MysteryPeople Review: BLAME by Jeff Abbott

Jeff Abbott joins us Tuesday, July 18th, at 7 PM to speak and sign his latest, Blamewhich just so happens to come out the day of the event! Come by the store to be one of the first to get a signed copy. Jeff will be appearing in conversation with fellow Austin-based thriller writer, Meg Gardiner. Before the event, our Meike Alana had a chance to review Abbott’s latest, set in a wealthy lakeside community with plenty of secrets…

  • Review by MysteryPeople Contributor Meike Alana

9781455558438Jeff Abbott is one of the most versatile authors in the crime fiction genre, and his broad story-telling talents are on full display in his latest thriller. The deeply psychological Blame has it all—a cast of fully-realized complicated characters with plenty of secrets, and a tightly-wound suspenseful plot with so many twists and turns that you’ll never see the ending coming.  I’m just glad Blame came out during the longer days of summer because this is one of those books that will keep you up at night–first you won’t be able to put it down until way past your bedtime, and then you’ll lie awake trying to puzzle out the characters’ secrets and the plot’s riddles.

Two years ago Jane Norton crashed her car on a deserted road, killing her neighbor David and leaving her with amnesia.  At first her community is sympathetic, but when what appears to be a suicide note (“I wish we were dead together”) is found near the crash site Jane becomes the town pariah—and no one hates her more than David’s mother Perri.  Jane is still reeling from the trauma of the accident and struggling to reconstruct a complete identity for herself with just shards of memory.  She has a lot of questions about the accident, and no one has answers.

On the anniversary of the accident, a mysterious Internet poster taking the name of Liv Danger threatens both Jane and Perri, claiming that “all will pay” and “I know what you don’t remember.”  As Jane begins piecing together hints from her past, she becomes convinced that she wasn’t trying to kill herself and that the accident may have been murder.  The closer she gets to the truth, the more she realizes that she may not be able to trust those closest to her—her therapist, her closest friend, and even her mother (who is trying to have Jane committed to a mental institution).

The unreliable female narrator has been a popular theme in recent literary mysteries, and Abbott takes that to a whole new level with the amnesiac accident victim Jane.  Although not told in first person, the reader is privy to Jane’s thoughts but not the motivations of those around her.  She’s lost her own identity in the accident that erased her memory; she only knows who she is through the memories that her mother and her friends provide her.  As she comes to realize those memories may not be accurate or complete, Jane begins to question who she herself really is—and the reader is left to puzzle over the truth of the story that’s unspooling for us.

Jeff Abbott is a master storyteller and one of our favorites here at MysteryPeople.  He has written thirteen novels across three distinctly different series, five stand-alone thrillers, a young adult novel, and a plethora of short stories in a variety of anthologies.  Blame is a great introduction to his talents for the first-time Abbott reader.  Rest assured that when you finish his latest, you’ll be hooked—and your favorite indie is ready to feed your new Abbott addiction.

Blame comes out Tuesday, July 18th! Pre-order a copy now. Jeff Abbott joins us here at BookPeople to launch his latest thriller on the day of the release – come by the store Tuesday, July 18th, at 7 PM, and be one of the first to get a signed copy! Jeff will be appearing in conversation with fellow Austin-based thriller writer Meg Gardiner. 

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