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Bring Me Back

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Finn and Layla: young and in love, their whole lives ahead of them. Driving back from a holiday in France one night, Finn pulls in to a service station, leaving Layla alone in the car. When he returns, minutes later, Layla has vanished, never to be seen again. That’s the story Finn tells the police. It’s the truth – but not the whole truth.

Twelve years later, Finn has built a new life with Ellen, Layla’s sister, when he receives a phone call. Someone has seen Layla. But is it her – or someone pretending to be her? If it is her, what does she want? And what does she know about the night she disappeared?

302 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 8, 2018

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About the author

B.A. Paris

21 books17k followers
B A Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, Bring Me Back, The Dilemma, The Therapist and The Prisoner. Having sold over 5 million copies worldwide, she is a New York Times bestseller as well as a Sunday Times bestseller. Her books have been translated into 41 languages. Having lived in France for many years, she now lives in the UK.
Her seventh novel, THE GUEST, is due January 2024.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,173 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
February 27, 2018
What is it you want Layla?

1 1/2 stars. I swear I gave it my best shot. I really wanted to love this book. Paris' Behind Closed Doors kept me on the edge of my seat, but her sophomore novel The Breakdown bored me, so I figured two out of three ain't bad, right? Sorry, it's a Meat Loaf kinda morning.

But this book is so CHEESY.

I'll give it an extra half star for keeping me reading despite rolling my eyes every few pages, but that's the most enthusiasm I can muster for it. The twist/reveal of the book may be shocking to new mystery readers, but it's actually been used by too many authors for me not to see it coming at this point. And many of those authors have made it more convincing than Paris managed here.

Bring Me Back alternates between the past, in which Finn (the narrator) and his girlfriend Layla take a holiday in France and she disappears; the present, in which we find ourselves ten years later with Finn about to marry Layla's sister Ellen; and first person accounts from Layla, where she mostly talks like a comic book villain, figuratively twirling her mustache. Muahaha.

Most of the book takes place in the present. Despite believing Layla is gone for good, signs start popping up that she may be alive. Her beloved Russian dolls start appearing everywhere, and when Finn receives emails from a mysterious source who seems to know too much, it becomes obvious something nefarious is going on.

Problem is, it's all a bit like a slightly comical (though unintentionally so) B-movie. Every chapter ends with some really cheesy line that is supposed to be ominous. Like:
"I don't ever want you to be scared of me," I say.
Not like Layla was, that night, I silently add.
So I log on to my emails and find one from Layla.

It was just so ridiculous I wanted to laugh. The narrative reminds me of the criminologist from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, raising his eyebrow at the camera and saying "Or had they?"

And it was difficult to become invested in any of the characters' stories. Finn seems like a dick from the get-go (and a dumbass - why would he go meet someone he suspects is a kidnapper?), Ellen and the secondary characters are bland and one-dimensional, and don't even get me started on Layla. There was no hook; no exciting questions. The middle dragged as I was forced to ponder what exactly I was supposed to be caring about - are we supposed to be afraid of Layla? Are we supposed to care about the romantic relationships and who Finn will choose?

In general, I prefer more carefully-crafted plots with more complex characters than Paris offers up here, but I can definitely enjoy pulpy, nasty thrillers like her Behind Closed Doors. Unfortunately, though, I don't think this book was particularly clever OR fast-paced and enjoyable. I guess her first book might have been a one-off for me.

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Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
794 reviews12.4k followers
July 1, 2018
Entertaining but utterly ridiculous!

The plot is derived from a soap opera and the main character is a moron. However, it's a fun mindless read!

Unfortunately, I was less than impressed with Bring Me Back. I feel like all the soap opera watching I have done helped me to figure things out rather early on. I was hoping I was wrong, but sadly I was not. When all was revealed, I was laughing and I don’t think I was meant to be. I am capable of suspending disbelief but this goes beyond. I really could have cared less about Finn, Ellen, and Layla. They lacked depth and intelligence. Peggy the dog was the only character I cared about.

Despite all the issues I had, I did have fun reading this and I enjoyed how the Russian nesting dolls were woven in.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,385 reviews7,088 followers
February 13, 2018
Holy Moly! The 'Do Not Disturb’ sign was definitely displayed (mentally if not physically) while I read Bring Me Back! Seriously, if this book had been edible, I would have made myself ill devouring it!

British couple Finn and his girlfriend Layla, are on their way home from a skiing trip in France when he pulls into a secluded, dimly lit area late at night to use the restroom. When he returns to the car Layla is nowhere to be found!

Fast forward 12 years and Finn has moved on with his life, in fact he’s now in a relationship with Layla’s sister Ellen, and they’re living happily together in a picturesque Cotswold village. However, knowing how B A Paris's previous books played out, I knew that this idyllic situation wasn't going to last! Someone claiming to be Layla contacts Finn by email, and also begins leaving Russian dolls outside his house and sending them in the mail. These dolls have huge significance for Layla and Ellen, but is it really Layla, who’s behind it?

My oh my, who’d have thought that Russian dolls could have such frightening significance! This was a fantastic storyline, and for me it was the plot rather than the characters that was the star of the show, and literally had me holding my breath at times. The tension began on page one and really never let up, with the author using misdirection - smoke and mirrors to maximum effect, and though I kind of guessed where it was heading, it didn't pan out exactly as I thought it would, which meant I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Utterly gripping!

*Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for my ARC. I have given an honest review in exchange *
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,440 reviews78.1k followers
September 28, 2022
Please don't hate me. I have mad respect for B.A. Paris; I felt her debut novel Behind Closed Doors was a forerunner in the domestic abuse thriller genre and I think the quality of her writing is incredible. Unfortunately, this one was just too over the top for me.

