BOOK CLUB: Bring Me Back

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Author: B A Paris
ISBN: 9780008244873
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

Bring Me Back is the first book I have had the pleasure of reading by B A Paris, and it’s her 3rd novel. I think I may need to put her backlist on my wishlist.

I love a suspenseful read, it doesn’t have to be murderous or dark; I just like it to keep me guessing. I like a bit of unpredictability and even better if I can’t work it out before the final reveal.

Friday afternoon I finished the book I was reading over lunch and then had to do the school run. I certainly wasn’t doing that without something to read so I picked up this one, largely because I was in a rush and it was on the top of the pile I think. It helps that it was a totally different genre to what I had just finished. Before I knew it I was hooked, and I spent the afternoon, evening and long into the night with my head firmly planted between these pages… and finished it before I went to bed. It’s been a while since I have managed that.

I have been sitting on this one for over a week now and I am still not quite sure what I want to say. Paris has woven an intricate story with a fascinating premise and the perfect pinch of creepy.

A young British couple holiday in France and on the way home something tragic happens, a quick roadside stop ends in the disappearance of Finn’s girlfriend Layla. Despite extensive searches no trace can be found of her whereabouts. Eventually, Finn moves on and 12 years later his engagement is announced, and soon after creepy things start happening. Things that make it seem that perhaps Layla isn’t gone forever, and if she’s not what does that mean for Finn and his new fiancé? Or is it just someone who knows too much messing with his head?

The first indication that something was going on was the day Finn returned home to find his new fiancé sitting on the couch holding one of the little Russian babushka dolls. It could be a coincidence, but at the same time perhaps it isn’t. The significance of the babushka doll would be lost on anyone else but it is something that resonates within Finn and his new fiancé, and makes them think of long lost Layla. I say both of them because Ellen is Layla’s sister, she and Finn met in the wake of Layla’s disappearance and their shared grief saw them slowly build a friendship that grew into a romantic relationship.

The first babushka doll could have been a coincidence but once the second one appears it starts looking a little more sinister. The story-telling was taut, tying small incidents together until Finn becomes increasingly jumpy and paranoid; leaving us wondering exactly what happened that night on the roadside in France.

Bring Me Back was told in dual timelines, which is a tool often used in suspense stories because we have to slowly discover all of the events that brought us to this point. We need to uncover the extra elements that have long been hidden before we can piece it all together and work out what’s going on.

Paris explored the characters and their relationships with depth, allowing us to see the effects these things were having on different relationships. The distance that started developing, the evasions and the secrecy that were unheard of before seemingly harmless babushka dolls with a sinister aura started popping up.

The twists really took me by surprise, I thought they were well written and well conceived but the more I think back the less sure I am, and the more I start to wonder if I missed clues on my journey through the story.

Bring Me Back kept me guessing, it kept me turning the pages to try and discover just what was going to happen next; and what else there was to discover about what had already happened.

I found Bring Me Back to be unique and creepy with some well woven twists and an ending that I wasn’t expecting. Definitely one I would recommend and I look forward to reading more from B A Paris.

B A Paris can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Bring Me Back is published by HQ Fiction and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HQ Fiction 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members will be reading Bring Me Back so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

20 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Bring Me Back

  1. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to review Bring Me Back by B A Paris.
    Well the book arrived on Friday….and that was the end of my productive plans for the weekend! Once you start reading you can’t put it down!
    This is one of those books where you can’t give too much away or you will spoil it!
    Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend Laya disappeared. Did he kill her, was she kidnaped or did she just leave.
    Now Finn has moved on, but troubling events have started happening for both Finn and his current girlfriend.
    The book is written in Before and Now chapters telling us Finn and Layla’s story.
    It is not a long book and easy to read. It is an addictive suspense story, you just want to know what is going on. The twists keep you guessing until the end.
    Thouroughly recommend this book.

  2. Thanks once again Beautyandlace HQ and to B A Paris for a wonderful book Bring Me Back.
    The blurb on the front of the book reads The Disapperance The Suspicion The Fear. This describes this book so well as Finns girlfriend disappears while on a holiday in France, after an argument Finn becomes quite violent and when Layla can’t be found Finn becomes a suspect in her murder, helped by an old friend Harry, Finn is exonerated but goes on for the next 12 years mourning for his lost love. As the years go by Finn finally finds happiness again.
    Until a series of Russian Dolls start to appear,who but Layla knows the story behind the dolls? Is she still alive? What happens to his new love if Layla wants to return? Who is sending the dolls?Everyone is under suspicion! Then comes the fear, who to trust? What do they want??
    This book is certainly a page turner and I would recommend it to any reader who likes suspense. I have read Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris which I also enjoyed, but I will be seeking out another called The Breakdown.

