Skip to main content

Bring Me Back

Review

Bring Me Back

Finn McQuaid, the primary narrator of B.A. Paris’ BRING ME BACK, lets the reader know within the first few pages of this newly published work that he’s telling the truth, just not the whole truth.

Finn starts the narrative with an account of what occurred 12 years ago that resulted in his girlfriend, Layla, going missing. It was a simple pause at a roadway rest stop, back in the day before there were security cameras everywhere. The two of them were separated for just a few moments, and then the night swallowed her up. Of course there was an investigation, and Finn was under suspicion at one point, yet there was no sign of foul play. A wildly successful investment banker, Finn was despondent but ultimately recovered and got back to work, making briefcases full of money even as he always wondered what had happened to the love of his life while knowing just a bit more about her disappearance than he let on.

"I was sure that I had it all figured out by the middle of the book, and was delighted to be proven wrong when Paris went right there and rubbed my incorrect conclusion in my face."

Does that sound interesting? It is, very much so, particularly when the reader learns that Finn has moved on. Actually, he has moved on with Ellen, Layla’s sister. Finn first met Ellen several years after Layla’s disappearance. The two of them slowly but inexorably hit it off. They are now living together and engaged, weathering with fairly good nature the spate of newspaper headlines concerning the man who has become involved with his long-missing girlfriend’s sister. As the publicity increases, someone begins making contact with Finn. It all starts with Finn finding Russian nesting dolls in odd places. Those types of dolls were an integral part of the sisters’ childhood years. The first couple of dolls that appear are chalked up to happenstance, but as they manifest themselves with increasing frequency, it adds up to much more than coincidence.

Meanwhile, a former neighbor of Finn and Layla --- a crusty customer who is getting up in years --- swears that he briefly saw Layla outside of the home she shared with Finn. Ellen then thinks she caught a glimpse of her as well. Matters really get complicated when Finn starts receiving a series of emails from a sender who is initially anonymous. The sender eventually makes their identity known and is clear that they want Finn to break off his relationship with Ellen. The situation escalates from there, with Finn on the horns of the ultimate dilemma. Then everything changes. Things can’t help but end badly, in ways that you do and don’t expect.

I was sure that I had it all figured out by the middle of the book, and was delighted to be proven wrong when Paris went right there and rubbed my incorrect conclusion in my face. I guessed correctly what was going on before the end of the book, but not much before the big reveal. That said, the ending requires just a tad more suspension of disbelief than I was willing to grant, for reasons that I can’t disclose without, well, revealing the reveal. On the strength of her first two books, Paris already has a strong and loyal following, and will not lose any (or many) of those with this effort, though newcomers may be slightly disappointed. The journey to the end, though, is more than worth the (minimal) letdown at the conclusion of the ride.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on June 21, 2018

Bring Me Back
by B.A. Paris