Like a few other people have mentioned previously, I was gripped and fully invested during "Part One". I did find I had already guessed initially where "Part Two" was going, but wanted to keep an open mind. I didn't find the characters particularly likable or well developed; this is a short novel focused on moving the plot along and not particularly on character development, but Paris kept me turning the pages and unable to put the book down.

It had started going downhill in "Part Two" for me, but where the story really lost me was "Part Three". The twist is simultaneously one that has been done before many times in many ways, yet also one that is so far fetched and wackadoodle that there is no way it could be remotely plausible. This may be due to the fact that I've read so many thrillers; someone who is newer to the genre and a little less jaded will likely take to the twist much more graciously than I was able to.

In short, the pages were easy to turn, but in the end I can't say that I enjoyed this one. I'm still on board the author's fan train and will eagerly await her next novel. <3

*I received a copy for review via the publisher.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,538 reviews9,830 followers
May 11, 2023
Bring Me Back is the third novel written by one of my favorite Thriller authors, the talented B.A. Paris.

I cannot tell you the last time an author has swept me off my feet like she has.

This story, like her previous two, starts off with a bang and NEVER lets up.

The speed at which her stories kick off is one of the most consistent and memorable aspects for me.

There is no time wasted, no numerous pages of filler to get through prior to any excitement. As a reader, you are in it right away and I appreciate that.

For example, with this one, by paragraph 8, I am already yelling at our protagonist, you did what!?

I love that!

Following two perspectives, through both past and present timelines, this narrative is expertly woven together to keep you at the edge of your seat. I had so many theories.

This is the answer. No, wait, that can't be it. Okay, okay, I have it, this is it. No??

Bring Me Back is not just psychologically intense, but as with her other novels, the character development is strong.

I find myself becoming so attached to her characters, even the unlikable ones.

With her main characters especially, I feel like they are my friends doing stupid things and making stupid mistakes and I just want to shake them. I'll admit, I do scold them frequently; out loud.

I feel it is best to go into her stories blind. The only thing you need to know about this is that Bring Me Back is a taut Psychological Thriller that will keep you frantically turning pages until the very end.

And what an ending it is!

In summation, I really enjoyed this one. I CANNOT wait to see what she comes up with next.

Thank you so much to St. Martin's Press for sending me an advanced copy of this book for review. To B.A. Paris, thank you so much for writing.

My Queen of Manipulation.

Profile Image for Debra .
2,295 reviews35k followers
February 6, 2018
3.5 stars

Have you ever read a book where you think "It was okay. I liked it." and then find yourself thinking about it and then realize that you enjoyed it much more than you initially thought? I had that experience with this book. Upon reading it, I kept thinking about it and the plot and realized that B.A. Paris pulled her plot twist off in a clever way. I also realized that there was a clue or two thrown in and although I read the words, I missed it but then had my "AHA!" moment a couple of hours after finishing the book. This is also a book, I thought I had figured it out, and was wrong. I love when this happens. I really enjoy when an Author surprises me.

A young Couple, Finn and Layla are traveling through France when they pull over and Finn goes into the restroom. When he comes back to the car, his girlfriend/fiancé is missing. An investigation ensues but Layla is never found. She has completely vanished. Her belongings are still in the car but there is no sign of her. She is never seen or heard from again. What happened to her? Finn is devastated and isolates for a long time.

Finn, is finally ready to move on with his life and has found love again - with Layla's sister, Ellen. Drawn together in their grief, they form a relationship which becomes romantic. Now, they are engaged to be married and everything seems to be going great. Then one day, Ellen finds a missing Russian doll which she lost when she was a child. Only three people know about the Russian Dolls: Ellen, Finn and Layla.

Then Finn also begins to find more Russian dolls and receives messages from an unknown person who later reveals herself as Layla.

Welcome to Finn's nightmare. Is Layla still alive? Is someone toying with him? Why get in touch now? What do the messages and dolls signify? Finn suspects anyone and everyone. Who wouldn't be freaked out.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave!

Was this my favorite B.A. Paris book? No! But as I said, she did a great job crafting her story. She had me thinking about it hours after finishing the book. This book moves at a very nice pace and for me was a fast read. The mystery of what really happened the night Layla went missing and who is leaving behind the dolls and sending email messages really drive the story.

So why not a higher rating? I still felt there were some unanswered questions and the need to suspend some disbelief. I also felt the ending was a little rushed. But overall an enjoyable suspense/thriller/mystery.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Kristin (KC).
251 reviews25.1k followers
September 24, 2018
*2.5 Stars*

After having LOVED this author’s past two novels, it pains me that I cannot say I loved this one as well. But I can say some other *stuff*, so here goes...

I’ll start with the positive because life is good: When I open a B.A. Paris novel, I know I’m about to be put under her spell. I’m ready to be completely transported into the life of a slightly repulsive human who starts reading with the sun and doesn’t stop until she looks up and realizes an entire day has ended with her still in the same pajamas that may or may not have the telltale stains of vanilla-flavored coffee binging.

Blame it on B.A.

Because Bring Me Back was no exception on that front. As expected, I couldn’t put this book down, despite it not being particularly fast-paced. There’s something about this author’s storytelling that is so compelling and easy to digest. Simple, yet forceful and imaginative.

Not every story is going to work for every reader. What didn’t quite work for me was the actual content of this one...

Although wonderfully conveyed, the plot itself didn’t hold much intrigue. The characters never seemed to come to life. I felt as though we were only shown outlines and whispers of what was intended to be a solid, complex cast. I wanted to know them better, each of them, but never got the chance.

