Author: Cara Dee
Publisher: Self Published
Buy Link: Amazon.com Aftermath
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance, Suspense/thriller
Length: 60,000 words
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: A first rate job; believable and frightening action matched with strongly written characters I really cared about.
Blurb: Austin Huntley and Cameron Nash are like night and day. One is a family man, works in a nice office, drives an expensive car, and is content to be content. The other one is an antisocial car mechanic with a short fuse.
Some things don’t change. Others definitely do.
After surviving a five-month long kidnapping together, they struggle to return to normalcy, all while realizing that they’re more drawn to each other than they ever could’ve imagined.
I have my own interpretations of the guidelines for rating books. There are sometimes ones I rate a little higher than my actual enjoyment warrants because I feel they are good books that are just not quite perfectly my taste, but I think other readers will enjoy them a lot. Obviously there are others that I think are wonderful, and I proceed happily on that alone. My very favourite books are the ones I will reread, for me that is the biggest of big things. It is rare that something from the action / thriller genre hits it for me; offhand I can only think of Zero At the Bone / Jane Seville and Life Lessons / Kaje Harper. ( Ok, I know I will remember loads more later but for the premise of this review suspend your disbelief people please. ) Anyhow – Aftermath has joined my short list.
Stories in flashback rarely work for me. This time I really liked the security blanket of knowing that the main characters had survived and that the vivid scenes in the past were history, albeit the frightening history of a psychopath’s bizarre actions. However there was still a sense of menace and worry about what might be going to happen.The descriptions of the conditions of the kidnapped were full of overwhelming sensory details showing physical and emotional stress. This intensity creates the intimate feeling of us living through it along side of Austin and Cam. We are of course also dealing with the aftermath of the kidnapping. There is a very nice balance between the past and present which kept the more grim side of the story acting as a catalyst for the huge but thrilling changes in both of the guy’s lives.
The main reason the story captured me were the excellent layered personalities that Cara Dee created for Austin and Cam. There is a real feeling of ordinary, yet extraordinarily interesting, guys reacting to a stunningly awful situation. The exhausted stock characters of off duty cop/ army guy and pretty side kick had left this building. Another big hit with me was the absence of the, lets seize the moment, stress fuck. Consequently when it comes to dealing with the emotions instigated by their ordeal, there is a gradual show that told beautifully.
Cam is a wonderful character and I enjoyed him, his problems and his eloquent tattoos enormously. I loved the few details we had that built up a warm picture of his great sister in law before we met her but when we did, she and Cam’s brother were even better than expected. In contrast I have to say that one of the other female characters was a disappointment, though understandably from the point of the plot. Austin’s life changes the most in the time after the kidnapping. The way he makes his own sense of it continues to reveal aspects of his personality. Both characters change and grow throughout the book. The relationship between Cam and Austin is developed very deftly, with realistic ups and downs. I thought the situation that triggered a very strong response in Austin worked very believably to get their underlying emotional attachment extended to a physical level. These guys are just so good together.
I particularly liked the ending and epilogue to this book, I really love it when an emotional journey has all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. A very enjoyable book that I will look forward to rereading.