Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Off The Shelf: Never Come Back by David Bell and a Giveaway

The selection I’m taking down from the bookshelf to share never_come_backwith you is NEVER COME BACK, a thrilling new novel by author David Bell that hit’s the book stores today.

This is David’s third thriller. He is also the author of Cemetery Girl and The Hiding Place. Thanks to David and the lovely Kayleigh at Penguin Group, I have a copy of David’s newest release to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for the details.

In addition, David joins us to talk about his book. First, here’s a brief synopsis of NEVER COME BACK (NAL Trade Paperback Original; October 1, 2013; 448 Pages; 978-0451417510):

    Elizabeth Hampton is consumed by grief when her mother dies unexpectedly. Leslie Hampton cared for Elizabeth’s troubled brother Ronnie’s special needs, assuming Elizabeth would take him in when the time came.
    But Leslie’s sudden death propels Elizabeth into a world of danger and double lives that undoes everything she thought she knew....
    When police discover that Leslie was strangled, they immediately suspect that one of Ronnie’s outbursts took a tragic turn. Elizabeth can’t believe that her brother is capable of murder, but who else could have had a motive to kill their quiet, retired mother?
    More questions arise when a stranger is named in Leslie’s will: a woman also named Elizabeth. As the family’s secrets unravel, a man from Leslie’s past who claims to have all the answers shows up, but those answers might put Elizabeth and those she loves the most in mortal danger. 

Now David talks about NEVER COME BACK.

My new novel, NEVER COME BACK, deals with the death of the protagonist’s mother. (This isn’t a spoiler…Mom is dead on the first page.) As the protagonist, Elizabeth, learns more about her mother’s death—and her mother’s life—she finds out that her mother had a pretty big secret in her past, one very few people knew about. It’s a shocking revelation for Elizabeth, but, to some lesser extent, don’t we all have a similar experience with our parents? Let’s face it, kids are self-centered. We have a tendency to think that our parents’ lives started the day we were born. And we know that’s simply not true. Our parents have childhoods. They have friends. They have first crushes and first kisses and first boyfriends and girlfriends. (I know some folks marry that first crush or that first kiss, but that’s rare…) They have lives. They come of age just like the rest of us.

When my dad died almost three years ago, I went through some of his things in the attic. I knew some details of my father’s life before he married my mom. I knew he was a bachelor until he was thirty-six. I knew he moved around a lot. He worked in sales and was frequently transferred to small cities in the Midwest. He never mentioned having other girlfriends, and I guess that when I was a kid I assumed being a bachelor meant not dating. I just figured that before Dad met Mom he was alone, living in his little apartment and waiting for the day Mom walked into his life and they started a family. Up in the attic, Dad kept a box of photographs and notes. I had never seen the contents of that box while he was alive, but once he was gone I went through it.

How do I explain the contents of that box?

Let’s just say Dad was popular with the ladies. I lost track of how many different women he was photographed with. At the beach, in restaurants, at parties, in night clubs and bars. Dad looked good then, a young man in his prime. Always smiling, always well-dressed, always with a drink in his hand…and usually with the other hand resting on one of those women

But why weren’t any of these women ever mentioned to me? I never knew their names, never heard them referred to. Why didn’t they ever even come up in conversation, even one time? “Oh, my friend Sally lived in Indianapolis…” or “I once knew a girl named Janet in East Lansing…” Was my dad just being discreet? Did he not want to embarrass my mother? Did he not want his son to think about his freewheeling, bachelor days? I’ll never know, of course, but I do know that my dad had a life—and a pretty good one in some ways—before I was born.
My dad doesn’t have any secrets as big as the one Elizabeth’s mother has in NEVER COME BACK. (At least not as far as I know…) The story isn’t strictly autobiographical. But it is emotionally autobiographical. It’s a story written by a son who will always wonder if he knew all there was to know about his father.

David, thanks for joining us and sharing this with us. It is amazing some of the things we find out about our parents after they pass away. After my mother died, I discovered that she had started writing a story. I never knew she ever thought about writing.

Now, here’s what some are already saying about David’s thrilling new book. 
Kirkus Reviews called NEVER COME BACKAn intriguing, layered psychological thriller. The chapters are short, flow easily into one another and carry their own twisted logic to a believable conclusion.” 

     Publishers Weekly said, “Bell does a good job exposing the seaminess underlying seemingly placid small-town life... sensational” 
Suspense Magazine said, “a definite page-turner... David Bell, once again, has written an incredible, unique thriller that will have you hooked!”


David Bell is the author of THE HIDING PLACE and CEMETERY GIRL both from NAL/Penguin. He is an Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
For more on Bell and his writing, visit his website and find him on Facebook


This giveaway is for one print copy of NEVER COME BACK. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.

To enter this giveaway, please send me an e-mail (mcbookshelf@gmail.com) with the subject line, “Win Never Come Back.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance to win a copy of NEVER COME BACK is 8 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope I’ve enticed you a bit with this look at NEVER COME BACK by David Bell.


  1. David, thanks again for joining us today. Your book is most intriguing. Wishing you much success.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting David.

    David - Thanks for sharing the story behind Never Come Back. I think a lot of us have that experience of learning things about our parents and finding out that we only thought we knew them well. It's interesting that that's part of what inspired your book. I wish you success with it.

  3. Intriguing that it's semi auto biographical.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.