I am always looking for something a little different from those tried plots we have come to expect and looking for authors who are bolding moving forward with our changing world. Caitlin Wahrer nails that by exploring something we don’t talk about through her characters after Nick is violently sexually assaulted after meeting a man at a bar. She focuses on the family’s emotional damage and fallout while exploring tragedy, doubt, and justice. She plays on that trope, “How far would you go to protect someone you love?” by giving the story a fresh look into the dynamics of the family.
The Damage is a well-done psychological thriller and family drama that builds up slowly while increasing tension and doubt until that unexpected final twist. The story shifts from alternating POV as we see the emotional fallout and psychological impact the attack has on Nick, his older brother Tony and his sister-in-law Julia. Caitlin Wahrer weaves in thriller elements that blur the lines between fiction and real-life to create an intense emotional story. The attack on Nick is unsettling and affecting but handled humanely, keeping the details to a minimum. We learn what we need to know to understand the emotional impact on the characters.
I found the story a bit convoluted at times throwing off the pace for me, however it is a readable story. The story delves into the everyday life of the characters that did add a more realistic feel to the lives of the characters however it slowed down the story for me.
The heart of the story is the relationship between Nick and his older brother Tony. It warmed my heart to see how Tony looked out for Nick, protected him, and even babied him. I could feel their love and the tension between them that made them convincing characters.
The strength in the story is the increasing doubt and tension in the story that didn’t let up until that final, satisfying ending that you might see or might not see coming. I highly recommend it.
I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley.