Bring Me Back
B. A. Paris
St. Martin’s Press, June 2018
A strange and troubling tale of anger, selfishness, disappearance and mystery. Finn McQuaid is a driven slick fund manager. He’s successful and popular with several women. Twelve years earlier, when the story starts, he is driving toward England out of Paris with his current lover, Layla, whom he hopes to marry soon. In the dark middle of the night they stop for fuel and Layla disappears.
Now, still more successful, McQuaid romances Layla’s sister, Ellen, moves her into the house he once shared with Layla and prepares to marry her. Then strange things begin to happen, clues drop, that indicate that Layla may not be dead after all and McQuaid admits he didn’t tell police the whole truth, that fateful dark night.
The novel is highly personal and internal in tone. It reveals the inner amoral mental state of a man who seems committed to almost nothing except his own personal reality and a unique truth that is his own. Readers will be dragged through the weeds of this internal turmoil almost from the very beginning. The use of Russian dolls to provoke and irritate McQuaid and possibly mess with his mind is brilliant but the deliberate pace and development is at times a bit tedious. Nevertheless, carefully structured and presented, the novel eventually satisfies the mystery after a deliberate buildup to a logical ending.
Reviewed by Carl Brookins, May 2019.
Traces, Grand Lac, Reunion, Red Sky.