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Wednesday 21 February 2018

‘Blame’ By Jeff Abbott

Published by Sphere,
28 December 2017.
ISBN 978-0-7515-5733-6 (PBO)

Over the last few years there have been a large number of books published with amnesiacs as the main character. However, I enjoyed this stand-alone psychological mystery thriller. I think mainly because the main character (although not particularly likeable) is well drawn. Jane Norton is suffering the mental, emotional, and psychological effects of losing her memory.  Her identity, as a developing teenager, has been eradicated and self-discovery is at the heart of the story. Jane has regressed back to the sulky difficult early teen years. Her outlook is sarcastic and scathing but about everything, including herself, as she struggles to make sense of things. 

Jane Norton is a lost girl, hiding away in a friend’s dorm-room on the university campus, living a marginal existence. Although she has a home at her mother’s house the relationship has soured and she has been living on the streets - rather than stay there and become more fodder for her mother’s web blog.

Jane is a misfit and leads an almost nomadic lifestyle, no longer comfortable anywhere. Two years previously she was involved in a car crash, which killed her friend David and left her with amnesia. At first, everyone was sympathetic, then they found Jane's note saying that she wished they were dead together’. As Jane was driving, everyone assumed it was a suicide attempt. From that day, the small privileged community she grew up in shunned her, she was ostracised by friends, and dropped out of college.

Jane is riddled with guilt and questions. She doesn’t understand why she was with David or why they were on that isolated road. When she receives an anonymous message on the anniversary of the accident, saying ‘I know what really happened. I know what you don't remember…’ she sets about trying to uncover the truth so that she can move on with her life.

With characters that are gritty and real, the reader is taken on a tense journey of discovery. Jane is angry and volatile, and the reader wonders how reliable she is, and what secrets she has buried from herself. As the cast of characters increases and Jane gets closer to the truth, all manner of ideas about what happened are hinted at but the motivations to the mystery are quite unexpected.
Reviewed by Christine Hammacott

Jeff Abbott graduated from Rice University with a degree in History and English. H is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of many mystery and suspense novels. He has been called “one of the best thriller writers in the business”
He lives in Austin with his wife and two sons.

 Christine Hammacott lives near Southampton and runs her own design consultancy. She started her career working in publishing as a book designer and now creates covers for indie-authors. She writes page-turning fiction that deals with the psychological effects of crime. To read a review of her debut novel The Taste of Ash click on the title.

twitter: /ChrisHammacott

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