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Andrea’s Pick of the Week: The Blaze by Chad Dundas

At the start of this book, Matt Rose is in a Humvee in eastern Baghdad, not sure who he is or what he’s doing there. Five months later, Rose is back in Missoula, Montana, his hometown, discharged from the military with a traumatic brain injury and still trying to piece together memories of his past life. His father has recently committed suicide and Matt is the executor of his estate. When Matt goes to his dad’s house to look around, he catches a burglar, and this sets off a chain of mysterious events in the town that are somehow connected to his past. His ex-girlfriend, Georgie, is now a journalist at the local paper and helps him figure out the seemingly disconnected series of crimes. As the two try to pull together the threads of the story, both find themselves in increasing danger.

Missoula, MT

This is a propulsive, exciting story, with excellent writing and believable plot twists. It reminded me of early John Grisham (minus the legal plot) or David Baldacci. The whole “main character with amnesia” plot line could be a tired one, but in Dundas’s hands, it felt fresh and interesting. I found myself pulling for Matt and Georgie, both likable, well-developed characters. I was also curious about the town of Missoula, which serves as an interesting backdrop: a college town with its requisite liberals, but also rooted in its Western past. An excellent thriller!

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