Saturday 1 July 2023

Book Review: After the Smoke Clears by Kylie Kaden

 After the Smoke Clears


Kylie Kaden

A family. A small town. A lifetime of secrets.
Publisher: Pantera Press
Publication date: 2nd May 2023
Genre: Crime / Rural
Pages: 320
RRP: $32.99AU (paperback)
Source: courtesy of Beauty & Lace Book Club

This review first appeared on Beauty and Lace Book Club

Review: After the Smoke Clears

School teacher Lotti finds herself falling for August Nash and his 6 year old son Otto. Auggie has a bad boy outer shell but a mushy and gentle heart although he refuses to open up about his past. When August heads back to his hometown after receiving an urgent call for help from a friend, Lotti along with Otto decides to follow him.

As she asks around in Auggie’s hometown she starts to wonder if she really knows the man at all. What dark secrets is he hiding?

After the Smoke Clears, narrated by both Auggie and Lotti in present day 2009 and also by Auggie in 1989, is a compelling mystery read that slowly unfolds over both timelines.

Kylie Kaden has written a small country town mystery with themes of institutionalised abuse, mental illness, feeling of shame and victimisation.

I loved all the 80’s nostalgia throughout the story and Kaden’s depiction of small town policing and bullying were well portrayed. I did however find the story a bit too angst ridden for my liking and I felt the plot kept running round in circles and not moving forward fast enough for me. Still, a compelling read.

My rating 3.5 / 5  ⭐⭐⭐½ 

About the author

Kylie Kaden has an honours degree in psychology, was a columnist at My Child Magazine, and now works in the disability sector.
She knew writing was in her blood from a young age when she snuck onto her brother's Commodore 64 to invent stories as a child. Raised in Queensland, she spent holidays camping with her family on the Sunshine Coast.
With a surfer-lawyer for a husband and three spirited sons, Kylie can typically be found venting the day's thoughts on her laptop, sometimes in the laundry so she can't be found.
After the Smoke Clears is her fifth novel.

You can read my review of One of Us by Kylie Kaden at this link:

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