Aftermath – Terri Blackstock

Aftermath Terri Blackstock 2
Aftermath by Terri Blackstock
Also by this author: Aftermath
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 11, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Thriller
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five-stars

A devastating explosion.Three best friends are at the venue to hear their favorite band. Only one makes it out alive.
A trunk full of evidence.When police stop Dustin Webb with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows there’s been a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when the officers find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.
An attorney who will risk it all for an old friend.Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first person he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?

Some books are marathons. Others are a flat-out sprint. Aftermath is the latter: a focused, pulse-pounding, action-packed thriller that will make you wish you could read faster then leave you exhausted, satisfied, yet a bit disappointed it’s all over. If you read many of my reviews, then you’ll know that I love Terri Blackstock but that I felt her last couple of novels lacked focus.

I don’t know if Terri reads my reviews or not, but I feel seen. (I almost hope she doesn’t, because I’m always loathe to publicly criticize someone who I really do like—yet I must also be truthful and honest to my opinions.) Blackstock has taken every criticism I’ve levied and fixed it, crafted a book without bloat, one that doesn’t layer up so many dramatic plots that the story becomes a soap opera, and simply tells a thrilling, barn-burner of a story.

Aftermath is the story of what happens after a bomb blast at a political rally kills a presidential candidate. Dustin Webb, ex-military and current owner of a security company, has just heard about the blast when the cops pull him over with a warrant. The open his trunk and find all the materials necessary to create such an explosion. It’s a setup, but a good one. Reaching into his past, he calls a friend he hasn’t seen since childhood—a friend now a high-powered attorney.

A second storyline involves one of the blast’s survivors and her struggle to make sense of the tragedy. Taylor had gone to the rally/concert with two other friends. She’s the only one who survived. Blackstock captured the chaos of the explosion really well and documents how it affects Taylor’s life and how she becomes obsessed with getting revenge on the killer. Blackstock maybe could have fleshed this storyline out a bit more, but given that my previous criticisms have been “too much,” I feel a bit hypocritical here saying “no more!”

The storylines converge in a powerful fashion that will leave you thinking about how we all jump to certain conclusions, how we all have certain biases, and how certain influences affect our way of thinking. Aftermath is like a drag race. It doesn’t deviate, it doesn’t meander, it doesn’t swerve. It’s a straightforward, simple story that packs a punch. A thrilling novel!

five-stars