I read a lot of mystery and thriller books (obviously!) so, when I come across one that impresses me, I feel like shouting from the rooftops. Bring Her Home, by David Bell, was one of those books that made me want to shout. Fast paced and entertaining, I found myself completely invested to our protagonist and his struggles.
The novel opens with Bill, a widower, facing every father’s worst nightmare. His fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer is missing (along with her best friend, Haley). Days later, the girls are found in the park. Haley is dead on the scene and Summer is badly beaten. Bill is left begging his daughter to fight for her life but also begins to wonder if he knows his daughter at all. As Bill searches for the truth, he discovers more than what he thought.
Instead of going for the gusto, Bell opens subtly and slowly draws his reader in. I felt instantly intrigued. From the first pages, Bell does a superb job at setting up lots of questions for the reader to continuously ask. I really loved this; when I read, I love to be active in my thought process trying to figure out the plot and where the author plans on going.
One of the other things I enjoyed was the plethora of twists in the middle of the novel. Especially since I am completely tired of the big, shocking, one moment twists that so many thrillers have these days. I felt like this made the story even more eerie and ominous because it felt so real; this truly could have been a story that could happen to anyone.
As for characterization, I felt like Bill was relatable and the story felt very real; I really appreciated that!
I was able to guess pretty early on parts of the resolution of the novel but Bell did bring in some complex details that I would never have guessed that amped up the ending for me.
Overall, I feel like fans of the “feels real” thriller will enjoy this novel; think authors like Mary Kubica. I absolutely relished in this one. 4/5 stars from me!
Thanks to the publisher, the author and Netgalley for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
This one was also a #cjsreads title for July, keep reading to see what Chandra and Jessica had to say about this one!
What Chandra Thought:
Bill’s wife dies tragically, in an accident falling off a ladder. A year and a half later, his daughter and her best friend are found beaten – his daughter practically comatose, her friend, dead – both beaten beyond recognition. As he digs further to try and catch whoever put his daughter in such a predicament, he learns more than he ever wanted to know.
This is my second Bell book and I just LOVE his writing style. While I usually like faster paced books, I find myself FLYING through his pages because he is SO good at keeping your interest even with a slower, suspense building format. How does he do this? His impeccable way of building the characters – you REALLY get inside the head of the main character, in this case, Bill. You get maddened when he gets maddened, you cry inside when his grief gets to be too much, you’re basically a ball of emotion on a dark roller coaster, being guided to who knows where.
If you read as many thriller books as I do, the big reveal can be tough and can be figured out pretty readily because really, just how many different scenarios can someone bring about that’s original? David Bell doesn’t do this, however, and it’s quite refreshing. There are two reveals just within the first half of the book… which hooks you in because you’re thinking just what ELSE will surprise me. Sometimes it’s about the journey rather than the conclusion, no?
Basically, he is now a definitely auto-buy author for me. Give me more Bell! Even for those of you who like the faster plot, I think you should do yourself a favor and get into these if you haven’t had a tasting of his work yet.
What Jessica Thought:
This was my introduction to David Bell’s writing – I’ve always heard great things and I was not disappointed with this one! BRING HER HOME is a thriller being described as tense, twisty, and completely immersive. I couldn’t agree more with this! This was one that I picked up and didn’t want to put down (but responsibilities made it so I had to take an intermission). This story is about Bill Price’s worst nightmare. His daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, go missing. Days later, they’re found. Haley is dead at the scene while Summer is left for dead and nearly unrecognizable. As the days pass after they’re found, Bill begins to wonder if this is really his daughter. She will only repeat the chilling word, “no”, over and over again.
As questions arise about Summer and what the girls endured, Bill finds himself unprepared for the answers. He quickly discovers that everyone, living or dead, has secrets that can tear families apart.
I thought this was a great thriller. It was a slower build up, but it was so worth it. Bell does a great job pulling in the readers and making them want more. Bill was so well developed – he felt real, like someone you knew. As for the twists and turns, they were unexpected and kept me guessing throughout the book. This is something that feels like it could really happen, which made it even more unsettling. If you’re a fan of a more real life thriller with a main character you can really get invested in, then this the book for you! If you like a thriller that keeps you thinking then this is one you’ll have to pick up! I’ll be out finding more of Bell’s novels now.