"An edgy, propulsive read about what a family pushed to the brink will do in the name of love and blood."
Tony is more like a father to his younger brother Nick. When Nick is sexually assaulted, Tony sees red. Tony's wife Julia is the voice of reason - she's a lawyer and believes justice will be served in the court system. Detective Rice is the cop on the case and he too believes Nick will have his day in court.
Wahrer employs one of my all time favourite methods of storytelling - alternating past and present chapters. She takes us to 2015, the time of the assault and investigation. Each of the main characters - Tony, Julie, Nick and Rice have a voice, allowing the reader to know what everyone is feeling, thinking, planning - and hiding. The time frame then flips to 2019. Rice and Julia are the focus of these newer posts. Rice is not well and wants to know.....what really happened back then? Does Julia know what answers Rice is looking for?
There are so many layers to Wahrer's plot - the assault is tough to read about and will provoke many emotions for readers. We see the impact through the four different perspectives and how this affects each member of the family. Wahrer's depiction of the aftermath rings true. She herself is a lawyer and "has worked on cases involving some of the broad issues she writes about in The Damage". Her portrayal of the assault is respectful and seems to have been well researched. Social commentary is also scattered throughout and speaks to preconceptions.
Those feelings, emotions, actions and reactions drive the second part of the plot, the one that will keep you wondering. What really happened? Wahrer ekes out references, clues and hints along the way to the final pages. And the twist that awaits you at the end of the book is a really good one!
The Damage is a powerful debut, combining suspense, family ties, mental health, trauma and more into one addicting read. I can't wait to see what Wahrer writes next. Read an excerpt of The Damage.
Who else loved The Damage? Stephen King says "The Damage pulled me in from the first page with smart narration, characters I cared about, a hold-your-breath plot, and a terrific final twist. Put this one high on your summer list.