Bring Me Back
by Paris, B. A.

A decade after a man's wife disappears without a trace, his new fiancée makes a discovery that raises questions about what happened and whether his first wife may still be alive. By the best-selling author of The Breakdown.

B.A. PARIS is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown. She grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. Bring Me Back is her third novel.

The past comes back to haunt Finn McQuaid, who is brought up short by what seems the reappearance of his former lover, Layla, who vanished 12 years earlier. After being cleared of Layla's murder, Finn gradually became close to her older sister, Ellen, and they were recently engaged. Then the appearance of a set of Russian dolls-significant to only Layla, Ellen, and Finn-suggest that Layla may be alive and nearby. In Paris' previous thrillers, male characters have turned out to be not what they seem; this is also true of Finn, known as a gentle giant in his youth before his hair-trigger temper showed itself. But the questionable character of Finn pales compared to those of Layla and Ellen, as they seem to compete for the man they both love, and questions of sanity arise. The narrative toggles between the past, when Finn met Layla and their relationship developed, and the present, as Finn's comfortable life is splintering. Paris adroitly ramps up tension to a complicated resolution that feels a bit drawn out. Compelling much of the way, but finally less satisfactory than Paris' previous The Breakdown (2017). Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A man whose girlfriend disappeared more than a decade ago suspects she may still be alive. Twelve years ago, Finn McQuaid's girlfriend, Layla Gray, disappeared without a trace while they visited a rest stop while on holiday in France. He was eventually cleared as a suspect and is shocked when Exeter-based police detective Tony Heddon contacts him with the news that an ex-neighbor of Finn and Layla's claims to have seen her outside of their old cottage in Devon. Finn gets another surprise when he arrives at the home he shares with, wait for it, Layla's sister Ellen —now his fiancee—whom he evidently bonded with while mourning Layla's disappearance. Finn, who narrates, makes it clear that Ellen is no Layla and constantly tries to convince himself that he truly (really!) loves her. Now she's found a little Russian nesting doll on the sidewalk in front of their house, similar to a doll that was found at the place where Layla disappeared. Then the dolls begin appearing everywhere, and Finn starts getting some pretty strange emails that may be from Layla herself. Could she be alive, and if so, what happened all those years ago? As the emails get more ominous, Finn falls all over himself chasing the clues and offers insights into his past with the complicated Layla. Paris (The Breakdown, 2017, etc.) quickly ramps up this short novel's paranoia and tension; Finn is the consummate unreliable narrator—or is he? But Finn is largely two-dimensional, and Ellen is little more than a prop. Although Paris seeds the tale with plenty of clues, the denouement takes a turn that will stretch the reader's credulity to the limit, and beyond. Far-fetched fare. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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