cover image Life After

Life After

Katie Ganshert. WaterBrook, $14.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-60142-902-5

Christy-winning novelist Ganshert (The Art of Losing Yourself) opens her newest with a shocking but realistic event: a bomb explodes on a Chicago train. As sole survivor Autumn Manning struggles to recover, her life intersects with the lives of the family members of a victim who was originally (incorrectly) identified as the only survivor. Autumn’s life before the bombing was also painful and complicated. It’s a lot of trauma, but Ganshert uses masterful pacing, engaging characters, and believable dialogue to bring readers along. Certain faith elements are part of the plot itself, and the characters all deal realistically and in diverse ways with the sadness. While Autumn eventually finds work in a church, the most important faith elements are subtle. She wrestles with age-old questions about suffering and God’s will that haunt major religions, and Ganshert captures the seriousness of such discussions without sacrificing readability, tackling big issues powerfully. Agent: Rachelle Gardner, Books & Such Literary Agency. (Apr.)