Alex Buchanan has returned to his hometown. He’s not happy about it, but it seems he has no choice. His estranged father is dying and it won’t be long before he’s gone. Alex’s sister has asked him to clear out the trailer their father has been living in. It’s bitter and frustrating work. Topping it off, the editor of the magazine Alex writes for has asked him to write a story about going home and dealing with the family and life he’d rather just leave behind. He has a hope, though. His childhood best friend and first real love, Ben Morning, still lives in town, and Alex really wants to see him. He feels the need to apologize for not keeping in touch with Ben when he moved away. Instead, Alex finds himself drawn into a local mystery and his reporter’s instincts won’t let him let it go.
Ben forgave Alex a long time ago, realizing they were they were just kids when they parted. However, Ben has issues of his own. When he was young, just before Alex left, his older sister disappeared. He had to grow up quickly after that. His mother, who was nothing to write home about anyway, threw herself into his sister’s disappearance and Ben had to pretty much raise himself. Now, Alex is back, and not only is Ben coming to terms with that, there’s a break in his sister’s case that threatens the life he’s built for himself. It’s possible it will come between him and Alex and the road they’ve started traveling to find their way back to each other.
I really loved this book. I honestly can’t think of one single issue that would make me take off even a quarter of a star. It’s got action, mystery, family issues, romance, and sex. Add to that some interesting background characters and a small town that is almost a character unto itself, and Chris Scully has written what, to me, is the perfect read.
Alex broke my heart as the guilt ridden hero who has grown up regretting how he and Ben parted ways. He’s also angst ridden because he has blamed his father for the breakup of their family and now he’s got to face the man and his coming death. Alex didn’t even want to come home. However, his father has actually asked for him and his sister has insisted he come. Alex’s pain really tugged at me and I actually ached for him to get his happily ever after.
Ben…talk about a character that breaks a heart. He lost everything twenty years ago. His sister is gone. His mother virtually ignored him for his entire life, and Alex, his best friend (and very likely, first love), had to leave. Even in the face of all that, he made a life for himself. He’s lonely, though, and sad. I wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be alright.
I mentioned the great background characters. Every single one of them fulfilled their role completely. Ben’s mother, Alex’s sister and father, and like I said, the town itself were all necessary to tell this story. They were written very well and none of them were there to chew scenery. I never felt overwhelmed by them and they supported the characters of Alex and Ben without overpowering them.
The mystery underneath everything else was excellent. Yes, I figured it out before it was solved, but that wasn’t a problem at all. It was so good and so well thought out, I was impressed in spite of myself. It was obvious Chris Scully did quite a bit of research about crime scenes and police investigations. None of it was clunky or murky. It was clear and concise and it made me wish every mystery/whodunit could be like this.
I’m a sucker for a romance with a happily ever after and Alex and Ben’s story gave me that. It wasn’t quick and easy, though. It was bumpy and occasionally sad, but it didn’t bog the book down. You’ve all read enough of my reviews to know that I hate too much angst. A little goes a long way with me and with Back to You, I got just enough. Alex and Ben’s issues didn’t solve themselves too quickly, but they did give me a feeling of hope that everything would be fine in the long run.
Really, everybody. I loved this book. I think that everyone should read it. It’s got something for everyone, and it’s written so well you won’t want to put it down. I know I didn’t. I stayed up until 5:00 am, and when I finally did go to sleep, I dreamed of Alex and Ben and how their lives would continue. Definitely do yourself a favor and pick this one up.