predicted the final twist in my wildest dreams, it came completely as a surprise and while it is an intriguing and genius concept, the one criticism I have about this book is that the ending felt a little bit rushed and tied up to quickly, meaning the absolute shocker of a twist lost a bit of impact and authenticity. I wanted to believe in it more than I did.
Overall though, Bring Me Back is a belter of a book and one fans of psychological thrillers are bound to enjoy. It’s easy, compelling, unpredictable, and has a hook to ensure you don’t put it down until you’ve devoured the whole thing. I’ll be adding B.A Paris to my list of reliable authors not to miss and luckily for me I have her second novel, The Breakdown, sitting on my shelf ready to get stuck into.