Book Review: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

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Publish Date: June 19, 2018

I received an advance copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. 

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A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop to use the restroom at a gas station. He runs in to use the facilities; 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 fiancée is the sister of his missing first love.

As more and more questions are raised, their relationship 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?

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This is my first B.A. Paris book and it sucked me in very quickly in the opening chapters.

The story is told in the Then and Now perspectives, with multiple viewpoints, which is my favorite kind of storytelling. Finn is the main narrator. It begins Then with his statement to the police of the fateful night where his beloved girlfriend Layla went missing. Now is ten year later and Finn is about to marry Layla’s sister, Ellen. Layla’s first person perspective is also sprinkled among Finn’s.

My first impression of Finn? Classic Psychopath. He dropped enough hints that made me think that he had something to do with Layla’s disappearance, despite what he told the cops. What the heck is he doing marrying Layla’s sister, Ellen? What secrets is he hiding? Is Layla still alive?Who is sending Finn messages and leaving clues? I felt sorry for Finn; obviously someone is messing with his head and making him believe that Layla not dead.

My initial impressions of Finn and Layla were reversed by the end of the book. Finn ended up not as much of a psychopath as I first thought; and he actually had feelings and a conscience. I liked Layla in the beginning and thought she was a victim of circumstance, but I ended up disliking Layla a lot. (I wish I could tell you why, but that would be a huge spoiler.)

Ellen is bland and boring – yawn! She has no personality, spunk, or any redeeming qualities. The only thing going for her is that she is Layla’s sister. She and Finn don’t seem to have the spark of a newly engaged couple; they act like roommates and mechanical robots to each other.

The book started out strong for me – fast paced and intriguing. The writing is excellent and B.A. Paris really knows how to hook the reader by writing really enticing chapter endings that make you say, “Just one more” over and over – until you’ve lost a decent amount of sleep.

However, for me, halfway through the book the pace slowed down. It seemed to have lost the momentum it gained in the first half. Eventually, it delivered an unexpected ending. I think the ending could’ve been better but as far as endings go, this definitely had a different twist. I wanted a more complicated plot, more developed characters, and a different ending.

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to talking about this book with others that have read it and doing a full debrief.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you like books with missing girls like Gone Girl, Lie To Me, or The Perfect Stranger, then don’t miss this one!

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