20 September 2018

Review: BRING ME BACK, B. A. Paris

Synopsis (publisher)

Finn and Layla: young and in love, their whole lives ahead of them. Driving back from a holiday in France one night, Finn pulls in to a service station, leaving Layla alone in the car. When he returns, minutes later, Layla has vanished, never to be seen again. That’s the story Finn tells the police. It’s the truth but not the whole truth.

Twelve years later, Finn has built a new life with Ellen, Layla’s sister, when he receives a phone call. Someone has seen Layla. But is it her or someone pretending to be her? If it is her, what does she want? And what does she know about the night she disappeared?

My Take

An intriguing plot with plenty of mystery for the reader to work on.

Twelve years ago Layla disappeared after an argument with Finn on the way back from a holiday in France. But what Finn told the police about what happened that night was not the entire truth. The story then jumps from the night of the argument in 2006 to the current time in 2018.

In the chapters in Part One, Finn is the narrator, and the chapters switch rhythmically between "Now" and "Before". Now it appears that Layla may have returned, confirmed by a sighting, a trail of Russian dolls, and text messages on Finn's phone. At first Finn is not sure who is sending the text messages and begins to think they must be from Layla. We always know whose voice it is, but just to make sure we don't get lost, each chapter heading shows the narrator's name.

Part Two introduces Layla's voice in alternate chapters, with Finn's thoughts in the other chapters.

It is an interesting structure but towards 250 pages I began to get impatient for the plot to conclude.
My brain was working overtime to rationalise the plot strands, to come up with a scenario that fitted all strands. When I finally got to the end, I discovered I was partly right and partly not. I guess that is the sign of a good story.

The other thing that the reader has to take into account is the significance of the title, something we often neglect. This was a title with acute meaning.

My rating: 4.5

About the author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, B. A. Paris, grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked in finance and as a teacher. She has recently moved back to England.

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