Title: Never Come Back
Author: David Bell
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5
Elizabeth Hampton has been fighting with her mother and hasn’t spoken to or seen her in six weeks, despite the fact that they live in the same town. Elizabeth figures she has all the time in the world to make up with her mother, that is, until her mother is found murdered in Elizabeth’s childhood home. Elizabeth is shocked and devastated, but even worse, the police have focused on Ronnie, Elizabeth’s brother with Down syndrome, as their main suspect. Elizabeth must delve into her mother’s life and uncover all her secrets in order to clear her brother’s name and find the real murderer.
An intriguing mystery, Never Come Back starts out slowly at first, but it builds into a suspenseful, page-turning thriller. Elizabeth is a well-written and conflicted young woman, eager to help her family but unsure of whether she is ready to sacrifice her life and freedom in order to care for her brother. People who enjoy character-driven mysteries should definitely seek out this novel.
Never Come Back revolves, first and foremost, around the character of Elizabeth. She’s smart and confident, but her family is her weak point. She wants to have an ideal relationship with her mom, but in Elizabeth’s eyes, her mother is a cold, hard woman whose entire life revolves around her children. She has trouble seeing her mom as a real person who once had hopes and dreams, but though Elizabeth’s investigations, she begins to see there’s so much more to her mom than she initially thought. It’s interesting to watch her long-held truths be changed over the course of the novel.
Elizabeth is well-written and realistic in Never Come Back, and that means she makes mistakes. She’s incredibly selfish when it comes to her brother, Ronnie. Not because she isn’t sure whether she could handle taking him in—that’s a huge decision, and one that has serious repercussions either way—but because she is in disbelief at those around her for having the same doubts. It’s clear that she’s used to others making sacrifices so that she can have the life she’s worked hard towards. What Elizabeth has to realize over the course of this novel is that everyone works hard toward something, but not everyone is lucky enough to have others trying to help you achieve that goal.
The mystery in Never Come Back takes its time to develop. Bell spends the first part of the book focusing on Elizabeth, making sure the reader gets to know her well. It’s only after she’s well established that attention turns to the plot. Readers may find this a bit frustrating, but if you stick with it, the book picks up into a riveting mystery, moving at breakneck speed.
David Bell’s novels are always difficult to put down, and Never Come Back is no exception. Readers will appreciate the well-drawn characters and the twists and turns Elizabeth must endure in order to figure out her mother’s past and who might have wanted her dead.
Other books by David Bell: