Sent to me by the Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: 15/04/17
Publisher: Legend Press
Format: Paperback, 251pp
Summed up in a word: Reminiscent
First Impressions: Thank you for visiting Always Trust In Books for my stop on the Blame blog tour, hosted by Legend Press. I have a review to share with you today. Overall I thought Blame was a good read. I was geared up for a suspenseful and dramatic plot but in actual fact this was far more visceral and pensive than it seems. Lucas has experienced a lot in his time, addiction, rejection, confusion and affliction. Blame is a novel about closing the door on the past and all the grief that comes with it. I am grateful to have read this book, it is the kind of novel that expands your empathetic abilities. Thank you to Lucy at Legend Press for my review copy and for including me on this awesome blog tour.
Book Synopsis: It is the summer of 1989 when Lucas witnesses an event that will tear his family apart. Over a decade later, his estranged father succumbs to a suspected heart attack.
Lucas shuns grief and escapes to New York with his colleague Mariana. However, a dark secret from his past threatens to re-emerge and destroy the burgeoning relationship before it has even begun.
When his father’s girlfriend fails to reappear after reporting his death, the true cause of his demise falls under scrutiny. And as the startling truth comes to light, Lucas must confront the fact that father and son may not have been so different after all. (Official Legend Press Synopsis)
My Review – An intuitive and thoughtful novel about a man trying to process and move on from childhood trauma, along with the psychological consequences that follow.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this book wasn’t as dark and tense as it sounds from the synopsis. Paul Read’s moving and almost poetic writing adds a whole different dimension to a familiar type of storyline. The narrative follows Lucas Marr who has recently lost his father. Instead of feeling grief, Lucas is indifferent and confused about his emotions due to a complicated relationship with his father that extends through most of his life.
Lucas’ life has been a trying one, culminating in an addiction to heroin. We meet Lucas when he is one year sober, working in a successful pharmaceutical company. He is struggling to process his father’s death and that is largely because he couldn’t stand the man, but a part of him wants to grieve. When Lucas finds out that the police are treating his death as suspicious, he is forced to contemplate who may have had a grudge against his father. While searching for answers, Lucas finds a journal that documents the beginning of his family’s upheaval and eventual destruction.
The basis for plot is pretty thin in Blame. The book relies heavily on Lucas, as well as Read’s perceptive and emotional writing. Lucas’ character carries this book, he is a complex character that everyone can empathise with and invest in. Read’s writing makes it an thoughtful and satisfying reading experience. Lucas is plagued with emotional conflict and is keen to run from it all. Finding out that his father may have been killed pushes him to take a spontaneous trip to New York with potential love interest Mariana to try and avoid the grief. I really empathised with Lucas, his life has not been easy. Though drugs are not the answer, they forced him to face what is causing his addiction and make him pursuit closure to help move on.
The story mainly follows Lucas in the aftermath of his father’s death. After Lucas finds his journal, the reader gets short glimpses into a significant event from his childhood. These journal entries are childish, packed with drawings and silliness. They are also packed with underlying atmospheric changes and reveals that unlock a wider view of Lucas’ life and how he came to hate his father. I was moved by this story and I recommend it to all those readers who can appreciate an emotional, empathetic and atmospheric reading experience.
Paul Read really caught me off guard. I enjoyed the way his writing flowed, it has brilliant and amiable qualities. There are grittier themes like drug addiction and hate/rage threaded throughout, but overall Blame is an emotional struggle to move on from rejection, addiction and caged anger. I have given Blame 4/5 stars because Lucas’ story really drew me in and the book has a excellent sense of catharsis which you don’t usually get in the grittier emotional drama novels these days.
About Paul Read: After gaining a first in Fine Art at the Kent Institute of Art and Design at Canterbury, Paul Read moved to London, finding employment at Foyles bookshop before becoming a teacher. He has worked in several inner-city schools as an Art, English and supply teacher, both in England and Italy. He received a distinction from City University London for his creative writing MA.
A few years ago, Paul was involved in a hit-and-run incident which put him in a wheelchair for several months and was where he wrote the first draft of The Art Teacher. He lives with Patricia and their two children. Follow him on Twitter: @paulreadauthor
Thank you to everyone who has read this review. I appreciate all your feedback and I hope you get a chance to pick up Blame. For plenty more information about the book, please check out the other stops on the blog tour. See the poster below for more information.