The Blame Game (65,258 words)
Silas, a recreational drug user in his early 20s, is blamed for the death of his younger brother by his older brother, Benjamin, a wealthy NFL lawyer and “author.” As Silas tries to sort out the truth and find himself, he finds a friend (and love interest) in Lindsey, a rebellious teenager driving south from Salt Lake City, where they both live. Their journey only leads to more family and legal complications, jeopardizing all of their lives in the process.
Long synopsis (slight spoilers):
Silas Gaebler hasn’t made the best decisions in his life. He’s experimented with illegal drugs and has a criminal record. He also hasn’t had any real role models to speak of, least of all his older brother, Ben: a hotshot sports lawyer who seems to care more about his fame than his family.
When the youngest Gaebler brother, Andy, goes missing, Silas reluctantly joins forces with Ben to search for their sibling. But when Andy turns up dead from a gunshot wound in a Salt Lake City reservoir Silas used to frequent, all fingers point to him, and his alibi isn’t strong enough to convince the cops — or his surviving family members — that he isn’t guilty of murder. Once Ben convinces himself that Silas is responsible for Andy’s death, he uses every connection and platform he has — including a live television interview about his new book — to bring his living younger brother down.
As Silas travels south to the Mexican border in an attempt to escape his problems, he meets a rebellious rich girl who not only causes him to reevaluate his life, but helps him run from the law as he tries to prove his innocence. Amidst a flurry of finger-pointing, car chases and questions about the Gaebler family tree, the truth comes out — but not without more lives lost and rifts created between Silas and the people he loves.
However, just as bridges are burned and trust is broken, past relationships are repaired and new ones forged as the characters mourn those who have died and work to move forward in life.
The Blame Game is as much a suspenseful, dramatic crime novel as a coming-of-age journey for Silas and the people he meets in his travels as they navigate early adulthood. It is a discussion of law and justice, but also a story of love, loss, regret and hopeful determination.