Blame by Jeff Abbott

The Blurb On The Back:

The crash that killed him

Two years ago, Jane Norton crashed her car on a lonely road, killing her friend David and leaving her with amnesia.  At first, everyone was sympathetic.  Then they found Jane’s note: I wish we were dead together.

A girl to blame

From that day, the town turned against her.  But even now Jane is filled with questions: why were they on that road?  Why was she with David?  Did she really want to die?

The secrets she should forget

Most of all, she must find out who has just written an anonymous message: <u>I know what really happened.  I know what you don’t remember.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Jane Norton remembers nothing about the car crash she was in 2 years ago – the crash that killed her best friend David Hall and left her with amnesia for the 3 years preceding it.  At first the residents of the small Texas town of Lakehaven were sympathetic to Jane – especially given that her father had died from a gun accident a few years earlier, leaving her mum (a famous yummy mummy blogger) to raise her alone.  But then the questions begin: why were Jane and David driving on such a remote road and why were they together when both were dating other people?  When the police discover a note in Jane’s handwriting at the crash scene that says “I wish we were dead together” the case seems open and shut: Jane tried to commit suicide and killed David instead.

Now aged 19, Jane’s living a chaotic life.  Having dropped out of college she’s ostracised from her mum and former classmates and alternates between living on the street and staying in her friend Adam’s college dorm.  But with the anniversary of David’s death approaching, she’s finally ready to start getting her life back together only for someone calling themselves Liv Danger to post on her Faceplace page claiming to know what happened the night of the crash and make everyone pay …

Despite its clichéd premise, Jeff Abbott’s standalone thriller is a pacey affair that maintains a strong sense of intrigue that kept me turning the pages until the final reveal, which raises more questions than answers and exposes the holes in the preceding plot.

I enjoyed the split narration between Jane’s attempts to remember what happened and who she was with Perri Hall’s (David’s mother) conviction of Jane’s culpability and determination to prove the same as it creates a conflict right from the beginning and creates doubt about both women.  Although I’m generally sceptical about amnesia as a plot device, Abbott makes Jane’s reaction to it believable enough to overlook the contrivance of having it wipe out all her memories since her dad’s death and I did buy into the difficult relationship she has with her controlling mother who clearly hasn’t got over losing the prestige she had of running a successful blog due to Jane’s perceived culpability.  I also believed in Perri’s grief and how that had led to the break-up of her marriage to Cal, who’s trying to move past their son’s death – certainly enough to believe in her vendetta against Jane and the lengths she’d go to prove that she was responsible.

However there are some bum notes in the book, most notably in Shiloh Rooke (a paramedic who worked on Jane and David after the crash) who is never remotely believable and who acts in a way that’s purely there to service the plot.  I also thought that the ending only really served to show up some holes in the plot (e.g. the poor preservation of the crash site, the lack of criminal charges) and is very rushed compared to all the build up, doing a disservice to the two central characters.

Notwithstanding the bum notes I did enjoy this read and it kept me turning the pages and I would definitely check out Abbott’s other books on the strength of it.

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

3 thoughts on “Blame by Jeff Abbott

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