Aftermath Book Tour May 10, 2021 – June 4, 2021
Welcome to my stop on the Aftermath blog tour. Read my review as well as an excerpt. Also stop by the other blogs on the tour and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway.
Author(s): Terri Blackstock
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 11, 2021
Genre(s): Romantic Suspense
Source: Partners In Crime Tours
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?
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.
This is my second time reading a Christian suspense and I had a great time. I like that it wasn’t preachy. There was mention of prayer and a few bible quotes, but it did not take over the story. Blackstock delivered a suspenseful story riddled with emotions, which enthralled me from start to finish.
The story introduces army veteran Dustin Webb who was arrested and charged for in relation to a bomb explosion at a political rally. An explosion which killed twenty (20) people and injured hundreds. His first call after his arrest was to his childhood friend turned lawyer Jaime Powell. Despite, not being in contact with each other for fifteen years, Jaime never hesitated in offering to defend him. In spite of the mountain of evidence stacked against him, starting with the explosives found in the trunk of his car, Jaime believed in his innocence. This may prove to be her most difficult case as she races against to clock to find the real perpetrator and prove Dustin’s innocence.
At the centre of the story is an innocent man being framed for an act of terrorism. Then there was Taylor a survivor, her sanity hanging by a thread, who suffers from survivor’s guilt. She wants justice for her friends who died in the explosion, even if meant taking matters in her own hands.
The author pulled me into the lives of the characters, and in doing so elicited feelings empathy for them, the villain included. The story gave me a glimpse in to Dustin and Jaime’s past. I also got a look into the villain’s life and the reason for his actions. I may not have agreed with the actions, but I understood the reasons. However, I had hard time with his decision to frame someone else.
Although classified as a romantic suspense, the romance was negligible. While reading I sensed the chemistry which existed between Dustin and Jaime. However, they never acknowledged their feelings for each other until the end. The mystery as to whom was behind framing Dustin was easily solved, however it did not take away from my enjoyment of the story. Taylor and her quest for justice kept me on the edge of my seat and had me flipping the pages.
In addition to the suspense, Aftermath also had some heartbreaking moments that would likely make readers shed a tear or two.
To conclude Aftermath was a riveting tale, which would appeal to readers of suspense stories.
Taylor Reid’s phone flashed as she snapped the selfie with her two friends, their heads touching and their backs to the stage. The shot from the third row, with the lead singer in the background and the three of them in the foreground, was perfect. No one would believe their seats were so close.
They turned around to face the band, dancing to the beat of the song they’d been listening to in the car on the way to Trudeau Hall.
Taylor quickly posted the pic, typing, “Ed Loran targets nonpoliticals for his rally with band Blue Fire. Worked on us!”
She put her phone on videotape and zoomed onto the stage.
“I don’t want it to end!” Desiree said in her ear.
“Me either!” Taylor yelled over the music.
“Maybe they’ll play again after his speech,” Mara shouted.
The song came to an end, and the crowd went crazy, begging for one more song before the band left the stage.
But an amplified voice filled the auditorium, cutting off the adulation. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the next president of the United States, Ed Loran!”
The crowd sounded less enthusiastic as the band left the stage and Ed Loran, the Libertarian celebrity magnet, made his entrance. Taylor kept cheering and clapping, letting her enthusiasm for the band segue to him.
It happened just as the candidate took the stage. The deafening sound, like some confusing combination of gunshot and lightning bolt, a blast that blacked out the lights and knocked her to the ground. Smoke mushroomed. Screams crescendoed—shrieks of terror, wailing pain, shocking anguish . . . then sudden, gentle silence, as if she were underwater. A loud ringing in her ears filled the void.
She peered under the seats, choking for breath as dimmer lights flickered through the smoke. Even from here, she could see the fallout of whatever had happened. Blood pooling on the ground, people hunkering down as she was, feet running . . . What was happening? An explosion? A crash? She looked around and couldn’t see her friends.
She clawed her way up and looked over the seat. Smoke and fire billowed from the stage into the crowd, and heat wafted over her like some living force invading the room. Muffled, muted sounds competed with the ringing.
Get out! Now! She dropped back down and crawled under two rows of seats until she came to someone limp on the floor. She felt herself scream but couldn’t hear her own voice. Scrambling to her feet, she went to her left to get to the aisle, but her foot slipped on something wet. She grabbed the seat next to her to steady herself, then launched into the frantic crowd in the aisle. The room seemed to spin, people whizzing by, people under her, people above her, people broken and ripped and still . . . She stepped and fell, crawled and ran, tripped and kicked her way to the bottlenecked doorway, then fought her way through it.
The ringing in her ears faded as she tumbled downstairs, almost falling into the lobby below. The sound of crying, coughing, wretching, and the roaring sound of pounding feet turned up as if some divine finger had fiddled with the volume.
She set her sights on the glass doors to the outside and pushed forward, moving through people and past the security stations they’d stopped at on the way in. She made it to the door and burst out into the sunlight.
Fresh, cool air hit her like freedom, but at first her lungs rejected it like some poison meant to stop her. At the bottom of the steps, on the sidewalk, she bent over and coughed until she could breathe.
After a moment, the crowd pushed her along toward the parking garage until she remembered that her car wasn’t there. She had parked on the street, blocks away. She forced her way out of the flow of people and ran a block south. Where was it?
She turned the corner. Her car was here, on this block. Near the Atlanta Trust Bank. Wasn’t it? Or was it the next block?
Sweat slicked her skin until she found her silver Accord. There!
She ran to it and pulled her keys out of her pocket, wishing she hadn’t lost the key fob. Her hands trembled as she stuck the key into the passenger side lock and got the door open. She slipped inside on the driver’s side, locked it behind her. Instinctively, she slid down, her head hidden as if someone were coming after her.
What just happened?
One minute they’d been taking selfies and videotaping the band, and the next they were on the floor . . .
Where were Mara and Desiree? She hadn’t even looked for them! Should she go back for them?
No, that would be insane. She could smell the smoke and fire from here. They would know to come to the car when they got out.
Call the police!
She tried to steady her hands as she swiped her phone on.
“911, what is your—”
“An explosion!” she cut in, her voice hoarse. “At the Ed Loran rally at Trudeau Hall!”
“Where are you now?” the woman asked in a voice that was robotically calm.
“I got out. There’s fire . . . People are still in there. Please send ambulances!”
“Ma’am, did you see what exploded?”
“No . . . the stage area, I think. I don’t know where my friends are. Please . . . hurry!”
“We’ve already dispatched the fire department and police, ma’am.”
She heard sirens from a few blocks away and cut off the call. She raised up, looking over the dashboard for the flashing lights. She couldn’t see any, but the sirens grew louder.
She knelt on the floorboard, her knees on her floormat and her elbows on her seat, and texted Desiree.
I’m at the car. Where are you?
No answer. She switched to a recent thread with Mara and texted again.
Got out. At car waiting. Where are you?
She dictated a group text to both of them.
Are you all right?
They were probably running or deaf, fighting their way out like she had. She tried calling them, but Mara’s phone rang to voicemail. When Desiree’s phone did the same, she yelled, “Call me! I’m waiting at the car and I’m scared. Where are you?” She was sobbing when she ended the call.
Click here to view Aftermath by Terri Blackstock Participants
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: