Bring Me Back

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

3.5 stars

I quite enjoyed this, despite my frustration at the lead character and the, at times, meandering storyline. The beginning is very strong with a girlfriend who goes missing at a truck stop and picks the story up 12 years later. This premise of a missing person, who, 12 years later may still be alive, kept my interest and I enjoyed the twist at the end and the short chapters written in the voice of the main characters.

The middle I found slow, but, a good, easy, holiday read.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins for the opportunity to preview.
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There will be spoilers here, so if you’re planning to read this one and haven’t, this is your warning to come back and read this review later.

This is my second attempt at a B.A. Paris book, and much like the first one, Behind Closed Doors, I just can’t recommend it. The description itself gave me a bit of pause – Finn’s girlfriend, Layla, disappeared ten years ago, and he was the main suspect. He’s been cleared because there wasn’t really any evidence against him, but no one ever figured out exactly what happened to Layla.

Now Finn is dating Layla’s sister, Ellen, and they just got engaged. Which…. how does that work exactly? We find out later that Ellen and Finn didn’t meet while Finn and Layla were dating, so the first time they meet, he’s under suspicion for Layla’s disappearance. This is how they meet? He’s under suspicion for possibly murdering her sister, and she decides to date him?

As soon as they get engaged, Ellen starts finding Russian nesting dolls all over the place, which she takes as a sign that Layla isn’t dead, she’s alive, and she’s back. (Layla collected Russian nesting dolls as a kid) Finn starts receiving MysteriousEmails™️ that make him even more sure that she’s alive, but maybe not, but maybe, which causes him to start rethinking his entire relationship with Ellen because he misses Layla so much. Or something.

One of the biggest disappointments of this book was the writing. Even though I didn’t enjoy Behind Closed Doors, I thought B.A. Paris was a good writer. The writing in Bring Me Back was much weaker. There was almost no showing, just telling, and the characters were flat and one-dimensional.

We discover about halfway through the book that Layla is alive, of course she is. I watched way too much Days of Our Lives and All My Children growing up to believe that anyone is dead when the body is never found. Her reasons for disappearing were understandable, but the rest of her decisions are convoluted and make no sense. Why she decided to stay away for 12 years, why she’s decided to show back up now. I read those sections multiple times and I still don’t understand what made her show herself, especially to Finn, considering her reasons for leaving in the first place.

And the Big Twist was…. frankly, it was laughable. It requires a suspension of disbelief to a level that I’m simply not capable of. And it made characters who were already badly drawn to turn into caricatures.

Much like B.A. Paris’s first book, Behind Closed Doors, this book just doesn’t hold up under the smallest bit of scrutiny. I think the problem is this combination. B.A. Paris and I just don’t seem to be a good match.
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Finn and Layla are on their way back from vacation when Layla disappears at a rest stop, never to be seen again. Finn struggles with not knowing what happened and knowing that he didn't tell the police the whole truth. As Finn moves on with his life 12 years later, he learns that Layla might still be alive.

This was such a quick read for me! There was a lot of suspense that kept me reading because I had to know what  happened to Layla. But the twists started to get a little too weird for me about halfway through. Around that time, I didn't like any of the characters anymore and the suspense stalled. I loved the first half of this book, but the ending fell flat.
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It has been more than ten years since the day that Layla disappeared from Finn's car at a service station while they were on vacation. Finn's life hasn't been the same.  Not a day goes by that he doesn't think about her.  And his role in Layla's disappearance.  He didn't tell the police everything and he knows that he screwed up. Big time. But he has moved on, he is now engaged to Ellen, Layla's sister.   They bonded over their grief and were lucky to find happiness with each other.  But now they are on the verge of getting married and things are happening to make them think that Layla is back.  An elderly neighbor saw her in their old neighborhood.  And then the Russian nesting dolls show up.  An "inside" story that only they would know about.  Next Finn gets an email. Layla is back, but she has conditions.   She wants Finn to get rid of her sister.  Why comes next is a psychological mind game for which Finn is unprepared.  Will he be able to welcome Layla back without blowing up the life he has built with Ellen?

Bring Me Back is a fast-paced psychological thriller. About one man and two sisters.  From the beginning, Finn seems like a good guy. He was genuinely upset by Layla's disappearance and he kept their home untouched after Layla's disappearance. By his own admission, he lied to the police the day that Layla disappeared and he reveals why he lied bit by bit. Which made me trust him less.   He also was desperate to keep Ellen from knowing about Layla's emails. I wasn't sure if it was because he wanted to protect Ellen, Layla, or himself.  All three of them seemed a little unhinged to me and I don't think that I was very wrong.  - CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS -- I had figured out the "twist" pretty early on - well mostly.  I just wasn't sure of the details.  The ending was a bit explosive as a lot of truths were revealed and dots were connected.  I was satisfied with the author's conclusion, even if it seemed a bit farfetched.

