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Blame by Jeff Abbott


by Jeff Abbott

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Blame is running rampant in Lakehaven, Texas. Fingers are being pointed all over the small little town and they mostly seem to be pointing at Jane Norton. A seventeen year old girl who crashed her car with her neighbor and best friend, David Hall in a seemingly one vehicle involved accident. Jane woke up after four days in a coma to discover that she has lost three years of memories. Those three years contain the death of her father and three years at high school.

At first when she woke up, she didn't even recognize her mother. Although that memory came about very soon. Her friends, before high school, she remembers, as fourteen years old, not as they are today. Her new friends made in high school, she doesn't remember at all. She even has to relive the fact of her father's death due to an accident while handling a gun. A memory that was horrible to live through the first time.

When a suicide note is found near the crash several days later, Jane is blamed for the death of her friend, David. David is a very popular guy at school, Jane isn't or wasn't until now. However, her popularity is entirely negative. David has lived next door to her for years, they grew up together. She considered the Halls her extended family, not anymore. The fingers are pointing to blame and it's all in Jane's direction. This leads Jane to extremes in her living situation as she can't stand to live in "that house" anymore.

This is just the start of this book that leads to lots of suspense, action, jaw dropping findings, backstabbing, false newspaper stories, and mystery. The allegations have Jane determined she did not kill David, it was an accident and she will do whatever it takes to change everyone's opinion.

Another great read by Jeff Abbott that I requested on sight and am absolutely grateful to Grand Central Publishing and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. ( )
  debkrenzer | Aug 9, 2017 |
Jeff Abbott
Blame: A Thriller
Grand Central Publishing
Hardcover, 978-1-4555-5843-8, (also available as an e-book, an audiobook, and on Audible), 384 pgs., $26.00
July 18, 2017

“When you lose your memory, it’s a chance for the people around you to rewrite history.”

When she was seventeen, Jane Norton drove a SUV off a twisty road in an affluent Austin suburb, killing her best friend and next-door neighbor, David Hall. Jane suffered a closed-head injury that put her in a coma for four days and erased her memory of the three years preceding the accident (“The old Jane died; every version of David died”). Two years later, nineteen-year-old Jane is homeless, friendless, and family-less: she cannot bear to live in the house next door to David’s parents, and her mother refuses to move; her former friends turned on her, blaming her for popular golden-boy David’s death; she flunked out of college, unable to cope with the stress.

On the second anniversary of David’s death, Jane wakes to a message on social media: “I know what you claim you don’t remember, Jane. I know what happened that night. And I’m going to tell. All will pay.” When David’s mother, Perri, arrives at his grave that morning, “All will pay” is scrawled across the granite in white chalk. These taunts set in motion a chain of events prodding Jane’s memory awake, an intolerable threat to those who never forgot.

In Blame: A Thriller, Austin’s New York Times best-selling author Jeff Abbott explores the function of memory and its relation to identity, the corrosive effects of blame, the nature of regret, and the many forms of culpability. Jane says that “memories are the engines for our feelings.” If our memories are us, what happens when we don’t have memories?

Abbott’s characters are complex and diverse, and feel authentic. Technology is a character in Blame. It’s everywhere: Jane’s mother’s blog, the Dark Web, texting, social media, hackers. It’s fascinating to watch people react when the blame begins to spread, no longer confined to Jane. Perri’s paranoid descent is particularly affective as a study in grief. She is tightly-wound, brittle, ready to snap like a twig in cold weather. “[Jane] murdered the person Perri used to be,” Abbott writes.

He uncannily conjures the interiority of a teenage girl, and Jane’s flaws are refreshing—Abbott has resisted the temptation to perfect his protagonist. What if you recover your memory and discover you don’t like who you were? Blame has elements of a procedural with Jane as the investigator, her amateur sleuthing putting her in ever more danger as she gets closer to the mystery. Abbot presents a buffet of suspects with competing agendas. Who wants what from Jane? And how reliable is our narrator?

Writing with precision, Abbott concisely sets the stage in a page and a half, then incorporates twist after twist into a tight, fast-paced plot. The atmosphere is ominous, the sun-drenched gateway to the Texas hill country incongruously, viscerally creepy. Jane’s third-person narrative places the breadcrumbs masterfully, the momentum steadily escalating until this psychological suspense becomes an action thriller in the last fifty pages.

Abbott is a master craftsman, an architect, Racehorse Haynes building a case for reasonable doubt, brick by brick. Blame left me shaking my head in admiration for his mad skills.

Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life. ( )
  TexasBookLover | Jul 24, 2017 |
Following a horrific accident, an accident in which David Hall lost his life, Jane Norton finds she can remember nothing of the past three years. The discovery of what seemed to be a suicide note . . . one that Jane cannot remember writing . . . has made her a pariah, blamed by almost everyone for killing David and for failing to kill herself.

But Jane doesn’t remember what happened and she has questions. Questions about the accident, questions about why she was with David, questions about why she’d write a suicide note proclaiming her desire to die.

There’s so much she doesn’t understand, so much shielded within the black hole of the amnesia that clenches her in its unyielding grip and won’t let her remember. Should she seek the answers to the questions of the past surrounding the old-Jane she once had been or should she concentrate on moving forward as the new-Jane she has become since she woke up in the hospital four days after the crash?

Then an unknown sender messages her, proclaiming, “I know what really happened. I know what you don’t remember . . . .”

Bits and pieces of Jane’s memory surface as the plot twists and turns, slowly reveals its well-kept secrets. Jane’s desperation to find some answers, and the events her search sets in motion, serve to ratchet up the suspense and keep the pages turning. Well-developed, complex, believable characters, coupled with an intriguing plot and the relentlessly-mounting tension, make this tale one readers will find difficult to set aside before the final unexpected reveal.

Highly recommended. ( )
  jfe16 | Jul 22, 2017 |
I won a copy of this book from Goodreads and I’m so happy that I did, because this is the best book I’ve read so far this year.

When I first picked up Blame I didn’t have a lot of time to read so it took me a few days to get into it, but once I got around halfway through it, I just couldn’t put it down. I was carrying the book around with me so if my dad ran into the bank, I could read a page or if my mom was dropping something off somewhere I could maybe squeeze in a paragraph or two. By the time I got near the end I was just sitting outside reading, completely ignoring my mom and her friend. Usually I don’t read when other people are around, but I had to know how it would end.

When I finished the book I wasn’t surprised by the ending, I kind of had an idea of what was happening. So unfortunately I couldn’t give it a full five stars. However, the fact that I wasn’t positive was shocking. Whenever I read or watch a thriller, I always get to a point about halfway where I know who, why and how. With Blame I wasn’t positive. I just kind of thought maybe. I was right, but the fact that I wasn’t sure was completely different for me, which I just loved.

As I’m writing this review, I can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t enjoy and I have been recommending this book to everyone I know that reads. I will definitely be reading more by Jeff Abbott. If you are into thrillers, you should pick this one up. ( )
  TheTreeReader | Jul 15, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jeff Abbottprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carr, BaileyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fortgang, LaurenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johannson, VanessaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tremblay, GregNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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