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The Blaze
by Chad Dundas




Overview -
In Dundas' assured hands, one man's search for answers makes for a lyrical, riveting meditation on memory.--EW

One man knows the connection between two extraordinary acts of arson, fifteen years apart, in his Montana hometown--if only he could remember it.

Having lost much of his memory from a traumatic brain injury sustained in Iraq, army veteran Matthew Rose is called back to Montana after his father's death to settle his affairs, and hopefully to settle the past as well. It's not only a blank to him, but a mystery. Why as a teen did he suddenly become sullen and vacant, abandoning the activities and people that had meant most to him? How did he, the son of hippy activists, wind up enlisting in the first place?

Then on his first night back, Matthew sees a house go up in flames, and it turns out a local college student has died inside. And this event sparks a memory of a different fire, an unsolved crime from long ago, a part of Matthew's past that might lead to all the answers he's been searching for. What he finds will connect the old fire and the new, a series of long-unsolved mysteries, and a ruthless act of murder.

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More About The Blaze by Chad Dundas

 
 
 

Overview

In Dundas' assured hands, one man's search for answers makes for a lyrical, riveting meditation on memory.--EW

One man knows the connection between two extraordinary acts of arson, fifteen years apart, in his Montana hometown--if only he could remember it.

Having lost much of his memory from a traumatic brain injury sustained in Iraq, army veteran Matthew Rose is called back to Montana after his father's death to settle his affairs, and hopefully to settle the past as well. It's not only a blank to him, but a mystery. Why as a teen did he suddenly become sullen and vacant, abandoning the activities and people that had meant most to him? How did he, the son of hippy activists, wind up enlisting in the first place?

Then on his first night back, Matthew sees a house go up in flames, and it turns out a local college student has died inside. And this event sparks a memory of a different fire, an unsolved crime from long ago, a part of Matthew's past that might lead to all the answers he's been searching for. What he finds will connect the old fire and the new, a series of long-unsolved mysteries, and a ruthless act of murder.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399176098
  • ISBN-10: 0399176098
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Publish Date: January 2020
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.35 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Blaze

A good trope in mystery is a protagonist whose memory, for one reason or another, has been wiped. This is the case in Chad Dundas’ latest novel, The Blaze, when Iraq War vet Matthew Rose loses much of his long-term memory after an explosion and subsequent traumatic brain injury. 

The blaze of the book’s title is a mystery in itself, as the story features two fires. The first blaze we learn about happens just as Matt returns to his Montana hometown to collect his dead father’s effects. The second happened at the town’s candy store when Matt was a child. Though Matt remembers little else in his past, he does remember that candy-store fire. Why?

On top of this, a strange young woman died in the latest fire, and since it was ruled a crime of arson, we now have a murder in the mix. Matt’s gut tells him this blaze is related to the candy-store fire, but it would be tough to see the connection even if his memory were working the way it should.

Dundas patiently builds layer upon layer of clues, like pastry and butter in the best croissant. Who was that vagrant that Matt almost ran into when he first arrived in town, the guy in the long coat who smelled of gasoline? Who was Abbie Green, the woman who died in the house fire? Why is everyone in town being so closemouthed about her? And why would anybody want to kill her? Matt doesn’t remember this, but everyone says he changed for the worse after the candy-store fire. Why? And why did he and his dad fall out? Or did they? 

Writing a thriller that’s engrossing from beginning to end is tough. Some readers might figure out the culprit early on, but figuring out the “why” will keep them hooked. Dundas knows how to keep things simmering, and his cracking good mystery kept this reviewer up at night. It just might keep you up at night, too.

 

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