“His ways were mysterious and sometimes painful. They didn’t always make his children happy. But one thing was for sure. God used everything. He always had a purpose.”
—Terri Blackstock, Aftermath.
In Aftermath, author Terri Blackstock expertly weaves together the storylines of two disparate characters. The book begins with a bombing at a political rally in Atlanta that kills twenty people. Three best friends attend the rally to hear their favorite band play, but only one makes it out alive: Taylor Reid.
A short time later, police pull over Army veteran Dustin Webb, who is a security expert. When they search his trunk, they find four boxes of explosives stolen ten days earlier from an ammunition plant where Dustin had installed a security system.
When officials arrest him on alleged terrorism charges, he calls his childhood best friend, attorney Jamie Powell, to represent him. As Jamie investigates his case and the people in his life, she realizes someone is setting him up, but proving it might destroy Dustin and devastate her lucrative career.
Most people believe Dustin is guilty, including Taylor Reid, who struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and becomes fixated on obtaining justice for her two lost friends. She stalks Dustin, believing him to be responsible for their deaths.
I can see why Aftermath won the 2022 Christy Award for Mystery/Suspense/Thriller. Terri Blackstock wrote an emotionally riveting, fast-paced novel with a subtle faith message. It is propulsive from start to finish with well-drawn, complex characters. 4 stars.