  3. One thing is for certain…. I can never look at a babushka Russian doll again without getting a tense creepy feeling! The book starts of gently and you don’t realise how tightly wound up it gets all the way to the end. Keeps you guessing, second guessing and confused who is the bad/good guy!! Really well written getting the exact tone all through the book of the steadily building tension between the characters that just wont let you put the book down!! As everything can change in a page!! You find it so hard to hate the main character even when you know you really should!! Really wish Finn could have found happiness and peace in the end. Excellent read and highly recommend this book!!

  4. Wow a thriller from beginning to end.

    How well do you know someone? Do they know your secrets? Do you know theirs? This book is all about secrets and lies. But whose? Who is the villain and who is innocent? Couldn’t wait to find out.

    The plot of this book has so many twists and turns that keep you glued to the pages, vociferously turning them to see what happens next, keeping you on the edge of your seat. Without giving anything away, the last few chapters really delve deeply into the main character’s past and implode on his present and future. When I got to the ending, it was so surprising it was nothing I ever expected.

    Would you know who to trust?

    I really loved this book. I read it in 4 days as I could not put it down. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a suspenseful thriller and I challenge you to try and put it down.

    Thanks Beauty and Lace for sending this book to read. I would rate id 5/5

  5. I give this book 5 stars!

    I am left reeling at the end, which I think means I need to go back to the start. How did I not see that coming? With very clever writing is how! Suspense is my new favourite genre and B A Paris is my new favourite author.

    The short chapters set a fast past story of the two main characters broken into ‘before’ and ‘now’.
    Layla went missing after a stopover one evening after heading home from a skiing trip. Finn her boyfriend said he needed the restroom. However what followed set in motion a series of events where no one really knows what will happen next. Layla’s body was never found. Is she dead or missing? Taken or trying to escape?

    In the 12 years that followed Layla’s disappearance, Finn spoke of much truth as he wanted people to know about that night. Their relationship was good; Layla was like no other woman he met. So why would anyone suspect foul play?

    When he enters into a relationship with Ellen (who reminds him of Layla although they are nothing alike) strange things start to surface.

    Chapter by chapter pieces of the puzzle seem to come together as we get a sense of their life and relationship. I really liked the build-up of the story and while I had my theories, I wasn’t even close to predicting the outcome. A thoroughly enjoyable suspense novel with much intrigue and chilling twists.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace Book Club and HarperCollins Publishing for the reviewing opportunity, I am more than happy to recommend.

  6. Bring Me Back is a highly suspenseful and interesting thriller that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

    When Finn’s girlfriend, Layla goes missing one night, he is the main suspect. However, her body was never found and Finn was never charged with her murder. Finn is not totally honest with the police so suspicions and mystery unfolds, especially when creepy Russian dolls start to surface.

    Congratulations to the author, B A Paris, as she has brought life to all the main characters in the novel. And with a compelling story full of twists and an unexpected ending, Bring Me Back is definitely worth reading. Thank you Beauty and Lace for this wonderful opportunity.

  7. Thank you Beauty and Lace along with Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review BRING ME BACK by B A PARIS.
    After two days of finishing this suspense thriller I am still taking a deep breath to settle me down! The lies and web of deceit,the constant twists and turns creating tension and suspense. The before Layla disappearance and the twelve years later kept me anticipating the story and leaving me in the air.I would have liked to get Finn and shake him for not opening up to his now fiancé Ellen, sister of Layla…a good thing he didn’t…maybe !
    The story revolves around Layla who seems to be somewhat mentally imbalanced, Finn the main character who is questionably the cause of Layla’s disappearance,Finn’s best mate Harry who has got Finn out of trouble on more than one occasion and Finn’s ex-girlfriend Ruth. But since Finn and Ellen announcing their engagement all goes pear shaped with Russian dolls turning up in discrete spots where both Finn and Ellen find them…These little Russian dolls have had a significant meaning between the two sisters when they were growing up. The story becomes quite creepy and behaviours change dramatically from stable and happy to neurotic, jealous, deceitful, demanding and accusing. Even though the sisters grew up very close I had to question their closeness in the story.
    The last few chapters are full of surprises and no amount of guessing could predict the ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this book which was well written by B A Paris.

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the offer to review Bring Me Back by B A Paris.

    Finn’s girlfriend Laya disappeared twelve years ago while holidaying in France. Finn and Laya had a violent argument and Laya disappears after that.

    Finn is suspected of her murder but with the help of his best friend Harry he is exonerated of Laya’s murder. Finn keeps mourning Laya for twelve years wondering what happened.

    Finn slowly moves on with his life, he meets a woman called Ellen. Finn and Ellen become engaged. After that strange things start happening.

    Russian dolls start appearing and Finn knows that Laya is the one who knows the story about the Russian dolls. What’s puzzling to Finn is who is sending the Russian dolls. Is Laya still alive? After all her body was never found. If it’s not Laya sending the dolls then who is it?

    I found this book amazing and could not put it down. It is a novel of lies and secrets and very well written.

  9. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, Bring me Back is a real page turner!

    It darts between the present day and 12 years earlier when Englishman Finn and his girlfriend Layla went on holiday, only for Layla to go missing at a toilet stop.

    The disappearance has eaten away at Finn for 12 years but he has eventually moved on & is now engaged to someone else.

    But things get complicated when Finn starts receiving emails from a mystery address implying Layla is still alive. Could it even be Layla herself messing with him?

    B A Paris is a master at building suspense and developing characters with all the idiosyncracies that make us human. I found myself second guessing my suspicions all the way though. What really happened to Layla? Does Finn know more than he thinks? Was Finn’s best friend Harry involved?

    You’ll have to read Bring me Back for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

  10. Once again Beauty & Lace & Harper Collins for the opportunity to read & review Bring Me Back

    A book that goes from Past to Present & back not usually my favourite way to read a book but saying that you need to revert to the past to understand the present & get the total aspect of the story

    A very creepy & suspense filled storyline about Finn & new fiance who happens to be the sister of old girlfriend Layla who disappeared years earlier while holidaying with Finn

    Twists & turns throughout you think you have solved it but No & the ending is uniquely written so you sit there stunned at the ending

    A complete gem of a book Thank you B A Paris It is a must read!

  11. There was a delay in receiving my review copy of Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris from @HarperCollinsAustralia, but Wow! it was certainly worth the wait! What a great thriller. I couldn’t put it down, and read it from cover to cover in one sitting (about three hours).
    B. A. Paris is certainly a clever and fluent writer with a wonderful ability to build real suspense – so completely gripping from page one til the end. The mystery of what really happened to Layla – is she dead or alive; who is leaving the little Russian babushka dolls that seem to be taunting Finn and Ellen; and who is sending the email messages with things only Layla knows – all these questions really move the story along at a good pace. I kept trying to work it all out, and while I could guess part of where it was heading, I was still surprised by the subtle twists and turns in this excellent psychological thriller. And I think that is what made it even more enjoyable, the fact that the twists and turns were so subtly and deftly woven into the story.
    This is certainly an author whose works I will look out for in the future.
    A great read which I thoroughly recommend.

  12. What a fantastic book! I really enjoyed reading this and found I couldn’t put it down it was so good. Suspenseful and thrilling it was a very easy read. I had an inkling as to what might be going on about 2 thirds of the way through but couldn’t have guessed the full extent of what would eventuate which kept me eagerly turning the pages. I did find the ending sad and almost disheartening in a way but was satisfied as the story was wrapped up nicely. The main characters Finn, Ellen and Lalya were easy to like as well as Finn’s friends Harry, Tony and Ruby and his beloved dog Peggy. I also liked that you were given insight into the past at different intervals as well as from the different characters which helped build the suspense and really paint the picture. Thank you Harper Collins and Beauty and Lace for allowing me the opportunity to read this and also to discover B A Paris as an author. I am going to track down her other books immediately!

