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.
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.
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.
I enjoyed this post-apocalyptic book by Kassandra Montag. It kept my interest throughout the book. After The Flood is a longer book so my focus wasn’t about wanting to know how the book ends. I enjoyed the characters’ adventures. I wasn’t waiting to find out the mystery or figuring out if the main character was going to get what she wanted. Although that was in the story, I didn’t care too much about that. I just wanted to know about their relationships and the dangerous obstacles that they will face and how they were going to survive.
It was kind of boring at the beginning. I was about one-fifth of the way into the book, and I had no idea where the story was going. It did not seem like there was a plot, except for finding Row. Ok, hurry up and save Row, and that is it, end of the story. I then read the summary of the book to read what else is supposed to happen to see if I even wanted to continue reading the book. It said that Myra will board a ship and then lots of adventures will happen. I continued on and the book became more interesting. It is a long book where there are more details. I’m used to reading shorter books where events happen more quickly.
After The Flood Synopsis
A little more than a century into the future, a catastrophic flood covers most of the earth. Only mountainous regions are dry. Some survivors live in the water on boats and ships while others live on the land.
Myra has a 7-year-old daughter, Pearl. They live on the water. Seven years prior, right before the second flood came and destroyed their house in Nebraska, Myra’s husband took their oldest daughter, Row, and left. Myra was pregnant with Pearl at the time.
There was a 100-year flood and a six-year flood. The 100-year flood happened when Myra’s father was young. So not too many people remember what life was like before the waters destroyed the land.
However, with the six-year flood, people had time to prepare. A whole year Myra’s family were building a boat and storing food, clothing, and medical supplies.
“We had lost internet and electricity for good the month before and we watched the horizon daily, fearing the water would arrive before Grandfather finished the boat. “ (page 44)
Myra’s grandfather taught her how to fish, which helped her tremendously while surviving in this new post-apocalyptic world. After the flood, she used her fishing skills to catch fish to eat and to sell. She bartered fish to obtain other food and clothing. It was a dangerous world to live in.
“When I began to fish, Grandfather scolded me for fishing without intention, throwing lines in before I observed the water. Thinking that as long as hooks were in the water the fish would bite.
Watch the water. You must submit to it. Don’t fight it, Grandfather would say as the boat rocked gently under a hot noonday sun. “ Page 358.
The plot is if they could rescue Myra’s daughter, Row. She could have died or already sent to the breeding ship. Jacob, Myra’s husband, was most likely dead. But Myra never could figure out why he would leave and take Row with him. It had haunted her all these years.
I didn’t care much about the storyline in After The Flood. The characters’ relationships were more interesting to me and their day to day life. It was very entertaining. Usually, when I get to the end of reading a book, I look to see how many pages I have left to read. I didn’t do that at all for this book because I didn’t want it to end.
I enjoy post-apocalyptic novels and movies. However, the story is written in such a way that even if you don’t like post-apocalyptic books, you may still enjoy reading this book. It is adventurous with some romance in it too.
The main character is Nikki Gillette. She is investigating an old case where a mother, Blondell O’Henry, supposedly killed her oldest daughter and injured her two other children. Most people in their small town believed that she injured herself to look like she was a victim. They wanted her to be put in jail and throw away the key. It has been twenty years since she was convicted and sent to jail. Now her son, who is 28 years old now, recants his story and says that his mother did not shoot him or his sister. In court when he was eight years old he had testified that his mother shot his sister.
Nikki was excited to investigate this case because she was also looking for a criminal case that she was emotionally connected to write a book. She had written two books prior to this and needed one more to fulfill her contract with her publishing company. Nikki had known Amity when she was younger. They both went to the same high school. The mystery throughout the book is that the night Amity died, she called Nikki and asked her to meet her because she had something very important to tell her. Nikki said she would but never made it because her parents were fighting and she couldn’t sneak out of the house.
“She’d never really told the truth about the night Amity had been killed at the cabin in the woods – never admitted that Amity had asked her to come – and she’d buried that guilt deep. But maybe now she’d have her chance. Maybe now she could make right a very deeply felt and festering wrong. (Page 33)”
Since Nikki is the main character, we heard mostly from what she was doing and feeling. Sometimes Lisa Jackson wrote scenes where we got to see what Reed was doing with his side of the investigation. I wanted to hear from both Reed and Nikki. They are both working on the same case and will be husband and wife soon.
A few times when Nikki was interviewing Blondell O’Henry in jail to get her side of the story the author told us what Blondell was thinking. It made it more interesting and trying to figure out what she is hiding. Why wouldn’t she want to tell her side and maybe get herself out of jail? I enjoyed the suspense with finding out what really happened that night Amity O’Henry was murdered. The suspense kept me interested in continuing to read the story until the very end. There were lots of twists. A little romance between Nikki and Reed was a good addition to the story.
Another great crime novel I did a book review was Melancholy Baby by Robert B Parker.