Bring Me Back by B.S. Paris is a good psychological suspense novel. This is the first book I have read by this author. After seeing the book displayed in the new books section at Barnes and Noble, I ordered it from the library. It looked interesting. I enjoy suspense novels once in a while so I wanted to read it.

Set up and Introduction

The story takes place in London. Twelve years earlier a woman, Layla Gray, had gone missing in France. Finn was Layla’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance and he is telling us the story. Finn says that he lied to the police from the beginning. He knows that Layla is not dead.

“I had no idea what to do. I knew I’d have to report you missing but that I’d have to have a story, otherwise they’d see my history and if you didn’t turn up, I’d be arrested for your murder. ” (p. 92)

Bring Me Back keeps going back to the beginning of their relationship and then coming to the present. One chapter says “before” and the next “after”, and it keeps going like that. In the “before” chapters, Finn is retelling the story to Layla. He often says, “Do you remember? ” However, it is a monologue because Layla never responds. It’s like when you talk to someone in a coma. You are talking but don’t expect a response. It is unusual the way it is written.

In the middle of the book, the chapters change. Finn is still telling his side of the story, but Layla is telling her side as well in every other chapter. She tells what is happening presently and what she is thinking. It goes back and forth now between Finn and Layla telling the story.

Bring Me Back Synopsis

An announcement goes out in the newspaper that Finn and Layla’s sister, Ellen, are getting married. Soon after the announcement, Russian dolls start showing up at Finn and Ellen’s house. Finn is trying to find out who is leaving the dolls. This specific Russian doll is significant to both Finn and Ellen. Finn figures it is someone who does not want them to get married.

When the announcement in the newspaper about the upcoming marriage of Finn and Ellen, Layla was furious that he was going to marry her sister. She then devised a plan to let Finn know that she was still alive. Layla started leaving Russian dolls where Finn will find them.

The summary on the inside flap of the book implies that the book is about finding out if Layla is alive. Although very early in the book Finn knows that she is alive. The question is what does she want? He is not certain it is Layla, but someone is trying to provoke him and maybe pretending to be Layla.

Finn begins receiving emails from this mysterious person. The sender is trying to give clues as to who they are, but it takes Finn a while to figure it out.

My Analysis

Bring Me Back was an enjoyable book to read. I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know what Finn was going to do. Was he going to stay with Ellen or go back with Layla? Also, how crazy was Layla? Would she do something to hurt Ellen? The book is an easy read. I finished it within three days.

This is a detective story but it does not include the police or detectives. It is about Finn trying to figure everything out on his own. It is suspenseful. I thought that since the book talked about a murder in the beginning that it would be the regular detective story where the police are trying to find the murderer. It is not at all like that. It is all about what Finn is thinking and what he is trying to figure out who is behind the Russian dolls.

Characters

Finn is not a likable character. I don’t like him too much because he lies and keeps things from his girlfriends. He has lots of money hidden from Ellen. However, he wants to be with these women because they are totally honest. He is allowed to lie and keep secrets, but his partners cannot do anything wrong. Ellen would never go through his stuff. He hides money from both Layla and Ellen. A lot of money.

He loses his temper quite often. If someone gets him really upset he punches them until they are almost dead, even women. This is a continuous pattern with him throughout his life.

“My temper led me into two more scrapes, one of which led to me being charged with assault after I beat up a colleague who called me Paddy one time too many. After that, I managed to more or less stay out of trouble, until the night I attacked Harry.” (p. 81)

I didn’t hate Finn throughout the story, but I did not feel sorry for him either. The ending of Bring Me Back was good. It has some things to ponder. If Finn did not have a temper, he could have had a happy life with Layla.

Another great psychological suspense novel I recommend is Room by Emma Donoghue. Here is my review of the book. I loved this book, and a movie came out based on this Room.

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