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Bring me back
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Author Notes
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, B. A. Paris, grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked in finance and as a teacher. <p> (Bowker Author Biography)
Fiction/Biography Profile
Finn (Male), Goes on vacation with Layla; she goes missing; ten years later becomes engaged to Layla's sister;
Layla (Female), Was in love with Finn; goes missing while Finn is away;
Ellen (Female), Layla's sister; falls for Finn;
Young adults
Mysterious disappearances
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
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Trade Reviews

  New York Times Review

AS CRIMES GO, cruelty to animals makes my blood boil, a sentiment evidently shared by James A. McLaughlin, the author of BEARSKIN (Ecco/HarperCollins, $26.99). Terrible things are done to bears in this gruesomely gorgeous debut novel about an imperfect hero who redeems himself by taking up the cause of these noble, if terrifying, beasts. Rice Moore is a man with a criminal past that he hopes won't follow him into the 7,000-acre Turk Mountain Preserve in rural Virginia, where he has recently been hired as caretaker. But poachers are killing black bears so they can sell the paws and gallbladders (delicacies in certain cuisines), forcing Rice to interact with rough mountain men who hunt whatever looks edible and fielddress their kills when the meat has stopped moving but is still warm. Given a choice, he'd rather be in the company of bears, whose "complex social network" interests him more than the dynamics in the local bar. Following Rice on his forays into the woods, where he senses a benign "presence," is like walking into the forest primeval. A naturalist to the core, he liberates a hive of bees, feels bad when he has to kill a copperhead snake and fusses over the fate of microbats. Happily, he has no such qualms when it comes to dealing with the Stiller brothers, sullen "gangster wannabes, small-time pot dealers and oxy slingers" who give "redneck" a bad name. There are times, he figures, when it's necessary to unleash "the violent part of himself." McLaughlin writes about the natural world with casual lyricism and un-self-conscious joy, while describing physical violence so vividly you want to look away. ("I wish you hadn't told me about that fella's face," someone says after one particularly grim anecdote, about a man who informed on a Sinaloan drug cartel.) But McLaughlin is just as remarkable when he turns to other subjects, like the lost lover who "wore her hair in a thick black braid, a magnificent thing that just now rested on her left shoulder like a sleeping mamba." That's the kind of writing that makes me shiver. THE SLEUTHS who figure in Matthew Pearl's THE DANTE CHAMBER (Penguin Press, $28) should thrill English literature majors. Christina Rossetti fears that her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, is being stalked by a killer whose murders make reference to the Purgatory canticle of Dante's "Divine Comedy." "Ecce ancilla Dei" ("Behold the handmaiden of the Lord") reads the inscription on the heavy stone that's yoked around the first victim's neck. Christina enlists the aid of some distinguished fellow poets to locate both her brother and the stalker. It's a safe bet that neither Robert Browning nor Alfred, Lord Tennyson, will prove to be the murderer in this literary whodunit. Still, it's nice to have them around to pepper the text with witty insults. "I do my best to stay away from morbid excitement of the masses," says Browning, who actually loves every minute of his adventure. uh-??. Tourism is now the biggest industry in the little French village of St. Denis in the Dordogne, where Martin Walker sets his captivating mysteries. In A TASTE FOR VENGEANCE (Knopf, $25.95), Bruno Courreges, the town's one and only policeman, has just been elevated to the position of chief of police for the entire valley, which involves not only more travel to other towns but the acquisition of an actual staff. However, Bruno is preoccupied with two crises on his own patch. A British tourist bound for a local cooking school has gone missing en route. And as coach of the town's women's rugby team, Bruno is also concerned about its star player, whose secret pregnancy may dash her chances to play for the national team. When the lost tourist and a mysterious male companion turn up dead, an element of political intrigue enters the story. But with Bruno in charge, there's always time for one of those classic feasts that make this series such a mouthwatering treat. ISOLATED HIGHWAY REST STOPS can be scary places, especially when you're driving through a strange country in the middle of the night. Returning home to England from a holiday in France, Finn McQuaid and his girlfriend, Layla, find themselves injust such a dismal spot in B. A. Paris's thriller, BRING ME BACK (St. Martin's, $26.99). Layla stays in their locked car while Finn uses the toilet, but when he comes back, she's gone. That's what he tells the French police, anyway. Twelve years later, Finn has recovered from his traumatic experience and is about to marry Layla's sister, Ellen. While he acknowledges that he and Ellen "will never be completely free of Layla," he doesn't mean that in a literal sense. So he's understandably alarmed when he hears about sightings of someone who looks like Layla near the cottage they once shared, and both he and Ellen are spooked when Russian nesting dolls from the sisters' childhood start to appear around the house. Paris's writing can get quite chewy, but she builds a nice plot and brings some originality to the old "good sister, bad sister" character dynamic. ? Marilyn STASIO has covered crime fiction for the Book Review since 1988. Her column appears twice a month.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Investment manager Finn McQuaid, the unreliable narrator of this outstanding Hitchcockian thriller from British author Paris (Behind Closed Doors), has settled into a comfortable routine in the small English community of Simonbridge, bolstered by financial success after landing a big client for his equities firm. But his tranquility is shattered when a friend phones to tell him that his old girlfriend, Layla Gray, who vanished 12 years earlier while the two were on holiday, has been spotted near the cottage they shared in France. Then his wife, Ellen, who's Layla's sister, discovers outside their home a Russian doll that she believes Layla stole from her when they were children. Finn, who has kept the actual circumstances of Layla's disappearance a secret from Ellen, starts finding Russian dolls himself. The stakes rise when he begins getting emails purportedly from Layla. Paris plays fair with the reader as she builds to a satisfying resolution. Fans of intelligent psychological suspense will be richly rewarded. 400,000-copy announced first printing. Agent: Camilla Wray, Darley Anderson Agency (U.K.). (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
<p> THE NEW TWISTY, GRIPPING READ FROM B. A. PARIS, THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING NOVELS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND THE BREAKDOWN </p> <p>"We're in a new Golden Age of suspense writing now, because of amazing books like Bring Me Back , and I for one am loving it." --Lee Child</p> <p>"[An] outstanding Hitchcockian thriller." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)</p> <p> She went missing. He moved on. A whole world of secrets remained--until now. <br> <br> Finn and Layla are young, in love, and on vacation. They're driving along the highway when Finn decides to stop at a service station to use the restroom. He hops out of the car, locks the doors behind him, and goes inside. When he returns Layla is gone--never to be seen again. That is the story Finn told to the police. But it is not the whole story.</p> <p>Ten years later Finn is engaged to Layla's sister, Ellen. Their shared grief over what happened to Layla drew them close and now they intend to remain together. Still, there's something about Ellen that Finn has never fully understood. His heart wants to believe that she is the one for him...even though a sixth sense tells him not to trust her.</p> <p>Then, not long before he and Ellen are to be married, Finn gets a phone call. Someone from his past has seen Layla--hiding in plain sight. There are other odd occurrences: Long-lost items from Layla's past that keep turning up around Finn and Ellen's house. Emails from strangers who seem to know too much. Secret messages, clues, warnings. If Layla is alive--and on Finn's trail--what does she want? And how much does she know?</p> <p>A tour de force of psychological suspense, Bring Me Back will have you questioning everything and everyone until its stunning climax.</p>
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