Book Title: Bring Her Home
Author: David Bell
REVIEWED BY: CHELSEA
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Crime Fiction
Pub Date: 07/11/17
Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.
As Bill holds vigil over Summer’s bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.
When troubling new questions about Summer’s life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He’ll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family…
Once again I’ve found myself on the receiving end of the dramatic David Bell hangover; I’ve reached the point of being caught up on all of his books and am sadly waiting until the next one arrives. There are very few authors that I follow long term; I usually burn out after 3-5 books, especially if it’s a series, because there are so many new, shiny novels clamoring for my attention and a majority of authors become stale in their writing due to the pressure to keep pumping out books. Bell is one of the few authors that I have followed for more than 3 or 4 books and continuously kept on my auto-click list. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy this go around, and I’ve got to say, this one vies for the coveted “favorite to date” of his novels (tied with Somebody I Used To Know). I’ve seen reviews on both sides of the spectrum so far, so let me tell you WHY I loved this book and maybe it can help in deciding if it’s the right book for you.
–The Characterization: One of my favorite aspects of a David Bell novel is the characters, as they really are the focal point of each story. This book, like his others, aren’t your high action, plot driven stories; I’d like to think of them as the type of books you read to get lost in because you feel a part of the story alongside the characters. Sure, there is the slow building suspense that about drives you mad until nearing the end you think “DEAR GOD MAN, JUST TELL US WHAT HAPPENED!!!!!“, and this definitely keeps me hooked throughout, but I think the realness of the characters and how well we get to know them is what makes me care about what happens in the book. From beginning to end, we meet a myriad of people who drive the story onward with their personal drama, some of which is used as red herrings and some which pertains to the actual mysteries at hand.
–The Plot: I’ll be honest, once you’ve read about 1,000 books in your lifetime and at least half of those are of the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller variety, it gets difficult to find books that shock you with their twists. It doesn’t make them unable to be enjoyed, it simply takes away that shock value that used to seem so frequent in your reads. It could be that I’m just losing my detective skills, but this is the first book in a long while where I didn’t have it all completely solved before the reveal. In fact, aside from a few minor aspects, I had none of it figured out. I love the way this book was written, because there were just enough characters to keep you guessing the “who” and “why” of each piece of the mystery, but not so many that you felt lost and confused and wanted to throw the book at your husband’s face. <— Not that I’ve ever felt that way. Nope. Not me. Instead of this book containing the ever-popular SUPER ULTRA MEGA BIG ONE MAJOR TWIST, the author chose to take a much more preferred route and slip bunches of them all over the place. I buddy read this book with Sam of Clues and Reviews and we kept messaging each other over a few days going “GASP! OH NO HE DIDN’T!” because we both couldn’t believe the…things… that happened. Just read it for yourself!
–The Cover: Come on I had to say it; that cover is gorgeous! We all know I’m THAT shallow… A gorgeous cover is a must for me and this one is a 5/5 stars!
I’ve said it before, but it’s completely true that, when life is throwing me curveballs and I’m having trouble focusing on most books, I reach for a David Bell. I save these for precisely the right moment and, to this day, not one of his books has ever let me down. When you find an author who writes something that you connect with on a level much deeper than the surface, you follow their work for as long as it’s published. With quality books like Bring Her Home still coming, I feel I have nothing to worry about as I’ll be seeing more from Bell for years to come. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy mysteries with a traditional feel and thorough characterization; the subtle suspense grows into full blown desperation as you need to find out just what happened surrounding these girls’ disappearance.
*Many thanks to the author for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.
David Bell is the author of seven novels from Berkley/Penguin, including BRING HER HOME, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. His work has been translated into numerous foreign languages, and in 2013, he won the prestigious Prix Polar International de Cognac for best crime novel by an international author. He is an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University where he directs the MFA program in creative writing. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he spends his free time rooting for the Reds and Bengals, watching movies, and walking in the cemetery near his house. He lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky, with his wife, writer Molly McCaffrey.