Bring Me Back by BA Paris is a new thriller that makes us wonder if we really want our pasts to return.
Twelve years ago, Finn’s girlfriend, Layla, went missing. Was she a victim to his blinding rage? Did she meet with foul play?
Layla ‘s absence has become the biggest presence in his life.
But time has passed and now Finn’s engaged to Layla ‘s sister, Ellen. While she ‘s a lovely partner, she doesn’t quite have the spark or vivacity that Layla had. In fact, Ellen is exceedingly bland and one-dimensional throughout most of the book.
But now, Layla might be back. She starts leaving Russian dolls, a talisman of hers, where Finn and Ellen will find them. The mystery is whether it truly is Layla and why she has returned.
Instead of serving as a talisman for Layla, though, the Russian dolls seem to serve as more of a harbinger for how the rest of the story plays out. By the end of the book, multiple dolls have been strategically placed in Finn ‘s path to be puzzled and fretted over and analyzed. There ‘s so much fretting, in fact, that the dolls lose their punch.
Another doll? Meh, just throw it on the pile.
The pages of puzzling take the snap out of what’s supposed to be a wallop of an ending. Finn spends a lot of time in a state of “I don’t understand! How can that be??” forcing his friends to spend pages and pages explaining the twist to him.
When we finally get to the final shocker, we again stop to get pages and pages of explanation. Maybe it was supposed to be emotional. I was just ready for it to be over.
Bring Me Back could have worked much better as a searing short story or novella. My brain had already caught up to what was going on around the halfway mark of the book. I didn’t need the remainder of the pages to explain it to me.
This isn’t a complete takedown of Bring Me Back, though. Check out the other reviewers – many people like it quite a bit.
Another book by BA Paris, Behind Closed Doors, adds a mighty thrill to the thriller genre. For those who want a book that hits harder, Behind Closed Doors may be the cure to a Bring Me Back hangover (Boy, I am in a metaphor-mixing frenzy today. Fights and hangovers. Nice one, Beth).
While I won ‘t be bringing back Bring Me Back to my bookshelf, I still look forward to reading more from this author.
Bring Me Back
Published June 2018
St. Martin ‘s Press