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The Blameless

Book Cover

Newly divorced, Virginia Bigelow is struggling with pressing financial debt, the frustration of a stalled teaching career, an increasingly isolated and lonely existence, and the challenges of being a single parent to an autistic child. When she learns that Travis Lee Hilliard, the man who murdered her father in the 1980s, has been released from prison, she drops everything and sets out on an ill-conceived journey to confront him in order to mete out the justice she feels he deserves.

Meanwhile, having spent three decades serving a life sentence for murdering the California preacher who rescued him from the streets, Travis thinks of himself as a reformed man. Traveling from Folsom Prison to his new home in the Mojave Desert, a remote location with minimal temptations, he struggles to reconcile his past and embrace his newfound freedom. But there are more challenges to staying on the straight and narrow than he ever could have imagined.

Virginia’s and Travis’s braided narratives slowly tighten as they approach their inevitable collision. Unflinching, compassionate, and gripping, this bold novel evocatively examines the ambiguities wrought by both violence and redemption.

What Readers Are Saying

“Unflinching, compassionate, and gripping, The Blameless
is a gem of a novel by a master storyteller. It challenges us to rethink everything we thought we knew about crime and punishment, guilt and forgiveness. This gorgeous and moving novel of ideas also bears witness to the human potential to completely remake ourselves.”
Sharon Harrigan

author of Half

“A suspenseful and beautiful tale of two haunted characters on a collision course. Kenedy writes acutely about the arid landscape, the hard labor, the unceasing economic pressures—and the complex, tangled history of his dual protagonists. With utmost precision, he chronicles lives in poignant disarray. He has crafted an immersive and aching narrative of guilt, retribution, and restoration.”

Stephen Schottenfeld

author of This Room is Made of Noise

“Ryan Kenedy’s novel is taut and timely, and I found it absolutely riveting. While there is plenty of pain in these pages, there are also moments of enlightenment and grace, rendered all the more meaningful because they are hard-won.”

Steve Yarbrough

author of Stay Gone Days

Author Photo

About The Author

Ryan Kenedy is a professor of English at Moorpark College. His short fiction is forthcoming in the North Dakota Quarterly (2024) and has appeared in North American ReviewThe Greensboro ReviewSou’wester, and San Joaquin Review.