Smooth, graceful, with a whiplash plot trajectory.
Bring Her Home by David Bell should be required reading for all novice writers. This is how it should be done. Even though the missing-child plot is not new or unique, it has seldom been carried off with such grace and skill and unrelenting action. The plot is highly complex and changes direction in just about every chapter. Just when readers will feel they have it all figured out, they should hold on and strap on their seat belts. The many turning points and end-of-chapter hooks guarantee that readers will find it hard not to go on to the next chapter. In addition, the author casts shade on almost every character, thus creating a dizzying array of suspects. Few will accurately project the ending.
The characters are all clearly drawn through realistic, differentiated dialogue and actions, NOT through tell, but through show. Because the author obviously has a clear idea of who his characters are, they are unique and become clear to readers. Again, this is how it should be done. In addition, Bell includes just the right amount of character backstory to round out all the actors including their weaknesses and flaws.
Bell creates a great sense of place via visual details that appear naturally and do not slow down the action. The actual geographical location makes no difference because readers can see and feel hospital rooms and bedrooms and kitchens and a body on a floor. Readers will believe they could find their way around the protagonist’s home.
Except, arguably, for a few too many participles, the text is flawless. Again, literary novices should read Bring Her Home to spark their creative abilities and learn how to carry off the stylistic elements most crucial to the creation of a great read. Those who do not write will be thrilled by how smoothly and clearly the text will flow through their minds, and will find a new appreciation for quality writing.