BRING HER HOME: DAVID BELL
Through the eyes of a father who has lost all reality and is trying to deal with the possible loss of his daughter and wife. Going through the motions of life Bill Price is about to find himself entangled in an intricate web of lies, hate, revenge, deceit, murder and wondering just who can be trusted when the truth comes out about the sudden death of his daughter Summer. Losing his wife to what appeared to be a accident at home, next learning that his daughter is in the Jakesville, hospital battered and bruised beyond recognition and in a coma the events that follow will not only turn this man’s life upside down but will make him relive the death of his wife, their arguments, the abuse he was accused of at the hand of his daughter and staring into the battered face of a young girl in a hospital bed thinking she was Summer. Two girls found beyond recognition in a local park. Summer Price and Haley Rogers were thought to be those girls and Haley the one that died. All too often we tend to cast blame on someone or a group of someone’s in order to find some closure and feel that what was done to someone we love would finally be vindicated by an arrest. Thinking that three boys from her school and that were her friends might know something Bill verbalizes what he thinks might have happened and how they might have been involved. Most of the time his anger takes control and he does not think before speaking or acting making his situation even more vulnerable and tenuous and some thinking he has more to hide. With the aid of his sister Paige, who came to offer some support, they sit staring at Summer, hoping she will speak or wake up only to learn the harsh reality later on. Haley is buried and then Summer whose in the hospital takes several turns for the worse as they begin to analyze the evidence, the clothes worn by both victims and then with the help of forensic evidence and dental records and more the person lying in the hospital is not Summer. Thinking that the young girl that was buried was his daughter, he lashes out at Detective Hawkins who is trying to solve the case, the parents of the other girl, the Pastor and anyone unlucky to be in his path. While spending every waking hour at his daughter’s bedside Bill begins to wonder about some of Summer’s reactions to his words and a special Winnie the Pooh Teddy Bear he brings her to make her feel at home. But, something about the bear bothers her as it always winds up on the floor. Trying to speak and mouth words what does she mean by NO NO NO! Summer remains in a coma but her mind appears to be working but what secrets lie beneath the bandages and exactly whose secrets are they?
While trying to make heads or tails of what really happened to her she accuses several boys from her school, deals with difficult parents and creates more havoc by being irrational at times, jumping to the wrong conclusions and then a startling revelation will be made. But, Detective Hawkins uncovers something about Bill that he would rather not speak about or have known. Something happened the previous November between him and Summer causing her to call 911 and accusing him of abuse. But, did he really try to hurt her or was he just frustrated with her attitude and behavior? While Bill explores different avenues, gets called down to the station by Hawkins for questioning, rechecking where the girls were found and revisiting the crime scene, Bill’s sister is with Summer and her powers of observation are quite acute and her questions lead to some unexpected answers. Rejecting the toy that she loved so much and checking out something beneath the bandages leads them to believe that the girl in a coma is not Summer but someone else. With the help of the police and the family of the other girl, they realize that Haley is not dead and the unknown girl buried in her grave might be Summer or maybe not.
When dental records are revealed they learn that the girl in the coffin is someone else but whom? Within this novel we learn more about Bill’s wife Julia and her relationship with her relationship with Adam Fleetwood her neighbor. Always coming over to fix things for her and Bill, having a key to watch their home when they are gone, something about him triggers an unusual emotion in Bill as events about him get disclosed. Adam seems to care about the fact that Julia is gone and is concerned about Summer and what might have happened to her but there seems to be an underlying current of unrest whenever he’s around Bill and even Paige. Bill tends to be overbearing, needs to pay bills, health insurance, car payments, mortgage and more but at times you just won’t him to be quiet, slow down and think before he goes off headstrong. Author David Bell delivers a unique and multi-complex plot line that draws readers in from the first word on the first page. But, thinking that you have it all figured out you won’t as every step of the way he creates roadblocks, obstacles, twists, curve balls and surprises you won’t expect. Skipping the service for Haley because his daughter was being placed in a new room for Rehab. Rehashing childhood incidents like hitting his sister with a stick riled him up for a while as Paige kept at it until she finally stopped. Julia is always on his mind and thinking about her accident dwelled on his happiness and at times prevented him from moving ahead with his life and even enjoying being with his daughter. Talking to Candy Rogers, Haley’s mom they rehashed what Summer was trying to say and when Paige tried to speak to her in her room the oddest reaction happened? Checking a part of her body would reveal something no one would expect and the entire complexion and outcome of the murder and violent beatings will bring to light that someone else was buried in the coffin and that Haley is still alive. So where is Summer?
