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on 29 December 2016
A tale of the lost town of ‘Abandon’, where all of the inhabitants curiously disappeared on Christmas Day 1893, apparently having left their homes in an almighty hurry. Interwoven with this is the mystery of one of the wealthiest inhabitants of the town, Bart Packer, and the part that his gold played in the sudden disappearance of everyone.

The story is explained by reference to a 2009 expedition which goes back to ‘Abandon’, in an effort to locate the remains of the townspeople and the missing gold. Of course, the expedition doesn’t go according to plan and whatever can go wrong, does. The situation is not helped by the worsening weather conditions and at an elevation of 12-13000 feet in the San Juan Mountain range in the Rockies, the group experience plummeting temperatures and blizzard conditions. Furthermore, there is a second, far more deadly group out there, also intent on laying their hands on ‘Packer’s Gold’ and not afraid to use lethal force to do so.

An excellent story, exciting and very fast-paced. The only criticism I would have (and it’s not much of one really), is that some of the 1893 conversation is completely unintelligible. For example, Kindle page 159:-

“I know it, Doc, and you’re slick-heeled. Hope that cremello a yours is clear-footed.”
“Don’t worry. She may be light in the timber, but she’s lady-broke and she’s got bottom.”

Ahhhh, yes – got it, I think??? (Actually, I'm still not too sure what it means really ...)
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VINE VOICEon 2 March 2017
I haven't read any of Crouch's work before and I'm unlikely to return in a hurry, even though I've bought another book of his. I found Abandon to be a bit of a shaggy dog's story, and not the genre I thought it would be at all. I'll clarify that at the end so not to spoil any potential surprises for you. The characters were rather one dimensional and uninteresting and when placed in to a weak and very padded out story, there was no real immersion in the adventure.

Half of the book is rather bland historical fiction, a western genre is not what I expected and I found the backstory every other chapter very tedious, it seemed a mechanic just to prolong the story.

Potential SPOILERS: My biggest gripe is how this book is marketed. We have the allure of a paranormal photographer, of hauntings, and check out that ghostly cover. It's misdirection. This is horror or supernatural in it's weakest form and I was disappointed.
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on 1 February 2017
For me, I was slightly let down on two fronts by Abandon. I don’t like to start off what will be a very positive review (it will, honest) with a negative. But, I just feel it has to be done in this case. This is not something I class as a spoiler, simply because if you are expecting it to be something it is not, you may wish to avoid reading the book. At the time of writing this review, Abandon is number 2 in Horror on Amazon. A piece of text I read on the Bookbub newsletter (I heard about this title through Bookbub) made note of the fact that a pair of paranormal investigators were brought in with the team to head up to Abandon to solve the mystery. Those two points (horror plus ghost hunters) heavily lead me to believe that I would be reading a horror story with a supernatural element. Sadly, what I had in my hands was neither a horror nor a supernatural piece. It is a thriller/suspense novel, an incredibly good thriller/suspense novel, but not exactly the horror I had hoped for and felt I was promised.

Once I had gotten over my disappointment of not having a ghost book to read, I really enjoyed Abandon. Blake’s writing is incredibly exciting and fast-paced. There quite simply isn’t a chapter that goes by (and there are a lot of chapters, all of them fairly short) where something doesn’t happen that has you wanting to keep reading.

Abandon is a tale two time periods. Every five or six chapters the focus shifts from 2009 to 1893 and you go from following Abby and Lawrence’s story to following that of the missing residents of Abandon on Christmas Day. Being a lover of historical fiction, this excited me. I do feel, though, that even if you dislike historical fiction, you would still enjoy these pieces as they are so well-written and character driven. Even though you know the people of Abandon vanish and that, seeing as how the book is set for a good period in 2009 none of those characters could possibly be alive, you still find yourself pulling for them. I couldn’t help but feel bitterly sad at one point for one of the characters. Nor could I stop myself feeling rage towards other characters for their evil actions, despite none of it really mattering as, one-hundred and sixteen years later, everyone will be bones anyway. If anything, I think I found myself deeply attached to the people of the past far more so than the ones of the present, and I applaud Blake Crouch for making me feel this way.

A minor negative for me would be that I just didn’t quite buy into some of the characters in the present. Only one or two, mind you, but whether it was the way they spoke, or the way they acted or just how my preconceived notion of how a person in their field/line of work/position etc … should act differed from how Crouch’s characters acted I simply don’t know. But a couple just stuck out as being something I was uninterested in.

Another minor negative would be the ending for me. Well, not all of it. I’d say in-between a third and half of it. In a way everything was ended really well, but in another way I found certain aspects unsatisfactory to my sense of how I expected them to go. That is an unfair thing to class as a negative, I know. As an author myself, I know how frustrating it is when the reader thinks they know better than you. It isn’t even a big thing that makes me feel sour on the end, just tiny little things I just wished had happened differently. So please don’t read this and think ‘urgh, not gonna bother if the ending isn’t six stars out of five’. My response to that would be ‘don’t be stupid. Everyone’s opinion is different. You will probably read it, love the ending (which was poignant in a certain way) and think me the biggest fool in the world.’

