The Damage

Caitlin Wahrer. Viking/Dorman, $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-29613-4
Beaten unconscious and bloodied, 20-year-old college student Nick Hall survives what he describes to the police as a brutal sexual assault by the deceptively charming older man who picked him up at a bar in Salisbury, Maine, in Wahrer’s powerful if flawed debut. Neither Nick nor those closest to him—his fiercely protective big brother, who rescued him from abuse by their alcoholic father, and his supportive sister-in-law, a lawyer in their rural community—quite anticipates the devastating emotional toll the slow-moving justice system will take on them, especially once the accused rapist’s family and friends unleash an aggressive PR smear campaign. Telling the story largely in flashbacks helps the author, herself a Maine attorney, maintain suspense and tease several major plot twists. Though the final shocker ranks strictly as a deus ex machina at odds with the novel’s convincing local color, family dynamics, and criminal procedure, Wahrer offers an illuminatingly different slant on many of the stereotypes surrounding rape cases by making her survivor a gay man. Readers can expect thought-provoking, well-plotted psychological suspense from a bracingly fresh voice. Agent: Helen Heller, Helen Heller Agency. (June)
Reviewed on : 02/24/2021
Release date: 06/15/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-593-29614-1
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-385-69645-6
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-593-41440-8
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-593-29615-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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