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Monday, June 5, 2017


4 stars out of 5

Bill Price and his teenage daughter, Summer, are still trying to cope with the sudden loss of their wife and mother, Julia, who fell to her death about a year and a half earlier. Not wanting to alienate Summer as she continues to grieve, Bill gives her a bit more rein than usual - not forcing the issue if she stays out a bit later or sulks around the house. That leeway comes into serious question, though, when Summer and her best friend Haley go missing. 

Days later, they're found in a city park; Haley is dead, and Summer has been beaten to an unrecognizable pulp but is still clinging to life. In the hospital ICU, she begins the slow process of healing - her father and his sister, Paige, by her side almost every minute. Once in a while, she tries to speak - and the word she utters seems to be "no." She also knocks the stuffed animal Bill brought to comfort her - the one she refuses to sleep without at home - on the floor every time he places it in the bed with her. What, Bill wonders, is up with that?

Bill also questions the efforts of the local police, who he's convinced aren't doing enough to find out who did this to his precious daughter. For solace, he turns to Paige and his ever-so-slick friend and next-door neighbor, Adam. But mostly, he rants, yells, cajoles and berates the lead police detective on the case (that is, when he's not running off to badger someone he suspects is the culprit). Each time he gets himself in trouble for sticking his nose into police business, he apologizes - and then turns around and does it again when a new suspect (to his mind) turns up. 

As the investigation continues, new information is unearthed on almost every page (clearly not fast enough for Bill, but it seemed plenty fast for me). Much of it sheds new light on Summer, leading Bill to reflect on how much he and his late wife really knew their precious daughter.

Especially given that at least one major twist happens near the beginning, that's about all I can say without giving away too much. The story is interesting and straightforward (the chapters don't shift back and forth among characters and/or time period, thank you very much), the action moves along quickly and the loose ends are pretty well tied up in the end - making for a very enjoyable experience overall. Many thanks to the publisher (via NetGalley) for the opportunity to read an advance review copy.

Bring Her Home by David Bell (Berkley, July 2017); 464 pp.

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