by Kerry Wilkinson
Published February 19, 2021
Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Paige, Richard and me. We thought we’d be friends forever. But everything changed the day we took the short cut home from school along the old railway line. I wish we’d gone the long way. I wish we hadn’t seen our classmate, pale and still in the undergrowth. And I wish we hadn’t promised to keep one, awful detail a secret just between us…
Twenty years later, I have a brand-new life, and try never to think about my old one.
But I’m dragged back when Paige calls out of the blue. Richard has been accused of something terrible. Everyone back home is whispering about the body we found years ago, and saying Richard deserves to be locked up…
Before I know it, I’ve returned to the small town I thought I’d never see again. Paige is almost the same as I remember ¬– jet black hair, slender frame – but why does she seem so nervous? She’s adamant the only way to clear our friend’s name is to tell the truth about what we saw twenty years ago.
Can I really trust that Paige is on my side – or is she hiding her own dark secret? And if we clear Richard’s name, will the blame fall on me?
When we find a strange note in Richard’s flat, one thing is for certain: someone else knows the truth too. All three of us are in danger…
Caveat: most of the characters in The Blame were unlikeable. The main characters include good friend, Paige who calls back her childhood friend (Harry) in Canada and asks him to come help out when another one of their childhood group (Richard) is arrested on suspicion of murder. Then there is Paige’s husband Oliver, a bully and Richard’s brother. Harry still owns a house he inherited with his sister Evie. You would think she would be ecstatic to see her brother after all of this time, but she treats him like a nuisance who is invading her privacy.
I found this book compelling. As you read follow Harry and Paige as they search for the real killer, you can empathize with Richard, who seems to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ahhh…but why was he there? That remains a mystery even after Harry confronts him in prison. I loved the back-and-forth comparisons of Harry’s “Americanized” routines (city vs. village, “hip” food vs. sausage and chips with vinegar; even the quality of the cold and snow feels different in England.
And another reason to read Kerry Wilkinson’s books is his use of language: “He clicks the door open and closed, leaving an awkwardness hanging like a crooked picture on a wall.” I’ve read Wilkinson before, and when I finished, I was ready to add another of his titles to my TBR pile!
Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an advance reader’s copy for review.