Much of the story felt like a wild mental goose chase, circling around the same issue without much progression or variety.

The “twist” didn’t pack too much of a punch, which isn’t always a bad thing, but certainly would have brought more power to the read in this case.

There also seemed to be a lot of “telling” and not enough showing. I wanted to see more events unfold
for myself, rather than being told what took place.

All of that said, I read this in less than 24 hours, which is rare, and a solid testament to this author’s capabilities. True talent, and I look forward to more!

Thanks a bunch for the digital copy, Dearest Netgalley!
Profile Image for Tammy.
512 reviews430 followers
December 27, 2019
I don’t mind suspending belief (it’s commercial fiction after all) but when I enter the realm of the ludicrous count me out.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,070 reviews3,614 followers
June 6, 2018
Well done B.A. Paris! If you are a serious thriller fan, this book has everything you crave in a perfectly crafted thriller!

When Finn’s girlfriend Layla vanishes one night he’s left devastated. Like being frozen in time, he’s been unable to move on for years. Part of the problem… he can’t quite remember all the circumstances behind her disappearance.

Years later, Layla’s sister Ellen enters his life and he feels blessed to have another chance at finding love. But as is so often the case, the past has a nasty habit of finding its way to the surface.

If you’ve been reading reviews for this book you know that Russian Dolls make repeated appearances throughout. For some readers it was just too much. For me...I loved it! I had my own set of dolls growing up and it actually brought back some fond memories.

This book will keep you guessing to the final page. I had that rare fluttering of excitement the entire time reading this book. Couldn’t wait to see where it took me. And by the time I reached the end I was still left with a cliff-hangar moment. Delicious!

This is my third book by B.A. Paris and by far my favorite so far! Cannot wait for her next!!

A fantastic Traveling Sister read! 🤗💞

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and B.A. Paris for an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Melisa.
324 reviews515 followers
June 2, 2022
Addictive, fast-paced, and mind boggling!

It’s been awhile since I could refer to a book as “unputdownable” but here we are. Finally!

Every single theory I had about where the plot was going was given to the main character as part of his ideas at a little past the halfway point, and I was stuck there with my jaw dropped thinking, well then. This author just flipped the script and threw out everything I was thinking so where are we going to go from here?!

I did figure it out at about three quarters of the way through but I didn’t even care because it was that good!!

I have a feeling this is going to be a polarizing book (like another book I’m thinking of which will remain unnamed because it could be a potential spoiler) - readers are going to either love it or not. I’m for sure on the loved it side of things!

Thanks a mil to B.A. Paris (I’m going to go buy your other books now!), St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.3k followers
July 6, 2018
4.5 stars for this ridiculously fun, brilliant & entertaining book!

BRING ME BACK by B. A. PARIS had me racing through the pages and finishing this in just two sittings which I haven’t done in quite some time. I really upped my Kindle “time left in book” reading average with this book.

So here’s the thing about this book. It was an extremely enjoyable, entertaining, fun, and ridiculous psychological thriller novel that had me totally engrossed and interested right from the very first page. The psychological aspect to this novel I thought was extremely clever and well executed. I know that doesn’t sound right but that is the way I felt while reading this one. I wouldn’t say that this storyline was all that suspenseful or thrilling but I absolutely love the way that B. A. Paris tells a story though. There were definitely some questionable storytelling and one liners here that had me rolling my eyes a little bit but all in all nothing really irked me and I absolutely loved the Epilogue. Let’s just say the last line of this book I gave a little whoop and thought it was a good one and thank you B. A. Paris for that!!

B. A. PARIS delivers a very readable, unique and fun story here with unreliable characters that weaves back and forth in a then and now perspective with short chapters to make this an extremely quick and easy read.

So if you are looking for a compulsive read with the help of some Russian Stacking Dolls to solve this mystery then this book is for you! Would recommend!

Publishing Date: June 19, 2018

Thank you so much to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and B. A. Paris for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.

Review written and posted on our themed book blog Two Sisters Lost In A Coulee Reading.

Coulee: a term applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley.
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
135 reviews17.3k followers
July 19, 2018
3, I'm never going to get it right, turns out I'm the worst detective - don't call me if you need help solving a mystery stars!

Another great book of the month choice by the Traveling Friends!

Bring Me Back tells the story of 3 main players: Finn, Layla, and Ellen. Finn and Layla were madly in love over a decade ago, until one fateful night Layla goes missing from a gas station parking lot, never to be seen or heard from again. Finn and Layla's sister Ellen fall in love some years later and are set to be married. Following their wedding announcement, Finn and Ellen begin receiving Russian nesting dolls (the meaning of which connects Ellen and Layla from their childhood) and thus commences the mystery! Who is sending these dolls? Is it really Layla? If so, where has she been? Why is she back now?

This is my second B.A. Paris novel and while I did like this more than Behind Closed Doors I still couldn't bring myself to make the leap from 3 stars to 4. B.A has a unique ability to build suspense, sometimes seemingly without an actual story to back it up (honestly, a feat I can't even begin to comprehend). However, there wasn't a lot of thrill here. I did read this in less than 24 hours and that is a testimate to the entertainment value of the book.

There are 2 main POVs and we do get a "before" and "now" view of the story chapter to chapter. I didn't find it overly distracting in this, however, I also don't think it added anything here for me either. The character development was surprisingly sub-par for me. Aside from our 3 main players, we have Finn's best friend Harry. Harry is the real MVP of this story. The kind of support he's given Finn throughout his life is truly unbelievable. BUT, we aren't given any background into that. I don't understand where this loyalty came from or see at all how Finn earned this.

