Blame

Hellraiser

Jeff Abbott 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” (Washington Post). His novels have been called “compulsively readable” (Chicago Sun Times), “outstanding. . .genuinely moving” and “fresh, original… intricately woven” (Publishers Weekly), “nail-bitingly suspenseful and totally original” (Irish Independent), and “extremely compelling” (Associated Press). He is published in many languages and has been a bestseller in the US, the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, Portugal, and other countries. Jeff’s novel Adrenaline was a Summer Great Reads choice by both The Today Show and Good Morning America. His novel Inside Man was a Summer Book Pick by O, The Oprah Magazine, and a Best Beach Reads pick by USA Today.  Jeff is a winner of the Thriller Award (for The Last Minute) and was nominated for the Thriller Award for Panic. He is a three-time nominee for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award and a two-time nominee for the Anthony Award. Jeff’s first novel, Do Unto Others, won both the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award. His novels AdrenalinePanic, and Collision have been optioned for film and are in script development. Jeff graduated from Rice University with a degree in History and English. He lives in Austin with his wife and two sons. Visit his website at https://jeffabbott.com/

 

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What she would never remember: their broken screams starting with I love . . . and I hate . . . , the sudden wrenching pull, the oh-no-this-is-happening-this-can’t-be-happening feeling of falling as the SUV rocketed off the road, the horrifying downward slope of the hillside in the headlights, his hands tight over hers on the steering wheel, the smashing thunder of impact, the driver’s-side airbag exploding in her face, the rolling, the lights dying, the unforgiving rock, and then the blow to the head that undid her and wiped her clean and made her new.

The old Jane died; every version of David died. The new Jane, product of a dark night’s fury and tragedy, knew nothing more until she woke up four days later, remembering nothing, not her name, her mother’s face, the crash, what had happened to her in that hospital bed, or any of her past seventeen years. Slowly the memories began to seep back: her birthdays when she was a child, cake sweet and soft on her lips; the smoky, rich aroma of her grandfather’s pipe matched with the woolly smell of his tweed jacket with leather elbow patches; her mother’s favorite lavender soap; the notebook she’d filled with short, odd adventure stories one summer and proudly read to her dad; the faces of her teachers; the smile of the librarian who’d give her stickers during the summer reading program; the feel of her hand in her father’s palm; the faces and the laughter of her friends when they were kids.

Sometimes the memories felt immediate; sometimes they felt like something she’d seen in a film, present but distant, nothing to do with the person she was now.

Except for the past three years.

Jane was seventeen, but as the memories surged back, she was stuck at fourteen. Those last three years were gone, all the joy and all the drama of her high school life, lost in the damage and the trauma. Including those mysterious, unexplainable final hours, when she was with a boy she wasn’t supposed to be with, when she was out doing no one knows what. The girl lived and eventually limped back into the bright sunshine, and the boy died and went into the cold ground, a secret sleeping with him.

And so the world she knew turned against her.

Except someone watched, and waited, and wondered how much of that night Jane Norton really remembered.

 

(C) Jeff Abbott 2017

 

 

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