HQ | March 2018 | 368 pgs
Source: Purchased

Having read B A Paris's previous two novels, Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown, it is no surprise that her latest release was high up on my to-read list considering she usually writes compelling thrillers with intriguing yet complicated characters. I'm glad to report this one is no exceptional. 

Layla and Finn are on a vacation in France and when the latter stopped their car at a service station for a break, Layla has mysteriously vanished after Finn returned to his car. Finn later told the police about the events leading up to her disappearance but not everything. With no answers and the police finding nothing, Finn then return to the UK feeling unsettled.  

Twelve years later, Finn has already moved on and is thinking of settling down with Ellen, who is Layla's elder sister. Just as he thought he could finally let the past rest, someone left the Russian dolls around Finn and Ellen's house subsequently. Now the existence of Russian dolls are significant to Finn and Ellen as they remind them of Layla. Back when Ellen and Layla are children, they have their own set of Russian dolls and no one knows the meaning behind these Russian dolls except for the three of them, including Finn's good friend, Harry, since Ellen told him. The emails are the last straw as Finn is adamant that whoever rattles him know a lot about his relationship with Layla but who and why after all this time?  

Once again, B A Paris has delivered a suspenseful thriller with enough twists and turns to throw the readers off the track. While having engaging characters and intriguing premise are essential to entice the reader's attention, personally I feel it is all about execution and how successful the author lead the readers into following (believing) the direction(s) he/she has planned until the truth hits them. For this case, Finn's first person narrative works perfectly since the reader has no clue what's what but to follow and trust his account. The two time frames "Now" and "Before" further intensify the suspense, giving the reader a glimpse of the past while at the same time expecting 'the axe' to fall anytime in the present. The case of misdirection is skilfully applied in this story and avid readers who are into the psychological suspense may be able to guess the outcome but ultimately it is the ride which is what made this book such an enticing read. 

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14 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I can’t wait!

  2. jenclair Says:

    I was disappointed in this one despite having enjoyed her previous books. I'm definitely in the minority, though!

  3. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Melody. It is on my TBR pile and hopefully I will enjoy it too!

  4. Lark Says:

    Did it bug you at all that Finn moves from Layla to her sister? I haven't read this one, but I'm not sure how I feel about that. But it sounds like this one was a pretty suspenseful ride with some good twists. :)

  5. Melody Says:

    Jenny - Hope you'll enjoy it.

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - It's not her best work but at least it was an engaging one.

  7. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I hope you'll enjoy it when you get to it, Wendy.

  8. Melody Says:

    Lark - Yes, it did bug me but I suppose Ellen and Finn needed each other after Layla's disappearance though I couldn't imagine why it'd turn to something more serious. Perhaps you'd like to try Behind "Closed Doors" instead? That book has received lots of raves from readers. :)

  9. Lark Says:

    That's a good idea, Melody. I'll start with that one. Thanks. :)

  10. Melody Says:

    Lark - Hope you'll enjoy it if you do read it. :)

  11. Marce Says:

    I was excited to see this one and it is my next read actually. Behind Closed Doors is kind of in my top 10/15 books of all time, I really enjoyed it.

  12. Melody Says:

    Marce - I think BCD is her best work so far. I'm hoping her next book will surpass it. :)

  13. Iliana Says:

    The beginning of the novel totally sounds like a movie (I think Dutch film?) that I saw several years ago. Anyway this sounds interesting and since I loved Behind Closed Doors I definitely want to read this one. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  14. Melody Says:

    Iliana - The opening scene was an intriguing one as Layla's disappearance was such a mystery and of course I wanted to find out what really happened to her. I hope you'll enjoy this book when you get to it, Iliana.

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