Customer Reviews for

Someone to Blame: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    A Gripping Read that Satisfies

    Lakin, in the tradition of Jodi Picoult, is a master at taking the reader into the hearts of her characters. Each voice is distinct, weaving a full-bodied story. I was lost to Lakin's sea-swept northern California town and it's quirky population. A family ravaged by grief takes center stage as they claw their way back to each other and emotional survival while their lives intertwine with a cipher--a young man no one understands. Someone to Blame is gripping novel that satisfies a reader's need to connect with a story and the characters who people it.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Well worth the time to read

    Pastor Terry tried to comfort Matt by throwing out the oft used platitude about 'God testing him.' Something about that statement just didn't seem to wash when his memory flashed back to the scene of the accident at "The Trap" when he saw his son Jesse lying dead on the ground. And then there was his other son, Daniel. He was gone too and that further convinced Matt that "God sure had some warped sense of purpose." Big time warped. Irene, his wife, escaped into her own little world and their daughter, Casey, had a shrine in honor of her brothers and often wore their clothing. They were going to escape the past and were moving to Breakers, a small town in California, a town as far away from the memories as they could get. Irene had taken a full-time job teaching third grade at Breakers Elementary while Matt worked on fixing up their rundown rental, the Salmonberry House. Casey was disgusted with everything and everyone and living in a podunk town wasn't her cup of tea until she spotted Billy Thurber. A hunk in podunk was a sight any fourteen-year-old girl would love, especially one so lost. She was the only one who thought the drifter was appealing. The trouble seemed to begin as soon as that boy stepped foot in Breakers offering up firewood for sale. Jerry Hubble, the owner of the dumpy Riptide Motel, watched that creep thinking, "This kid was trouble; there was no mistaking it." Soon many others would join his camp, including Matt Moore. Irene began to think about "How empty her arms felt--arms that used to be full of laughing, wiggling children" when she saw Casey at her shrine. When she met Billy, a young man with attitude, she was reminded of Daniel. Were they both victims of "expected failure?" Billy, like Daniel was sullen and pushed everyone to their limits. Things started to go awry in Breakers and fingers began to point at him. Sheriff Joe Huff had no choice but to take notice. Things started to disappear. Mrs. Waverly's necklace was missing and someone broke into Matt's truck and stole some of his things. A suspicious fire broke out at the Riptide and the town began to go wild with suspicion. It was all because of that Billy Thurber. The best was yet to come when a body was found washed up on the bank of the Trinity River. Lee Chin never liked the look of Billy from the start and thought he portended stagnant chi. Was he right? Was the young drifter the cause of all this mess? Who was to blame for all this calamity? And just where had God disappeared to? This is a heartbreaking, yet heartwarming tale of a family lost in the throes of grief. I was hooked from the first page to the last . something that is often a difficult task for a writer to accomplish. The underpinnings of faith, however each character chose to define it, was woven through the tapestry of this book. Some characters heavily questioned whether God indeed existed as they struggled with the circumstances of their lives. This is Christian fiction (not at all preachy) but subtly does reach out and ask the reader to examine his or her own relationship with God. The theme is reminiscent of Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People, only this examination is in an excellent fictionalized format. Someone to Blame is not a heavy read, but rather a pensive one. Quill says: This is the winner of the Zondervan First Novel contest and well worth the time to read!

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  • Posted December 9, 2010

    Engrossing and redemptive psychological mystery

    The Moore family in CS Lakin's debut novel is a family in pain and transition. Reeling from the tragedies of loss - not just one child in the family, but two - they relocate in hopes of putting the past behind and moving forward. In a small coastal town in northern California they find that not only does their past intrude on their lives, but new problems arise - particularly in the character of Billy Thurber. Thurber is a mysterious young man who seems to have arrived just as the town of Breakers has a number of unexplained incidents of theft and arson. The townspeople are quick to point fingers at Thurber. What ensues is a mystery, but often as Lakin builds her story world, the book reads like a book of true crime - laying the foundation and increasing the tension at every turn. Lakin is a master at crafting chapter-ending hooks, which pulled me deeper into the story. I cared not only about the Moore family, but the other townspeople as well, even Billy Thurber. The middle of the story may have lagged a bit, but it provided crucial information that led quickly into high stakes and a fast-paced ending. This is not your run-of-the mill inspirational read in that it's difficult to pin a genre on it, but that is often the type of story I'm drawn to. In the end, healing comes in an unexpected way, and my faith in human nature was restored. An excellent read.

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  • Posted October 22, 2010

    This one stays with you for a long time

    CS Lakin paints a terrible situation for any family (no spoiler), one that seems to have no remedy, no hope. But then she crafts a complex story showing the power of hope and redemption.