There's some traditional and not so traditional red herring stuff going on in here but it isn't overwhelming and I felt like it was pretty well done. It certainly kept my focus from what the outcome actually ended up being. The ending is 'tied up nicely' in that you're given a final "a-ha" moment and B.A. gives you all of the answers you've been asking for. I appreciate that the novel is self-contained but I personally prefer to be given information steadily throughout with a moment in the end where it all comes together but it isn't given to me. Past that, again, the ending didn't feel fully developed to me. While all the questions were answered, I don't really feel it was all that plausible. I kind of feel like B.A. got to the end, threw in a twist, then went twistception crazy and wanted a twist within a twist within a twist and it got a little convoluted.

While this wasn't my favorite thriller / mystery / suspense novel it was definitely a page-turner and a really unique concept. I think if Bring Me Back intrigues you and you're feeling the synopsis it's definitely worth picking up! I've been binging so many of these types of novels it's hard to not compare and this one just wasn't quite up to that 4th star for me.
Profile Image for Sue.
2,691 reviews170 followers
January 24, 2018

Whoop whoop this authors done it again, shes brought me to my reading knees.

This authors view on domestic noir is amazing, never seems to fail making my spine tingle and that hairs on the back of my neck come up on end. I always feel a chill when I read B A Paris books.

Finns girlfriend went missing while they were travelling on holiday some 12 years ago.
Never found.

Time has moved on for Finn now, he is engaged to Emma who happens to be his missing girlfriends sister!

What a well weaved story. Then we find that Finn left out some things when reporting his girlfriend missing.

I did guess a few things as the story went on, it didn't detract from the enjoyment one iota, it enhanced it I thought.

Its laid out in alternating chapters between two main characters.

The tension sure build brick upon solid brick.

Dark secrets.
Gripping storyline.

I 100% assure you, you won't get much sleep.

Sleep with the lights ON.

My thanks to HQ and Net Galley or my early copy.
Profile Image for Mackenzie - PhDiva Books.
418 reviews14.4k followers
June 20, 2018
Unsettling in the best possible way!!!

Does anyone put the “psychology” into psychological thriller quite as well as B. A. Paris??? Paris really has a way with messed up characters and disturbing situations. This book is a mind game from the first chapter right through the very last page. I finished this book two days ago and the story is haunting me! What a great read!

As happens with Paris, early reviews are largely positive, with a mix of “did-not-finish”. Most of those seem to struggle connecting with the characters. I urge readers to give this book time! You don’t always have to like all of the characters to enjoy the ride. And I think some characters will ultimately surprise you—all are not telling the full story right away, which made the development points for each character so compelling. This is a book that grows in suspense and makes you uneasy, right along with the characters.

12 years ago

Finn is living the Bachelor life in London when he meets Layla. Instantly, Finn forgets his current girlfriend and develops strong feelings for the enigmatic Layla. A year into their relationship Finn and his Layla are on their way home from a vacation in France, when they pull over so Finn can use the restroom. He is gone only a few minutes, and when he returns Layla’s door is open and she is missing. Finn looks everywhere but Layla is gone…


Finn has moved away from his cottage with Layla to a new home in Simonsbridge. After a long grieving period, Finn moved on to other relationships before falling for Ellen, whom he has just gotten engaged to. But Ellen isn’t just any woman, she’s Layla’s older sister. Ignoring the gossip from those who remember the story of Layla’s disappearance, Finn and Ellen have created a wonderful, happy life together.

Until one day Ellen find a small token on the wall outside their house…

The token is innocuous to all but Ellen and Finn. You see, there is only one person outside of themselves who could possibly know the meaning of this token…Layla. But how can that be?

Is it possible Layla is still alive?

The premise of the story was enough to make me read this book, but I also have to say that Finn’s struggle to comprehend the meaning of the events is what kept me hooked. I wouldn’t say I particularly connected with Finn, but I did feel so much empathy for him. Finn in a way is his own worst enemy. He is such a passionate person, and so was Layla. This is what drew them together. Ellen is Layla’s opposite in so many ways, and yet she is good for Finn, if only he will let her be. But you can see his struggle to truly forget the past.

The love of Finn and Layla was entirely different from the love Finn shares with Ellen. Sometimes I wanted to shake him and say “why can’t you let yourself be happy?!?!?” But of course, you can’t. One thing that was particularly engaging about the storyline was the lack of closure. As much as Finn wants to convince himself that Layla is likely dead, her disappearance and lack of finality leaves that small part in his brain that makes him wonder if it is possible she did survive somehow. That lack of closure would drive anyone mad, particularly when the token shows up.

Finn’s heart is fighting with his mind. He knows the likelihood that Layla is still alive but hasn’t made contact with anyone for 12 years is nearly impossible, and yet he wants it to be true. The story is somewhat slow, but steady. It is never stagnant. This was one that I looked forward to diving back into each time I had to put it down. I’m so thrilled that B. A. Paris has continued to write such compelling novels, and I look forward to her next one!

My sincerest gratitude to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and B. A. Paris for providing me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews28 followers
April 27, 2018
Great beginning....
.... mediocre middle....
Psychological thriller with Russian Dolls? A little goofy....but I was a willing reader.
While there was suspense...there was also something silly too. Silly sentences sneak into the dialogue..., but I was still a willing reader. The addictive quality was there too.
Finn is the guy entangled between Ellen and Layla.
It wasn’t lip-smacking great...nor nail-biting haunting...but the twist at the end was carefully constructed and pretty good!
I trusted none of the characters from beginning to end.

