BRING ME BACK - by B. A. Paris

Published: June 2018 - HQ 
Genres: Adult / thriller / contemporary / mystery
Pages: 384.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence
Format: eBook.
Source: Netgalley.

A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she's not inside. No one ever sees her again. Ten years later he's engaged to be married; he's happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She's turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love. As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?

I was so looking forward to reading this book. I hadn't ever tried the author before, but the premise was fantastic. It sounded deliciously twisty.

But the writing is weak. There is a gross excess of telling instead of showing, and that made it impossible for me to get immersed into the story; I never got to feel the anger, the pain, the torment, of the characters - it's all simply reported. The bland language doesn't help, either.
The setting of the story isn't fleshed out well enough. It's never fully realised. I wanted more of it. I wanted an atmosphere, and the setting never gives you that.

It's very cheesy and melodramatic. The last lines of almost every chapter end with an ominous cliffhanger such as "You have ten days" or "But then she spoiled everything" or "It was time to find out!" It's just so....eye-roll worthy. The anticipation the author's trying to instill in his readers is too forced. It's cheesy and overdone.

The end of the book has some nice twists. But they are also the kind of twists that make you think "is that really, really clever, or is it just totally bizarre and confusing?" That's how I feel. I'm not sure that the twists do make complete sense, and I for one am still very puzzled with the ending. The details of the ending's incidents are very weak and far-fetched, and they aren't written convincingly. I don't know quite what to think.

“Sometimes we lie for the greater good, don’t we? I wish that’s what you had done.”

The characters are flat. I hate the narrator - the protagonist - because he comes across so aloof and arrogant, and the secondary cast are dull and one-dimensional, too. No one is vivid and layered; they're all half-finished beings with tunnel purpose.
And the author never digs deep with them. That goes for the rest of the book, too. He just doesn't go below the surface, and so we get a weak, glossy surface-level story with no real depth or engagement. It's hollow.

Bring Me Back is badly written with flat characters, and does nothing to draw the reader into its clutches and keep them there. It also sends out mixed messages about abuse, which are never properly resolved. 

No comments