    The one thing I noticed is that I can still remember over a dozen of the characters' names, something I usually forget soon after finishing other book. And I remember the setting. This book pulls you in deep and keeps you there. Well done.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Love Vs. Hate

    Love Vs. Hate

    "When you lose a child, you tumble in free fall continually, without acquittal. The ground rushes up at you, your mind frantic and disbelieving. Impending doom pulls you toward impact at dizzying speeds. But you never hit bottom. Never a reprieve from panic. Never startling awake before the moment of contact. Never breathing that sigh of relief as the wisp of nightmare dissolves and you learn you are safe, tangled in bed covers, your husband sleeping undisturbed at your side. You are always falling."

    - Pg. 8

    Chapter 1 immediately snagged my attention. The words flowed with ease, purpose, and kept me on this journey of discovery. The plot was well done. The characters well developed and intriguing, typical of humanity. I could easily identify people of those personalities in my town. I could see me in that town making their mistakes. It is a classic story of love versus hate with several psychological twists.

    Someone To Blame centers around Matt and Irene Moore. They moved from their town to escape the deaths of their sons-one was an accident and the other was suicide. Their daughter, Casey, becomes this angry form stomping through the pages of the book like a wind storm. All three wish to blame someone for the deaths. They blame each other. In this muddle comes a young man named Billy Thurber and in his wake a crime spree leaves the town of Breaker in an uproar. The Moore's find curious healing in their encounters with Billy.

    I read this book with the preconceived notion that it would follow a formula story. Villains in most books are easy to discover. It's like watching a movie and the music changes when the villain enters the room. This is not the case with Someone To Blame. Everyone is blaming something or someone for whatever happened and the reader is left in the fog, questioning, turning the pages, compiling the clues, and coming to erroneous conclusions.

    The writer always leaves finger prints of themselves in between the words. The emotions Irene and Matt experience of losing a child and the anger Casey exhibits makes me think the author must have experienced losing a child, too. I have never lost a child. Yet after reading this novel I feel as if I can fully understand a couple who has experienced that loss. It is deep and painful. The first half of the book is depressing leaving one to pick over the conversations and the words, thinking deeply about it for the rest of the day. On the back cover, C.K. Lakin says she has other books on the market. All are psychological suspense. It has certainly helped me look at my own novel with new eyes. While reading her book, I learned a few more things about character and plot development. Books that make me think and make 2D characters 3D always take a permanent spot in my library. It is well worth rereading over and over again. You learn about hate, love, bad choices, good choices, and scripture hits you in the face. It is an unusual love versus hate story that I would read again and again. In fact, I am going to look up her other books. If she writes this well on Someone To Blame, I can't wait to read her other books.

    Book Provided By Zondervan And The Author For Review. To order this book click here.

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  • Posted September 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Gripping Read that Satisfies

    Lakin, in the tradition of Jodi Picoult, is a master at taking the reader into the hearts of her characters. Each voice is distinct, weaving a full-bodied story. I was lost to Lakin's sea-swept northern California town and it's quirky population. A family ravaged by grief takes center stage as they claw their way back to each other and emotional survival while their lives intertwine with a cipher--a young man no one understands. Someone to Blame is gripping novel that satisfies a reader's need to connect with a story and the characters who people it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Gripping Read that Satisfies

    Lakin, in the tradition of Jodi Picoult, is a master at taking the reader into the hearts of her characters. Each voice is distinct, weaving a full-bodied story. I was lost to Lakin's sea-swept northern California town and it's quirky population. A family ravaged by grief takes center stage as they claw their way back to each other and emotional survival while their lives intertwine with a cipher--a young man no one understands. Someone to Blame is gripping novel that satisfies a reader's need to connect with a story and the characters who people it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 10, 2010

    A page turner that searches your heart

    (Advance reading copy)

    Small towns have big problems-or so it seems-when a shifty-eyed drifter moves into Breakers, California about the same time as the Moore family, what's left of them anyway. Matt, Irene, and Casey need a new beginning, but moving to Breakers comes with its own brand of pain and mystery. Thefts, fires, vandalism-who is to blame? The fill-in sheriff can't seem to get a handle on it. The town's new pastor doesn't have any answers. The locals start pointing fingers. The Moores aren't finding the peace they were looking for-not at all.

    I had been waiting-impatiently-to read Susanne Lakin's contest winner, Someone to Blame, since Zondervan announced her name at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2009. What a joy to be chosen as a pre-release reader-and what a thrill to read this fabulous, suspenseful novel. Definitely a page turner. Never boring. Believable characters in a plot that never seemed contrived. The theme of our human nature needing to look outside ourselves for the causes of "bad things" happening is well-developed and appropriately presented in the setting of a small coastal town among people who only think they know each other well, and know their own motivations even less.

    The Christian elements in the storyline weave through seamlessly and realistically. Bad things do happen to "good" people, to believers, and even to pastors' families. None of us is exempt from calamity. The grace we both give and receive is what helps us survive it. The question Lakin raises is: can we accept the grace?

    Someone to Blame is scheduled for release in early September. I suggest you order a copy now before they sell out! I'm looking forward to Lakin's next, next, and next!

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