Author: B A Paris
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.