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A mystery of disappearance, set mainly in the Cotswolds

8th March 2018

Bring Me Back by B A Paris, a mystery of disappearance, set mainly in the Cotswolds.

The million-copy bestselling author returns with a psychological novel of disappearance and revenge.

A mystery of disappearance, set mainly in the Cotswolds

Twelve years ago Finn and his girlfriend Layla are returning from Megève and they make a further stop on their return journey after supper in Paris, for a comfort break in a little lay-by. As the car comes to a stop, Layla shares some disconcerting news with Finn and his red rage surges like a volcano. Layla goes missing and when Finn comes to his senses, he searches for the lost love of his life but to no avail. Perhaps she has been kidnapped, murdered, held captive. He doesn’t believe that he could have harmed her whilst his anger enveloped him. The police certainly dig deep to discount his possible involvement. Finn gives his version of the story to the police, but it isn’t the whole truth…

As the story progresses, the chapters are a mix of “Now” 2018 and “Before” 2006 as the author drip feeds the story of Layla’s disappearance, how the two became a pair and how life moved on in the aftermath of Layla’s vanishing. Finn, in the present, is living with his new girlfriend, Ellen. Theirs is a pretty content life in fictional Simonsbridge in the Cotswolds, with cosy together time in between his bouts of working in Investments in the city.

He has kept the cottage in Devon, which he shared with Layla before she went missing, it is like an untended shrine to the memory of their life together.

One day, the tiniest figurine, the baby of a Russian Doll set appears. The significance is not lost on Finn – the “Russian Doll” had great significance in Layla’s childhood with her sister. When more identical figures appear through the post and are randomly positioned where they will be found by Finn and by Ellen, life becomes decidedly unsettled. His angst is further compounded by the arrival of e mails, purporting to be from Layla.

The author includes plenty of switchbacks, red herrings, and she solidifies each new development before moving on to the next part of the story. You really can’t get lost as the storyline moves forward – elements of the plot are reworked (yes, a little too much at times).

For me, the story teetered on the edge of being just plausible (OK, I need to suspend belief more often!). At times the plot was a little over-egged and none of the characters had sufficient depth to turn this into a really memorable psychological thriller – there is fury and rage that Finn needs to contain, which started way back, fomented by a girlfriend who cheated on him. Could there be sibling rivalry? Is domestic abuse rife? Perhaps Finn’s friend Harry is not all he seems, and as for Ruby the publican at their local pub… and so it goes on. It is gripping and I certainly did want to know how the story turned out! #ForgetSleep 

Location in terms of TripFiction and literary wanderlust is not really a significant player in the novel, although the sense of cosy pubs and English countryside are certainly a factor.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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