Bottom Line - Even though I had guessed the big twist, I was still captivated by Bring Me Back. The story of Finn, Layla, and Ellen starts off slow and builds to a crescendo that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
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Pages: 304
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 6/19/2018
Buy it Here!
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On the way back from a ski trip in France, Finn and Layla make a quick stop at a service station so Finn could use the rest room.  However, once he returns to the car, Layla is nowhere to be found.  After searching all around for her, he decides to go to the next service station so he can contact the police.  At least this is the story he tells the police, but this is not the whole story.
Ten years later Finn is engaged to Ellen, Layla’s sister.  There has been no news on what happened to Layla all those years ago, but Ellen has never suspected Finn was involved as many others have. 
One day out of the blue a small Russian doll shows up at the house identical to the one that both Layla and Ellen used to have as children.  There are only three people who know about the history of the Russian dolls, so is Layla alive or is there something more sinister going on?
Bring Me Back is my first B.A. Paris book, though I have a few others on my TBR, and I must confess that I was impressed.  It is told through multiple perspectives, Layla and Finn, and multiple timelines, before and after Layla disappeared. 
This was one twisty thrill ride where you really don’t know who to trust, who is telling the truth.  While I did figure out the ending before I got there, I did find myself looking in several different directions along the way.  Paris did a good job with misdirection in this one.
I would recommend this for those looking for a dark, twisted psychological thriller. I am looking to digging into the other Paris books sitting on my TBR shelf.
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Did Not Finish; could not get into the story. I tried to get my head around but it stated slow and did not hold my interest.
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While I enjoyed the twists that where contained in this novel, the premise of this book is where I struggled most with it. I felt as if I was reading a script for a soap opera. In addition to that, the mild (if one can consider it mild) pedophilia was stomach turning. I enjoyed B.A. Paris's  debut, but this one just did not do it for me.
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B.A. Paris takes the reader to the on a journey where one man must decide between his first love and his new love:

Finn and Layla were young (though she was quite a  few years younger than him) and in love but on a drive home from a vacation they stop at a rest stop to use the washroom and when Finn comes out Layla is no where to be found. There is no sign of a struggle, no sign of where she could have gone, she has disappeared forever. Ten years later Finn is no engaged to Layla's sister Ellen who were drawn together over their grief of Layla's disappearance. Finn knows it must seem strange to people that he would be with his previous girlfriends sister but Finn also still feels close to Layla when he is with Ellen. Everything changes with one phone call where a person says they have seen Layla. So begins the strange events that start happening, finding Russian dolls every where and emails from a mysterious account that claims to be Layla. Finn doesn't know what to do or what to believe, could his long lost love really be back? What about Ellen the? Or is someone just playing an awful trick on him? Finn needs to figure everything out quick before he loses everything.

This is the third book that I have read by Paris and in my opinion it is the weakest of the three books. This is not to say I did not enjoy this book but I found that it was fairly slow, took me a bit to get into the overall plot and lacked the suspense of the previous two books. This book is mainly becomes a love triangle with the main character Finn and two sisters both of whom he loves but in different ways and at different times in his life. It comes to a point where he is forced to choose between them. So basically a love triangle with deadly consequences and so twist and turns along the way (thought I did figure out what was going to happen) but a love triangle nonetheless.

This does have classic Paris format where she goes between past and present which allows us to see the differences not only between Finn's relationship with Layla and Ellen  but also how different the two women are. We also get points of view from both Layla and Finn in the past and the course of events that takes Finn to his current predicament. 

It is hard to like Finn as how terrible he is towards many people in his current life especially his current fiance but I honestly don't think you are supposed to like him. Actually it is hard to like really any of the three main characters for many of the choices they have made and the actions they have taken against each other in both the past and present. It was really hard to choose someone to cheer for, I mean there are many times you feel sorry for Ellen but at the same time you want her to grow a backbone and take it Finn for the things that he does.

I know my review does not sound glowing but I did enjoy this book, it was one big soap opera and overall it is good read once you get into the story. But Paris has come out with yet has been as good as Behind Closed Doors, however, I will continue to read Paris' books as I do find myself enjoying them.