  13. Bring me back was one of those books I couldn’t put down and raced to get to the end. The plot had me guessing at each page turn.
    A young couple with the perfect love at first site story run into trouble one night at the end of a holiday. Finn, leaves Layla in the car while he uses a restroom, when he returns she is gone, forever.
    Years later Finn is settled. His career in on track, he loves where he lives and he has found love again with his fiancé, Ellen.
    It was one day when he got home to find Ellen holding a wooden doll that his life once again turned upside down. Was Layla still alive? Was someone trying to crucify his new life and love?
    The pain, love and heartbreak all based on a current of the unknown makes this book a page turner. It keeps you guessing till the end. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read this fantastic book.
    @BeautyandLaceOnline  @harlequinaustralia @beautyandlacebooks

  14. Great thriller! 4/5 stars a roller coaster page turner. One sister dead, the other about to marry the man who lived her and was suspected of killing her… the roles evolve, young Scottish girl Layla running from an abusive father to London becomes the obsession of Finn, a man with a temper he tries to control. 12 years pass and the Russian dolls start appearing, the killer? Well written, excepting I could not believe Finn as a man, I checked at the first page of that the author was a woman as I felt like I was in the head of a woman, but once you forget about that you are carried along …perfect exiting read for a holiday, thrilling to the end and who did guess the ending thanks again to Beuty and Lace and publisher HarperCollins for this fab book.

  15. Not my usual style, Bring Me Back had me intrigued and hooked and keeps the reader guessing until the very end with an incredible twist which has been in the back of my mind since finishing the book, not what I was expecting at all!

    A great read and I’d recommend to anyone

  16. Bring Me Back is the first book I have read by English author B.A Paris. Paris is the author of two previous books and Bring Me back turned out to be quite the thrilling ride! Set in England, it is told in 3 parts. Part one is told in the first person by the main protagonist, Finn. His story flips between the present and the past as he links the present to Fifteen years ago. Fifteen years ago 27 year old Finn was crazy in love with 18 year old Layla when they meet by chance one day. When his darker side emerges, Finn puts into action a chain of events that will change his life forever. Fast forward to part two and Finn’s story is now alternating with his girlfriend Layla. This time Layla get to tell her side of the events and how they have impacted upon her. In a much shorter part three, Finn has the final say. With themes of child abuse, domestic violence and mental health to name just a few, this review is being kept short and sweet so nothing is being given away!

  17. Thankyou Beautyandlace and Harperollings for the chance to read ‘Bring Me Back’ by B.A. Paris.
    The book begins in 2006 when Finn McQuaid describes the statement he gave to the police when he is a suspect in the disappearance of his girlfriend Layla.
    This disappearance occured when they were on a holiday in France.
    The book reverts to the present time, back living in England where after 12 years life has returned to near normal for Finn.
    He has been living for over a year with Ellen Layla’s sister to whom he is engaged and planning to marry.
    His friend Harry has always been a great friend and a support during the time of Layla’s disappearance.
    Out of the blue one day a babushka Russian doll appears and because Ellen and Layla had a shared interest in these it brings back thoughts of Layla and where she may be, and if in fact she is still alive somewhere.
    Soon more dolls appear………

    What a great story this was, any more information I provide might spoil it.
    Unpredictable, exciting, suspenseful with believable characters, how I enjoyed it.
    B A Paris is an author I will definitely be following.

  18. A decade ago, Finns girlfriend, Layla disappears without a trace when they visit a rest stop in the middle of the night on their way home from a holiday in France.

    Fast forward to now, Finn is now engaged to a wonderful woman and living a quiet life in an English village. Life is good, until the disturbing appearance of little Russian dolls. The dolls meant something to Layla. Is she still alive?

    The story is told from alternating points of view from Finn and Layla and develops as we really learn more about what really happened that mysterious night. I couldn’t put in down and read in a couple of days.

    Well written, Bring Me Back is a quick and engrossing read, I would definitely recommend to those of you who love a psychological thriller with plenty of mystery.

  19. readers of the book: i am hosting a book club next thursday. i would LOVE suggestions of questions/discussions specific to this book if you care to share some!

  20. Ohhhh wow, I could not put this book down. I loved it from cover to cover.
    I enjoyed the way it got right into it.
    The suspense and the turns this novel takes makes you want to read just one more chapter, and just when you think yeap that’s it .. nope another twist.

    I never would have guessed the ending.

    On my pile to read again

    Thanks Beauty and Lace for the opportunity

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