To me — this book can be compared with a meal that satisfies your hunger.. not bad.. ‘good enough’.

It has some shrewd distinctive mysterious moments.
I think most B.A Paris fans will enjoy this ‘enough’ too... and some fans more than I did.

Thank You St. Martin’s, Netgalley, and B.A. Paris
Profile Image for Dorie  - Cats&Books :).
993 reviews2,780 followers
July 21, 2018
Sometimes you read an author’s work and realize that you and the author just don’t “click”, that is the case with me and B.A. Paris. I had read “Behind Closed Doors” and did not really enjoy it but I was willing to give this new book a read. This is what I discovered.

The author has a writing style that “tells” rather than “shows” the reader what is going on. It also includes lots and lots of questions for the reader to ruminate on, example “I had put it down to a sensitivity for my feelings--but could her reserve have been for a darker, secret reason? Had Layla somehow made her way back to Lewis after she disappeared from the picnic area? Is that why Ellen has brought me here, why she left the link to CalMac ferries on her computer, because Layla is there?” This is just one example, there are many, many questions addressed to the reader and for me this just doesn’t work in fact the repetitive use of this format is somewhat irritating.

I like strong characters in my books, no matter what genre, and Layla, Ellen and Finn are not well described or developed. We know very little of their lives except what is happening in the present, and even that is questionable since they are unreliable narrators. Harry, Finn’s previous partner and now still a friend and Ruby, Finn’s ex-girlfriend, are very minimally described.

The premise was interesting, “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. “

“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 could go on but I will just annoy the fans of this book and this author so I will just chalk it up to not enjoying the writing style. The ending was interesting but I was left thinking “really, this is the answer we get”, it just was not plausible. I’m willing to suspend belief for a while, particularly with thrillers, but this was just not worth the effort in the end.

I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Julie .
4,029 reviews58.9k followers
June 21, 2018
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Twelve years ago, Finn’s girlfriend, Layla, vanishes into thin air. Naturally, he was a suspect, but as time goes by, he is eventually cleared of any wrong doing, and even becomes good friends with the detective working the case. He’s now living with Layla’s sister, Ellen, and the couple are planning to marry. However, a former neighbor swears he’s seen Layla. Not long after this alleged sighting, Ellen thinks she’s seen Layla, as well. Not only that, Russian dolls, which have a strong connection to Layla, start turning up in the most unusual places… then Finn receives a series of emails suggesting Layla is still alive. Is it possible? Has Layla resurfaced after all these years? And why now?

After the success of ‘Behind Closed Doors” I was worried about Paris’s follow up novel, hoping it wouldn’t fall prey to the dreaded ‘second book syndrome’. I breathed a sigh of relief when her second novel passed the test, proving Paris had the chops needed to continue parting waves in the psychological thriller category. I relaxed, feeling confident, though not overly confident, just reasonable sure, that ‘Bring Me Back’ would pass muster, too. But, unfortunately this one fell a little short.

The story started off strong, but, I think too much was revealed, too soon, and I latched on to that right away, instantly figuring out the direction the story was about to take. The plot wasn’t as tight, not as polished, as in Paris’s previous novels. The attempts at casting doubts on various characters just didn’t sway me from my original supposition, which sucked all the suspense out of the equation. I stayed with it hoping an unexpected twist would knock me over, but everything continued, messily, at that, leading me right to the destination I had predicted. Even the ironical twist at the end fell flat.

However, I must admit, I am harder on Psychological Thrillers than on almost any other genre. This category requires the author to mess with the reader’s mind, to leave them totally in the dark, second guessing everything, word or deed, along the way. There aren’t many props an author can rely on to pull this off, and I’m sure it’s a real challenge, but I seem to really need that challenge. I get bored easily, otherwise.

But, as I’ve said before, there are too many books in this category competing for readers attention, and many of them who did not have the benefit of a big publishing push could easily hold their own against this book. The psychological thriller category is too saturated, in my opinion, and Paris is going to have to really step it up a notch to stay relevant in this genre. This one is okay, but it failed to wow me.

3 stars
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Linda.
1,230 reviews1,278 followers
January 29, 2018

Plans that most certainly go awry.

A young British couple seem to be pivoting on a dangerously slippery slope that was never left behind on a skiing trip in France. Finn, an investment broker, pulls his car off the road in a secluded area in order to use the restroom facility. He leaves his girlfriend, Layla, asleep in the passenger seat. When he returns, Layla is missing. Panic-stricken, Finn searches for her. Not a sign of Layla.....not even a thread.

Fast forward twelve years later.

Our guy, Finn, has gone on to make some pretty big bucks in the finance game thanks to hard work and to the support from his best friend and partner, Harry. Harry realizes that Finn will never be the same since the disappearance of Layla. But the chess pieces on this board have changed drastically and Finn is now engaged to Layla's sister, Ellen. Finn finds something reassuring in the likes of Ellen even though she is a much more subdued version of her sister. They live together in Simonsbridge as they plan their upcoming wedding seemingly content.

Welcome to Bizarro World.......

Ellen alerts Finn to the fact that she found the smallest doll in a Russian doll set that had been missing since she was a girl. She found it on the ledge outside the door. The presence leaves her unsettled because no one knew of its significance except for Layla. When identical tiny dolls begin to show up in odd places, Finn and Ellen begin to question these events in earnest. Is it really Layla or is it someone who has a vendetta against the couple for unknown reasons?

