Thriller Thursday: The Blame Game by Sandie Jones
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
The Blame Game by Sandie Jones
Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Minotaur Books (August 16, 20212)
Length: 256 pages
Author Information: Website | Twitter
The Blame Game was my fourth book by Sandie Jones, and as usual her domestic thrillers are reliable entertainment, though this was not my favorite. While the story was interesting to follow, confounding character motivations and slapdash detective work dragged this one down for me, unfortunately.
As the novel opens, we are introduced to our protagonist Naomi, a psychologist who runs a private practice out of her own home. She has two major clients: Jacob, a middle-aged man who has just recently made the decision to leave his cruel and abusive wife, as well as Anna, a traumatized young woman who has become estranged from her husband after the loss of their child.
Against her better judgment (as well as her husband’s wishes), Naomi decides to help Jacob out by letting him lie low at her vacation cottage while he makes the separation arrangements. This being a major breakthrough by her client, Naomi wants to ensure that Jacob’s wife won’t find him and intimidate him out of the decision. Soon after that though, Naomi’s other client, Anna, also comes to her seeking help to escape her toxic marriage. Unable to turn away another client in need, Naomi decides to give Anna a place to stay as well, this time in an extra room in her house.
One thing leads to another, and eventually Naomi can no longer keep her husband in the dark about either Jacob or Anna, putting strain on her own marriage. To make matters worse, one day Jacob calls Naomi in a panic, asking to meet in a hotel bar over fears that his wife has tracked him down. Naomi goes to see him and succeeds in calming her distraught client, but not long after that, Jacob goes missing. Naomi is aware how bad this looks for her, since she’s the last person to see him, but how will she convince the police she’s innocent when someone seems to keep manipulating the evidence to keep pointing the blame at her?
To anyone paying attention, the main issue should be obvious. As a psychologist, Naomi crosses the line between client and therapist big time—not just once, but many, many times. Neither is this the first it has happened, according to her husband, who is right to be frustrated and angry at Naomi, who just keeps digging herself deeper and deeper. Needless to say, it was hard to sympathize with a character whose every action I thought was irresponsible and at times downright idiotic. As such, it also made her completely unconvincing as a psychologist and professional.
All in all, the plot was also a bit of a jumble. As a thriller, the novel succeeds in keeping the pace quick and suspense high, but as a mystery it is confusing and not very realistic, especially when the police get involved. Clues are not so much clues as a roadmap, trite as events in the story had to be in order to make things work. Much of it felt forced, but no surprise there, considering the protagonist’s insistence to make the wort possible choice at every turn.
The good news is that the end was worth getting to, though the ending did not make the overall story any more feasible, and in fact makes things feel even more outrageous. But in the end, that’s the fun of a Sandie Jones thriller. It’s just too bad that an aggravating main character prevented me from liking this more or taking this story more seriously. Still, while The Blame Game might not be my favorite of her novels, it was quick and entertaining.
It’s a bit too bad when it’s not realistic…
I give thrillers a lot of leeway, but yeah sometimes it’s just too much.
If the main character had a license, it would be revoked pronto.
I would probably have dnf’d this 😀
Haha yeah, it’s really amazing she was able to get away with it for so long. Married or not, if I had been in the husband’s shoes, I would have reported her myself.
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Too bad this one wasn’t as good as the previous books.
Yeah, it felt a bit rushed and not too thought out, to be honest…
Something tells me I would want to hit the main character with a blunt object every other page… 😀 😀 😀
Goodness, I know I wanted to! Like, bitch, stop doing dumb things! LOL!
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What Maddalena said.
Don’t you just hate incompetent main characters? 😀
I thought maybe Naomi would have let Anna stay at an extra room at the cottage she was keeping Jacob at and those two would meet and it would turn into a cozy romantic thriller. 🙂
If only, haha! Romance is the only genre I would be moved to further suspend my disbelief 😀
Mogsy, it is good to read an honest review, I get a bit bored with “it is a real page-turner” and “unputdownable”. So good for you.
In the interests of constructive criticism (or being a pedant), you’ve got three stars at the top and four at the bottom. Does that make it three and a half stars?
Hi James, thanks for catching that! It was my mistake, just inserted the wrong star image file. I’ve fixed it!
I agree with you, Mogsy. Naomi is way too unprofessional, and the storyline does seem unrealistic. Great review!