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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Girl Who Came Back

ISBN: 9780345549570

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 6/7/2016 Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars

For readers of Diane Chamberlain and Heather Gudenkauf comes a gripping novel of suspense about a mother determined to avenge her daughter's murder—no matter the cost to her husband, to her family, and to herself. When Jules Bright hears a knock on the door, the last person she expects to find is a detective bringing her the news she's feared for the last three years. Amelia Quentin is being released from prison. Jules's life now is very different from the one she knew before Amelia shattered it completely. Knowing the girl is coming back, Jules must decide what to do. Friends and family gather around, fearing for Jules's safety. They know that justice was never served; each of them wants to make the Quentin girl pay. The question is: What will Jules do? And which of them—she or Amelia—has the most to fear?

My Review

A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Susan Lewis returns following Too Close to Home (2015) with another gripping edge-of-your-seat psychological suspense THE GIRL WHO CAME BACK—a family’s idyllic life, shattered in a million pieces. A mother’s desperate need for justice for her daughter, from a twisted evil monster. MIND-BLOWING! Prologue: As the book opens we meet Amelia briefly. A nine-year-old disturbed girl, who wasn’t like other children. She stared at people, never laughed or no excitement. Little seemed to amuse her and she always wanted what was not hers. Amelia did not speak much even to her mother, Olivia. She chatted away with her father, Anton, when he made the time. She was sullen and shy. She did not fit in with other kids. Then one day . . . the unspeakable. Murder. Chapter One begins sixteen years later. Jules Bright answers the door—Detective, Andee Lawrence delivers a message. Amelia Quentin is being released from prison. The detective is every bit as appalled as Jules, when the wheels of justice had turned the way they had almost three years ago. Now the murderer is returning to Crofton Park. Julies Bright could not believe she murderer could even consider stepping foot in this place again. Her sentence was an outrage. They had been cheated a proper trial. Jules' and her husband, Kian--their horrific tragedy and demise of a family at the hands of a lunatic, Amelia Quentin. She received parole and she has not even served three years! A dark and disturbing mind-- a plot, a conspiracy-the unraveling begins, as the author takes us back to the crime three years earlier. We also meet Daisy, who lives at the Mermaid pub, a happy child and a lovable family. Befriends a girl her opposite, Amelia. From past to present we meet a cast of characters from childhood to adulthood. It all started with a text, the arrest, and the trial. Revenge. The death of a beloved daughter, and a friend to many. Hatred, resentment, and the need to hurt, even destroy, the girl continues to burn holes through Jules, the mother. Was Amelia even capable of remorse? Jules knows if she had been a part of any other family without the money, she would have had no privileges or early release, much less her big fake comeback. Manipulative Amelia is trying to turn the tables, once again with her evil, twisted lies. What gave her the right to take her daughter’s life, and her family? She watches as she goes through the elegant iron gate, so perfect and tranquil and no one would have guessed that a killer was in the vicinity, hidden like a sick predator, or a poison in the air. Jules: If anyone was going to avenge Daisy’s killing, it would be her. A mother torn apart by grief, crushed by the system that had robbed her of proper justice, traumatized by the proximity of her nemesis, besieged by Facebook posts and attempted visits to her old home. In the light of all she had been subjected to -would it come as a surprise to anyone that she’d lost all sense of reason? How could she be accountable for her actions? Maybe she’d be tried for voluntary manslaughter—with provocation. Who else wants revenge? Amelia and Dean had been arrested at the scene of the crime and were later charged with joint-enterprise murder. Amelia had set up Daisy and Dean as part of her conspiracy. Sick and twisted. (now this is one complex story). Dean was remanded into custody and Amelia was released on bail--for murder. She had sent the text that had tricked Daisy into going to her house. Fifteen stab wounds had been inflicted by the same left hand. Amelia was left-handed. Dean was not. Rape? How did you set up such a sick plan? Amelia’s father was connected in places that mattered, a lawyer. Amelia had tricked them all. Obsessed with another girl's life and family. Daisy was no longer with them, and unable to pursue her dreams and live her life. No one had the right to take that from her and yet Amelia had decided that she did. A calculating murdering lunatic. Families ripped apart by this monster. How would they prove she killed her mom and Daisy? The most heartbreaking parts of leaving the Mermaid had been forcing herself to let go of Ruby. She had believed that Ruby was passing messages to Daisy to keep them connected. (magical realism here). Their lives remained in pieces in so many ways, while Amelia Quentin was allowed to start hers all over again—to choose another generous-hearted girl to befriend and butcher. A mother’s vengeance. Justice for Daisy and Dean. Will a broken family bond over their tragedy, or move further away from one another? However, there may be others who want justice just as much as the Bright family. Could there be a larger plan in motion—will fate step in and the nightmare finally be over? WOW! Susan Lewis just keeps getting better and better. Not sure how anyone cranks out so many books—she has a special gift. Intense, dark, gritty, disturbing, and emotional, mixed with psychological twists and turns—leaving you holding your breath. I was still reading through the night, finishing at 4 to the end. The strong love of parents, and one cold twisted gal--she could turn on a dime- your head will be spinning. A haunting and gripping tale, vivid settings and well-developed characters….and did I mention plot(s)? If you have not read Susan previously, definitely start. Fans of Lisa Jewell, Diane Chamberlain and Heather Heather Gudenkauf will enjoy the complex multi-layered tale and domestic suspense. (my favorites). This may be Lewis' most intense yet! A cautionary tale for parents and teens, alike. Be careful who you befriend--it could prove deadly.

Review Links:


Praise for Susan Lewis “Powerful.”—Fresh Fiction, on No Place to Hide “A real page-turner.”—Kirkus Reviews, on Too Close to Home “Emotionally charged.”—RT Book Reviews, on Behind Closed Doors

About the Author

Susan Lewis

I was born in 1956, in Bristol. My father was a Welsh miner, a poet, an engineer and a thinker. My mother was one of 13 children who, at 20, persuaded my father to spend his bonus on an engagement ring instead of a motorbike. We were a normal, happy, nuclear family, living in a spanking new council house on the outskirts of town – my mother’s pride and joy. But we were going to do better, my mother had made up her mind about that. My father, an unabashed communist, was writing a book, I was signed up for ballet, elocution, piano and eventually a private boarding school, and my brother, (the real great love of my mother’s life) was going to succeed at everything he set his mind to.

I was 9 and my brother 5 when my mother died of cancer. She was 33, my father was 37, and he never married again.

I went to the boarding school, a rogue little pupil in amongst all the posh girls, with their plummy voices, rich parents and exotic tales of faraway places. I yearned for my mother and father, but it was for the best, I was told. My father couldn’t bring me up on his own. However, I believed he could, and because no one would listen to my pleas for freedom, I took it upon myself to get expelled. It took a while, and I had rather a fabulous time achieving it, and by the time I was thirteen I was back in our little council house with my father and brother.

The teenage years are too painful to go into.

When I was 18 I got a job at HTV in Bristol, and at 22 I moved to London to work for Thames. I began as a secretary in news and current affairs, then trained as a production assistant and moved on to light entertainment and drama. It was a love of drama, combined with a fierce ambition, that got me knocking on the Controller’s door to ask what steps to take to become a producer. “Oh, go away and write something,” came the reply. So I did. Read More






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