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Catalog Archive / Fall 2023

The Blameless

“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

When it comes to revenge, who are the victims and who are the perpetrators?

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.


Ryan Kenedy. Ryan Kenedy is a professor of English at Moorpark College. His short fiction has appeared in North American Review, The Greensboro Review, Sou’wester, and The San Joaquin Review.

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“A suspenseful and beautiful tale of two haunted characters on a collision course. In The Blameless, Ryan 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 The Blameless 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



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Of Related Interest

This Room is Made of Noise: cover depicting an illustration of an elderly woman wearing dark sunglasses looking straight ahead, her chin high. Above her head is a lapshade containing the title text written in thick, slightly uneven font.

This Room Is Made of Noise
Stephen Schottenfeld

The Restaurant Inspector: Cover depicting legs adorning red skinny jeans and blue converse emerging from a dumpster, jutting out as the person seemingly rumages through the dumpster. The background is a plain blue expanse. Photograph by Isaiah & Taylor Photography. Design by Jeremy John Parker.

The Restaurant Inspector
Alex Pickett

The Blameless: an acid-green cover with a simple, beaten up hammer placed in the center of the image. The title text is written in bold, all caps font across the background of the page.

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October 2023
220 pp. 6 x 9

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Paper $18.95
ISBN 9780299345044
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