Published by St. Martin's Press on July 7th 2009
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, General
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
A gripping thriller from Blake Crouch, internationally bestselling author of the Wayward Pines trilogy.
On Christmas Day in 1893, every man, woman and child in a remote gold mining town disappeared, belongings forsaken, meals left to freeze in vacant cabins; and not a single bone was ever found.
One hundred thirteen years later, two backcountry guides are hired by a history professor and his journalist daughter to lead them into the abandoned mining town so that they can learn what happened. With them is a psychic, and a paranormal photographer—as the town is rumored to be haunted. A party that tried to explore the town years ago was never heard from again. What this crew is about to discover is that twenty miles from civilization, with a blizzard bearing down, they are not alone, and the past is very much alive.
“The worst moments of your life you never see coming,”
Abandon by Blake Crouch is a mystery / suspense, horror yarn told in two different time periods. One story is set in 1893 in the old mining town of Abandon where everyone mysteriously disappeared one Christmas. The other story is set in 2009, about a group of hikers who travel to the abandoned mining town to discover what may have happened all of those years ago. I downloaded this book from my Kindle Unlimited account, and was lucky enough to get an audio narration along with the ebook. Lucky, because if it wasn’t for the narration, I’m not sure I would have ever finished reading the novel.
The modern-day story was very interesting to me. You have a history professor, his estranged daughter, a psychic and her paranormal photographer husband, and their guides. They’re traveling the rough terrain, telling stories about this mysterious ghost town, and then bad things begin to happen. Strange footsteps on their trail, disappearing group members, and lots of tragedy. This story was gripping, as the opening set in 1893 led me to believe that supernatural forces were at work. However, the story would go back in time every few chapters, and that’s where I would lose interest.
One of the problems I had with the flashback story was that it was told from multiple viewpoints from people I cared nothing about. Since the present day story was from the viewpoint of the daughter, I only cared about her and her father’s relationship troubles. The other characters were just scene fillers to me. Not only that, but the book was filled with colloquial language from the Old West, much of which I didn’t understand and couldn’t find in the dictionary. Honestly, there were whole paragraphs where I felt clueless about what was going on. The entire time I went though those chapters, I kept waiting for the story to veer back towards the present day storyline. This led to another problem.
The other problem is that once the Old West story got really good, and I was beginning to learn more about what happened to these people, I was confused about the events leading up to the incident. I was also confused about the characters, because of how much my mind would wonder during those chapters. Thanks to my poor reading comprehension through those chapters, I still have no clue why the villain did the things he did, or if there ever were any supernatural/psychotic beings wandering around town.
My love for Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy is what led me to want to read more of his writing. I’ll keep checking out his other books, but if you loved WP, then give this one a hard pass. It’s too much work to be entertaining, and the old times language was so difficult for me to understand, that it took me out of the action. Plus, the Old West storyline was very soap operas and had a very different tone from the modern-day story. It almost felt as if I was reading two entirely different novels. Read this one at your own risk!