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This book was intriguing. I liked the narratorial style, the way the author constantly casts doubt on the premise—is Layla alive? Finn shifts—he seems like a bad guy, and then a good guy, and then a bad guy again, making him a really interesting narrator. I did guess the ending, but it had been marginally spoiled for me, so with the baby-sized spoiler, it was easy to figure out. 
It's worth a read and I highly recommend the audio as well! My favorite book by Paris thus far.
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A very obvious yet unrealistic conclusion to a story that reveals too much too soon and then clunks it's way along until the end.
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This is my first read from this author and it was a average good thriller/mystery. Their were a couple of times where I felt it could’ve been better but it was a good mystery overall.
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I love this author so much & was so pumped when I saw this book on NetGalley. I was REALLY hoping I got approved because I did not want to wait until the release date. Bring me back was so intense & a page turner. I had to know what happened but like everyone says the ending was a WTF ending. I think the author has previous work that has been better but I won't lie & say Bring me back didn't have me hooked wanting to know what happened. If you read this genre a lot then you understand how some twists or endings are pretty predictable. I still love BA Paris so hopefully her next book is a little better! 

A Special Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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This was my first time reading a B.A. Paris book. I have her other books on my Kindle to read. I was so excited to check this one out! It has a great synopsis, a great beginning, and I love me some Russian Nesting Dolls. However…this book did not deliver for me. And it made me want to get rid of any of the Rusian Nesting Dolls I have in my collection.

This had a great start. Good character development, beautifully written, and an interesting plot. I was completely 100% enthralled for the first 50%, still going strong for the next 30% or so, but those last few chapters just lost it for me. The ending is just ridiculous and honestly knocked a star off my final rating.

I like a book where the characters stick with me. And while I did take a few months to finally write this after reading the book, the names trigger not one memory. The only thing I remember is the ending and how frustrating it was.

This book had great potential. And I see a lot of hope in B. A. Paris’s writing so I will read her previous two books. I will have to decide after I read those if she will be an author worth checking out again in the future.

The cover, however, is spectacular! Both of the covers I have seen are very interesting and appeal to me. I just wish what was between the covers had fulfilled the promise the cover + synopsis gave me.
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I've now read all of B.A. Paris' books and would recommend them.  I loved 'Behind Closed Doors' and thoroughly enjoyed this one.  The plot centers around a man named Finn whose girlfriend Layla was abducted while they were on vacation.  Years later, he has fallen in love with Layla's sister Ellen.  All is going well until Ellen and Finn's wedding date approaches and signs and clues of Layla start to appear.  Finn begins to wonder if she's alive and sending him a message. 

I thought the writing was very engaging and kept me turning the pages.  I did think the twist/reveal was a bit predictable.  I would still recommend this to people, particularly if you don't read many thrillers.
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Great story.  Finn, Layla and Ellen are all realistic characters.  Their lives seem very natural and real.  This story keeps you wondering who could be turning Finn and Ellen's lives upside down.  Is Layla alive, does she have mental issues?  Could it be Ruby because she wants Finn back?
Thanks to netgalley for the opportunity to read a new author
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I loved this book.  I was on the edge of my seat while I was reading it and it kept me guessing until the last page.
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Oh what a twisted love triangle.  Finn is in love with Layla, but one night she disappears and is presumed dead.  Ten years later he is engaged to Ellen, her sister.  Yet he is receiving messages of various design that Layla is alive and wants him back.  And then it gets more twisted and bizarre as this mystery unfolds.  The author is English so it takes a bit to get into his style, but boy do you get invested very quickly.  This is a story of love, loss, betrayal, intrique and basic “goose bump” feelings.  Is she alive or isn’t she?  I am one reader who always figures out the plot twist of movies but this one kept me guessing until the last 50 pages when I got “it”.  Just read it already!
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Better than the author's last book but still kind of boring and predictable.  While I didn't 100% guess what was going on, I had a pretty good idea fairly early on.  None of the characters were likeable which is fine but combined with a fairly lackluster story and I was bored.  Hope to see some return to the excitement that was her debut.
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Wow!  I think my head is still spinning!  This is one of those stories where you think you have it all figured out at least fifty times over, only to have everything turn around and you're back to square one.  It's such an engaging story.  You're in Finn's head most of the time, and it's exhausting (in a good way), because you come to the same conclusions, have the same thoughts, and go down the same rabbit holes as he does, only to come up with more questions and doubts.  I always thought those little nesting doll things were creepy, and this just confirms it for me even more!  Yes, I had the "whodunnit" part right pretty early on, but I certainly didn't expect the hows and whys.  A very enjoyable suspense/thriller!
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I'm a big B.A. Paris fan until this book, I just couldn't get into this story-line enough for myself to want to finish it. For myself, it just seems like a book that was rushed through the process in order to get something published. I just can't review a book that I didn't get very far in and hopefully, the next book will be better than this one!

Thank You for the chance to read this book!
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