By Blake Crouch
I got into Blake Crouch with his Wayward Pines series. Good popcorn and jujubee reading. He mixes thriller, mystery, and scifi, while throwing in some good interpersonal elements. After reading the series, I went straight to Amazon so see what else was out there. I ranked his books by positive reviews, read some reviews, and found Abandon was probably for me.
I wanted to like it. There were a couple of elements that appealed to me. There was a mystery. Why did the entire town of Abandon disappear a hundred years ago? There were interesting relationships. The main character, Abigail, and her father were estranged, but decided to go together to explore this old mountain ghost town together. There were secrets. Abigail’s father was actually looking for hidden gold, to the tune of millions. There was conflict. Bad guys (there are always bad guys) are after the gold, too.
The structure of the story was fairly simple, Abigail’s story interspersed with 1890’s Abandon stories. This is what didn’t work for me. The 1890’s stories had no main thread. There were too many characters, none of whom seemed to be the center of the story. One character, Lana, was a mute woman who played piano in a saloon. Her story became somewhat important later in the book, but she was not developed in the middle, which left her end story kind of bland. In fact, I found the whole 1890’s part to be uninteresting.
The ending of the story set in the present was OK, though. There were a couple of good guys that turned into bad guys at the final moment, which was not very satisfying, however. A character that showed up for a page in the beginning, similarly shows up for a page at the end, and turns out to be a big bad guy, with very little connective tissue in the intervening 300 pages.
It’s too bad, really. I wanted to like Abandon. I will still read Blake Crouch, I am certain. I just don’t think I’ll go too far back into his catalog.