The overall feelings I am taking away from Abandon are that I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome the book turned out to be after I realised it wasn’t about ghosts, and that I shall be hunting down more of Blake Crouch’s books in the future. He is one of the more exciting thriller/suspense writers that I have read over the years and I think it would be a sin to stop at one book. Especially seeing as how so many of the covers looks so neat … who says you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover?
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on 7 August 2016
In 1893 every single resident of a remote, bleak mining town in America disappeared without trace and in 2009 a party set out, ostensibly to research the history of the town and find out what happened. The story swings between the two time frames and the action starts early, not just in the historical plot, but also in the present day - the investigators had barely hit town when their trip took a horrifying turn. The reader is gripped from the start and the pace doesn't let up.
Prosaic, vivid descriptions and well researched subject knowledge create superb atmosphere in both periods, and the action-packed plot keeps the reader on tenterhooks throughout.
However, there was one thing that irked me, being a person who uses the Kindle dictionary liberally. The author uses an abundance of colloquialisms and (unknown to me) brand-names, little of which is explained in either the US or UK Kindle dictionary, and while for the most part, I could ignore it, I found at times I was literally losing the plot. For example, it took me several chapters to realise a shadowgee was a lantern, not a gun, and the jargon became more distracting as I raced to the climax.
I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it but with reservations – be prepared to be lost at times. I wouldn't rule out reading more from this author, but before buying, I would try to make sure I would be able to understand it.
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on 27 September 2017
This is a great read,loads of twists and turns.It starts in the tough mining town high in the mountains in late 1800s,once a thriving community,then, the people dissapear on christmas day no bodies, no blood,no sign of struggle.Then the story goes forward to the present time where a group of researchers are heading off into the mountains in search of Abandon and possibly find how and why the town became a ghost town.The story flits back and forth between these times,and really it seems it could be two novels in one.So many characters, well researched,they were harsh times and conditions for so many people coming from around the country to make their fortune,but,instead finding hellish conditions especially in the winter.
I couldn't put this book down,you genuinely couldn't wait to find out what happened to the inhabitants of the town and the research team,you won't be disappointed, brilliant.
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on 23 October 2016
There are books with lots of twists and turns. Then there is this book. Every time you think you have reached a natural place for the story to move on it loops round again. I lost count of the amount of times they were lost in the wilderness. Again. And lost count of the amount of times 'dead' people popped back up.

Good premise, definitely creepy in parts but way too long and the story loses itself within itself. It was like JUST FINISH ALREADY!!!!!
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on 7 January 2017
Great book. Parallel stories of 2009 and 1893 - both showing how greed can dominate and lead people to do terrible things.

My only criticism is the use of words and phrases in the 1893 story that I just didn't understand; I guess it is the old 'wild west' way of speaking, but I just didn't know what they were trying to say sometimes, even the Kindle dictionary was stumped! Could have done with some sort of glossary of the terms used. For instance a character 'pulled a puck from her prayer book', 'wrote by the light of a shadowgeee' and was 'jonesing to break out her skis'? I decided punk = match, shadowgee = lantern, jonesing = keen - but there were many other examples I couldn't work out. Maybe American readers would understand better than I did? Nevertheles, a great book.
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on 8 December 2016
This book exceeded my expectations. It's a little slow for a while after the opening chapters and after about 100 pages, I was wondering how, even with the double story-line, the tale could possibly fill approximately 400 more. The secret is in all the twists and turns which repeatedly take the plot in unexpected directions in this action-driven novel. It is also a little deeper than you might expect. There is no hint of this in the blurb from either Blake Crouch or the editors - and quite rightly so, since it would spoil some of the surprises! If you are intrigued, the only answer is to buy the book which develops into a truly riveting read with some memorable and very moving scenes along the way!
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on 6 November 2016
Well, I ploughed my way through to the end and I felt pretty much like the characters must have felt ploughing through that endless snow in the book. This is a tome that really needed some ruthless editing - it's way too long, and with too many poorly-painted characters to remember or care about.

As for the end - unsatisfying because it's unbelievable. I really wish I hadn't bothered.
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on 29 September 2013
This is the 3rd Crouch book I have read (and have more downloaded) and I gave the others 4 and 5 stars. This one wasn't as good as them. However it was an ok read. I really wanted to know how a whole town could disappear without leaving bones, etc. especially as Christmas dinners were still on the tables - so not a planned evacuation of the town. I hadn't guessed what had happened, but after I found out, I felt the parts of the book set in the past, were a bit dragged out. There was much more action in the present day chapters, which also had twists and turns I didn't see coming. I felt the ending was a bit weak though.

There was a fair bit of swearing, and I found the language (non-swearing) of the 1880's people a bit difficult to follow, not helped by some typos. Did people really talk like that?? A bit disappointing and I hope the next books of his that I read are up to the 4 and 5 star mark!
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