B.A. Paris knows how to flip the switch on the wild and the weird. This one is served with a huge scoop of creep and a side order of wackadoo for dessert. The book is sliced into three main parts with the beginning chapters noted as "Before" and "Now". This gives a little backstory to the backstory. The voice is toned in the first person of each of the main characters......kinda like walking around inside their heads on a shifty floor. You may figure out what's what before the ending, but it's a genuine: "I don't care really.....I'm here for the thrill of the ride." So buckle up, Buttercup.

I received a copy of Bring Me Back through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to St. Martin's Press and to the talented B.A. Paris for the opportunity.

Profile Image for Deanna .
665 reviews12.4k followers
June 23, 2018
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

2.75 Stars

Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend, Layla disappeared from a rest stop on their way home from vacation. In his statement to police, he said that Layla was in the car when he stopped to use the restroom. When he got back she was nowhere to be found. His phone wasn't getting a signal so he drove to the nearest gas station to ask for help.

“It was the truth. But not quite the whole truth”

Finn was arrested on suspicion of Layla’s murder. However, her body hadn’t turned up and there was insufficient evidence to prove Finn did anything wrong, so he was cleared of any wrongdoing. Layla was never seen again.

Twelve years later, Finn has moved on and is even engaged. Finn and his fiancé are heading out for dinner one evening when Finn’s phone rings. Iit is one of the detectives who worked on Layla’s case calling. Apparently, one of Finn’s old neighbors came into the police station and told the detective that he saw Layla the previous day.

“He said he saw her standing outside the cottage and that when he went to speak to her, she ran off”

At first, Finn is shocked but both Finn and the detective figure the elderly neighbor must have been seeing things. They let it go, but the thought stays stuck in the back of Finn’s mind. And as days go by more and more strange things keep happening.

The story flips back and forth between “then” and “now” as we learn more about Finn's relationship with Layla as well as his relationship with his fiancee. Finn feels like he's losing control. He doesn't know who he can trust.

So what really happened the night Layla disappeared? Could she really be alive after all of these years?

After reading and enjoying the author’s two previous novels, I was hoping I would enjoy this one too….and for the most part, I did. Suspending disbelief is necessary for this novel (as with most thrillers), but that really didn't bother me. But I did find that there was some repetition that was a bit distracting. I also felt like things really slowed down midway through. Thankfully, things did pick up again and I was pulled back into the story.

For quite a while I was pretty sure I had it all figured out. But the author tossed in a few red herrings as well as some twists and turns that threw me off. I may have been right about a couple of things but I didn't see everything coming…ESPECIALLY that ending!!

So although there were a few things that bothered me about the story, overall I still enjoyed it. In my opinion, this was another clever psychological suspense novel from B.A Paris, and I am excited to see what she comes up with next.

I'd like to thank Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for JanB .
1,146 reviews2,532 followers
August 4, 2018
2.5 stars
I read this with the Traveling Friends group on Goodreads and most enjoyed it more than I did.

This book has a compelling premise and a strong start. I thought the first half was interesting enough even with some inconsistencies. I was still invested enough to keep reading to see how the story played out and I even had a theory about what was happening.

First the good:
- I partially guessed the conclusion but not 100% so the author surprised me.
- This is a quick and fast read. It would be perfect if you want an easy read at the beach, airport, or anytime you want a book that doesn’t require a lot of thought or concentration.
- it would make a fun Lifetime movie, and I mean that in a good way
- it wasn't terrible but it also didn't wow me

But then after the 50% mark things went sideways for me for the following reasons:
-too much telling, not enough showing.
- the plot didn’t advance much in the second half and there was a lot of repetition
-I grew more and more disillusioned with the story as I read
- the aforementioned inconsistencies, which I can’t go into without spoilers.
- the Russian nesting dolls were supposed to be creepy but they were not. They were mostly annoying and pointless
- the protagonist is dumb as a box of rocks
- the ending. I am sometimes willing to suspend disbelief but not here. I was surprised but not in a good way. I found it preposterous. Maybe I'm just burned out on the psychological thriller genre.

The reviews are all over the place, with a love it or hate it reaction. I was somewhere in the middle. Give it a try, you may end up in the love it camp!

** I received my copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,018 followers
February 13, 2018
I didn’t have as much enthusiasm for this book as some other reviewers. It does start out strong. The premise is that twelve years ago, Finn’s girlfriend went missing at a rest stop on their way from a trip to Paris back to England. Now that he’s engaged to be married to someone else, suddenly there are clues that maybe his ex-girlfriend wasn’t kidnapped/murdered as Finn and the cops initially thought.

There’s all sorts of page-turning suspense for the first half of the book. You don’t know who to believe, which of course is what makes this kind of book fun. Then, for me, the middle got dull, and the ending had a good twist, but I didn’t buy the execution of how it was revealed, and I can’t tell you why lest I ruin the surprise.

Thanks so much to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES JUNE 19, 2018.
For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
June 3, 2018
3.65 Stars* (rounded up)

What would you do if your past came back to haunt you? Could you let it go? Would you want to? I know my answer… the question is: how do Finn and Ellen, the main characters in “Bring Me Back” by B. A. Paris, feel about it. Read on to find out my friends.

Now: Finn is happily engaged to Ellen, living a quiet life in the suburbs, just the two of them. Being with Finn, well, for Ellen it is everything she ever wanted.

Before: Finn was engaged to Layla. His love for her was extremely intense. He needed her, was consumed by her and wanted to be with her every second. Then she disappeared, out of thin air. That was twelve years ago.

Finn has never gotten over it. Neither has Ellen. Layla was Ellen’s sister, you see and Finn has been in love with both of them. Tsk. Tsk. Now, twelve years later, both Finn and Ellen start receiving Russian Dolls (reminders from Ellen’s childhood) and other notes and such, making them think Layla might still be alive. Finn is haunted by this.. by Layla, whom he was always been obsessed with. He can’t sleep, becoming more and more withdrawn, while Ellen is excited at the idea. Could her sister be alive? Is your pulse racing? Are your hands shaking? The answer should be yes.

B. A. Paris’ “Bring Me Back” is a unique mystery / suspense which short intense chapters and well developed characters in which I was immediately invested. It is a quick, easy read which I flew through in a matter of mere hours. While I guessed parts of the story by the midway part, another threw me complete for a loop and that part was a bit far-fetched for me. B. A. Paris is an expert at immediately capturing a readers attention and she grabbed mine from the get go. Having read her previous novels, I would say that this one didn’t quite measure up. That said, if you liked B. A. Paris’s other books, I think you’ll like this one as well as “Bring Me Back” is a fun, thrilling ride.

This was a Traveling Sister read which was a lot of fun for all of us. For full traveling sister group reviews, please see Norma and Brenda’s blog: https://twosisterslostinacoulee.com

Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press, NetGalley, and B. A. Paris for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Published on Goodreads, NetGalley, Twitter and Instagram on 6.3.18.
Profile Image for Holly  B (Short break!).
815 reviews1,874 followers
May 3, 2018
Russia, Russia, Russian Dolls….

It seemed like an invasion of the Russian dolls! I may need my own set now as the characters really seemed to enjoy them (really??!!)

This one starts off with a bang! I was totally creeped out by the truck rest stop (I’ve always found them creepy, especially at night). And when Finn finds his girlfriend Layla has vanished from their car, I was on the edge of my seat. Ooh…..surrounded by spooky woods too!

As the plot thickens, I was intrigued to find out how things would resolve. The dolls seemed to be showing up everywhere and seemed to be like a character in the story (yes, please). I was questioning everything and curious to find out. This made it an addictive read.

I will say the story seemed to lose steam in the final chapters and the ending was off the rails (in my opinion). Still enjoyed it immensely and I think fans of this author will too!

Thanks to Netgalley/Publisher for my arc.
Review will post to my blog https://dressedtoread.com/ on 5/10/2018
Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,114 reviews2,808 followers
March 27, 2019
Finn and Layla were going to get married until Layla went missing on a trip to France. Ten years later Finn is going to marry Layla's sister Ellen and strange things start happening, that indicate that Layla may still be alive. What ensues is paranoia on the part of Finn, as he tries to find out if Layla is really alive. During this time, he and Ellen grow apart, with Ellen wondering if Finn loved Layla more than her.

The book had me wanting to keep reading to the end despite the fact that Finn is a very selfish, unlikeable, wealthy guy, who made me wonder why he had such loyal friends. Early on I suspected what was actually going on and found out I was correct by the end of the book. There is a long email that explains everything...I think it would have been better to find another way to reveal what was happening.

Even though I suspected the secret, I had hoped that there could be a plausible explanation for how everything transpired. An explanation that let us know how this could take place in a way that seems understandable. But instead, we get a resolution that is full of holes because I do not think that what took place could be so easily carried off. Anything more I say would spoil the book but the book gave no reasonable explanation for what happened to have actually worked for so long, or at all.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,127 reviews30.3k followers
July 11, 2018
4 entertaining stars to Bring Me Back! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I’m beginning to look forward to B.A. Paris’ new release each summer! Her debut, Behind Close Doors, remains my favorite, but Bring Me Back is an entertaining thrill ride!

First of all, Paris knows how to hook me early on. Finn and Layla are on vacation, and while they are driving along a deserted highway, Finn stops to use the restroom at a gas station. When he returns to his car, Layla has disappeared. Or, so Finn tells the police...

Fast forward ten years, and Finn is now engaged to, of all people, Layla’s sister, Ellen. They bonded over their shared loss of Layla. That said, Finn does not fully trust Ellen. His intuition says something is not right.

Just before Finn and Ellen are to wed, someone has spotted Layla, and other unusual events happen, such as items of Layla’s showing up, along with strange emails. If Layla is alive, what is her m.o.?

I have always been mesmerized by Russian nesting dolls, and now they creep me out, thanks to this book! I felt tension from the first paragraph of Bring Me Back, and it built and built. The plotting outshines the characters, and while I would have liked more depth to them, I was hooked into the plot! The pacing was excellent, and I flew through this book. I also have to mention Peggy, the dog, because she almost steals the show!

Overall, I found Bring Me Back to be on the dramatic side of psychological suspense, but I did not mind the drama at all. From beginning to end, I was invested, shocked, and fully entertained!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the physical ARC. Bring Me Back is available now!

My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for Liz.
2,028 reviews2,537 followers
June 6, 2018
I’m the kind of gal that writes my reviews as I go along, so I don’t forget to bring up how I feel as I’m reading the book. So, I had almost a complete review written on Bring Me Back, which I just had to jettison when I got to the end. Everything I had felt for the characters as I was reading got thrown into turmoil when I got to the end. So here’s what I can tell you. This is a creepy book and there were several twists I didn’t see coming. I didn’t care for Finn. I couldn’t see what attracted him to Layla, let alone why he was obsessed with her. And I didn’t care for her character either.

And once I got to the end, I just felt like it didn’t really hang together very well. It was just way too unbelievable.

I wasn’t a huge fan of The Breakdown and I never read Behind Closed Doors. I’m thinking I’m just not a B. A. Paris fan.

My Thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.

Profile Image for Holly in Bookland.
1,009 reviews413 followers
January 23, 2018
Holy crap was this good!! I requested this from Net galley based on last year's The Breakdown. Which, if I recall, I began one night and couldn't put down. Which is exactly what happened again! So note to future self: if you start to read a B. A. Paris novel, don't make any plans!

This started off with Finn giving his account of the disappearance of his girlfriend , Layla. From there it weaves back and forth from the night of her disappearance to the events happening now. Is Layla dead? Or is she back for revenge? No spoilers here! Read it! That's my advice. I will say, it's a given that I am a huge fan of B.A. Paris now.

*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review .
Profile Image for Kendall.
639 reviews641 followers
May 13, 2018
Bring Me Back... well it didn't BRING ME a five star read BUT I was definitely impressed with this one way more then her first two novels.

B.A. Paris delivers a clever and unique psychological thriller that surrounds Russian dolls. Yes... Russian dolls.. Surprisingly, I actually liked the concept of the dolls. It was different and something that I don't see all the time. The author didn't stump me on the twist... my detective skills don't ever let me down ;).

It's funny because I've seen numerous reviews that have stated that out of all B.A Paris' novels that this was their least favorite. Well.. folks surprise surprise this was MY favorite out of all three.

What I have noticed about B.A Paris' writing style is something I'm not too fond of. I feel like every character has a "paranoia" style. I'm not even sure how to describe it... It's constantly "what if this" or Omg what if this..." This gets on my nerves... a lot.

Let's meet Layla and Finn. Layla and Finn are traveling throughout France when they decide to pull over on the side of the road. Finn goes into the restroom and leaves Laya in the car. Upon Finn's return, Layla is nowhere to be found. An investigation is conducted and she has disappeared. Finn is devastated without the love of his life Layla.

A few years go by and Finn is contacted by Layla's sister Ellen. Soon Finn and Ellen's relationship takes off into a romance. Ellen and Finn are engaged ready to get married... but then all of a sudden Ellen finds a missing Russian doll that she had as a child. Where did this come from? Only three people know about the story with these Russian dolls: Ellen, Finn, and Layla.

Soon... this dark web starts to emerge with Russian dolls everywhere. Finn is starting to get messages from an unknown person that reveals herself to be Layla. After all these years... could it be true?

Well.. people welcome to this sh.t show party of three lol. Ironically, this was actually quite entertaining and it was a super fast read for me!

This wasn't one of my absolute favorite thrillers but it wasn't bad. I'll give it to Paris.

I did feel the ending was a tad rushed which I'm not a fan of at all and left me with some unanswered questions.

Overall... 3.5 stars for me.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the advanced arc.

Publication date: 6/19/18
Published to GR: 5/13/18

Profile Image for Jen.
427 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2018
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Oh my actual God?

If I hear the phrase “Russian doll” one more freaking time.

Honestly, that's ALL I COULD THINK when I was finished this book. Doll. Doll. Doll. Doll. Russian Doll. Dolls. DoLl. dOLL. doLl. RusSiAn dOlL. DOLLLLLLLLLLLLSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

This book talks a lot about dolls, did you hear. Okay, let me try to be coherent, because this novel drove me a little crazy. I really loved B.A. Paris' first novel, Behind Closed Doors. It was sick and creepy and juicy and evil. The writing was taut and riveting, and the book left me feeling like I'd been put through the wringer, in the best possible way. Her second, The Breakdown was less good, but I still enjoyed it, and still wanted to know what happened.

With Bring Me Back, by the end, I honestly could not have cared less what happened to any of these people. I wanted to toss them all into a pit of Russian dolls and seal it up with the salt of my tears of rage and frustration. I mean, the EDITING GOD THE EDITING. Couldn't SOMEONE have taken the time to trim this down? Taken out one doll reference? Pointed out that the writing was smarmy and amateurish and cringe-worthy?

*long piercing exhalation*

Here's the story. Finn - the narrator - was once in a romantic relationship with Layla, but during a vacation in France, she disappeared. Now, 10 years later, he's engaged to her sister Ellen and living in a tiny village outside Cheltenham, England. Then... DUN DUN DUN... a 'Russian doll' appears outside their house. It's symbolic nature to Ellen seems to point to only one thing ... could Layla have put it there? Could she be back from 'the dead'?


Sounds exciting, right? Wrong. The narrative dissolves into one long, cheesy and boring ode to Russian dolls, and the whackadoodle people who leave them places to f*ck with other people. I also guessed the huge 'twist' about 1/3rd of a way through the book.

Please, B.A. Paris, take a break and reread your first book. Head back to the drawing board. I KNOW you're a good writer. Let this have been a one-off lesson about the dangers of rushing ish out to please the masses.
Profile Image for Caro (Bookaria).
615 reviews19.4k followers
June 1, 2018
This was an excellent thriller from B.A. Paris. She delivers again!

Finn and Layla are a couple on vacation. They are driving through France and stop at a gas station to refuel the car. He goes in to pay and when he returns to the car Layla is gone without a trace or explanation.

Ten years later, Finn is engaged to be married to Ellen who happens to be Layla's sister. They connected when they met years after Layla's disappearance. The wedding is set to happen but their lives get affected when a disturbing object appears at their home. What makes it disturbing is that is an object related to Ellen's long-gone sister Layla.

This was a fast-paced read for me, I kept turning the pages wanting to know more about the story. The novel is narrated in alternating points of view and was engaging, creepy, and intriguing.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to readers of thrillers, mysteries and contemporary fiction. I also recommend the author's previous books The Breakdown and Behind Closed Doors.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via Netgalley
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