Realizing that Haley was wearing Summer’s jacket, clothes that they borrowed from each other plus someone attacked the girls somewhere other than where they were found. Searching the park carefully and thoroughly, no one has any idea where they were from the time they disappeared until they were found. They each told their parents that they were going to the other one’s house. But, boys were in the picture and Summer decided to opt out of going with them so where did she go if not with her friend? One girl was wearing most of the clothes and one girl was not recognizable how do you know which was which? Hawkins realized that Summer’s ID was in the Haley’s coat pocket. Things take on a darker turn when they realize that someone else is in that buried coffin and thinking it was Summer caused the police to be more vigilant and hopefully confirm it was Summer.
Adam Fleetwood is a close friend of Bill and enjoyed flirting with Julia. Coming and going from his house, having a key Bill wonders why he is going into the Everett’s house.
Teena Everett was always trying to be friends with Haley and Summer although the other girls pushed her aside because she was different. So, what is the connection and why is Bill so concerned that he’s going into her house? Jillian Everett opens the door, realizes he’s upset and then Adam and Bill have what looks like an enlightening heart to heart outside.
Todd Winter, Clinton Fields and Brandon Cooke had something to do with the girl that was killed as they took pictures of her after using her and having a contest involving sex. Each one would cross off their particular conquests on the chart to see which one would be the winner. They hurt another girl after that who had to be taken to the hospital and yet why weren’t they looked at for these attacks too? Anna Halstrom was the counselor who worked with Summer after Julia died and she reveals information to Bill about Summer and her feelings about her mother’s death and the fear that she thought she might run away. She also reveals confidential information about someone else connected to this case, which will remain confidential. Realizing that Summer is out there he becomes worried when Paige tells him that someone is stalking his home, watching his moves in a car but not going anywhere just sitting there. Not thinking about this person, or how dangerous this person might be he goes out, confronts her and then invites her inside but who is she and what part of the puzzle will be filled in as a result of meeting Taylor Kress? Taylor Kress explained that her daughter Emily was missing and it all starts to come together. When the identity of the unknown girl is learned the tragedy of it all comes to light and another parent has to deal with a terrible loss.
Haley Rogers is still in a coma and hopefully when she awakens she will fill in some of the gaps for the police. But, little did they know the truth behind where she was, what she was doing and the older man she was into that no one even realized. Truths, lies, betrayals, deceits, revenge, hate and jealousies all take center stage as Bill Price hacks at everyone, harps, jumps, screams and yells until his throat is raw until he hopes to get some answers as to where Summer might be. The truth behind Julia’s death was written off as an accident but author David Bell expertly and brilliantly weaves a plot so diabolical, so heinous and so vividly depicted that he connects the dots from one incident in the past to another in the present.
Doug Hammond is a dangerous man but is also Haley’s father and somehow he is involved in this case but how? Anger leads to murder and murder leads to the uncovering of secrets that have been kept dormant like a silent volcano about to erupt. Doug Hammond and Bill face off but the end result is far from what you would expect. As Bill grows more frantic and wonders if Summer is even alive. Who attacked the girls and what will Haley finally reveal to the police? An ending that is so well crafted and so well designed that you won’t see it coming when the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and Bill Price has to face another harsh reality and truth but his focus will never waver and his thoughts will never veer or change course until he has the answers he needs and does the most important thing in his life to find Summer if she is alive and BRING HER HOME!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine