Aftermath is the latest novel by New York Times Bestselling Author Terri Blackstock.
Author Guest Post + Author & Book Info + Excerpt + Rafflecopter Giveaway
Aftermath by Terri Blackstock
This gripping new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock will leave you on the edge of your seat.
A devastating explosion.
Three best friends are at the venue just to hear their favorite band . . . but only one of them makes it out alive.
A trunk full of planted evidence.
When police stop Dustin with a warrant to search his trunk, he knows it’s just a mistake. He’s former military and owns a security firm. But he’s horrified when they find explosives, and he can’t fathom how they got there.
An attorney who will risk it all for a friend.
Criminal attorney Jamie Powell was Dustin’s best friend growing up. They haven’t spoken since he left for basic training, but she’s the first one he thinks of when he’s arrested. Jamie knows she’s putting her career on the line by defending an accused terrorist, but she’d never abandon him. Someone is framing Dustin to take the fall for shocking acts of violence . . . but why?
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: May 11th 2021
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0310348587 (ISBN13: 9780310348580)
Series: Aftermath is a stand-alone novel
To purchase Aftermath, click on any of the following links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook | Goodreads
Guest post by Terri Blackstock
It was supposed to be a simple outing with my husband. We had been saving our change in jars for years. Every day, we would dump our extra change in these jars that were placed around our house. The idea was that someday we would use the money for something special.
So one morning my husband said, “You know, I think it’s time we did something with all this change. Let’s dump it all into a cloth bag and take it to Coin Star at Walmart.”
It sounded like a great idea. But when we dumped all the change into the bag, we found that it was extremely heavy. We had no idea how much money was in there. How many hundreds of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters had we saved over so many years? It took several bags to hold them all.
Because they were heavy, we loaded the bags into a Walmart shopping buggy, and we rolled it into the store. As soon as we got past the greeters, I realized the money was pouring out from a hole in the bottom of one of the bags. Then another hole sprouted, and another, until the money was raining down on the floor of Walmart.
We tried to catch it with our hands, but it was too late. The money was pouring out into a little mountain on the floor, making a bigger and bigger circle of coins. Two employees came running over to help us, but the money kept spilling. I’d like to tell you I hurled myself onto the floor and started picking up the change, but we’re both of a certain age with joint and back problems, so we just froze there, useless to clean up the mess we’d made.
We watched, horrified, as everybody turned to see our bounty spreading like water across the floor. Finally, I asked if we could get a dustpan and a broom and sweep it up.
The wonderful Walmart employees hurried to get them, and they insisted on sweeping the coins up themselves. It took several sweeps and scoops to get them all up and pour them into new bags. We thanked them profusely, then hurried to the Coin Star machine to put the money in, where it would be counted.
It turned out we had over $600 in change, and a new “most embarrassing moment” to put into our family archives.
It occurred to me later that our little outing that day was a little like writing a novel.
It occurred to me later that our little outing that day was a little like writing a novel.
Writers have these little nuggets of gold that we invest into a story in the form of ideas. We fill up our jars with those nuggets, and we craft a story out of them, plot it, type it, polish it and then declare it’s time to send it into the world.
As it starts to make its way onto the shelves of bookstores, it’s like that little stream of change that starts raining out through the bottom of the bag. All of our perfect little nuggets we cultivated for years, suddenly spilling out on the floor for everyone to see and judge. We fight the urge to sweep it up into little piles and put it back where it was before anybody ever sees it.
I’ve written over eighty books, and I still feel that way on every one.
That panicked, “now they know how I think” moment. That worry that they’ll know I’m crazy. That dread that they’ll think I’m mediocre, that it won’t add up to very much when it’s all said and done.
That certainty that they’ll consider me a loser who can’t even clean up my own mess. That overwhelming urge to rewind time and never have written it at all.
Thankfully, I can’t get them back after they’re gone, and my readers usually appreciate my investment.
Once I get past that moment of panic, I settle into the knowledge that my nuggets were well spent, and I get to work on making some new ones.
I love this story and your nugget of wisdom. Thank you for hanging out with us on my blog today!
Excerpt from Aftermath
Taylor Reid’s phone flashed as she snapped the selfie with her two friends, their heads touching and their backs to the stage. The shot from the third row, with the lead singer in the background and the three of them in the foreground, was perfect. No one would believe their seats were so close.
They turned around to face the band, dancing to the beat of the song they’d been listening to in the car on the way to Trudeau Hall.
Taylor quickly posted the pic, typing, “Ed Loran targets nonpoliticals for his rally with band Blue Fire. Worked on us!”
She put her phone on videotape and zoomed onto the stage.
“I don’t want it to end!” Desiree said in her ear.
“Me either!” Taylor yelled over the music.
“Maybe they’ll play again after his speech,” Mara shouted.
The song came to an end, and the crowd went crazy, begging for one more song before the band left the stage.
But an amplified voice filled the auditorium, cutting off the adulation. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the next president of the United States, Ed Loran!”
The crowd sounded less enthusiastic as the band left the stage and Ed Loran, the Libertarian celebrity magnet, made his entrance. Taylor kept cheering and clapping, letting her enthusiasm for the band segue to him.
It happened just as the candidate took the stage. The deafening sound, like some confusing combination of gunshot and lightning bolt, a blast that blacked out the lights and knocked her to the ground. Smoke mushroomed. Screams crescendoed—shrieks of terror, wailing pain, shocking anguish . . . then sudden, gentle silence, as if she were underwater. A loud ringing in her ears filled the void.
She peered under the seats, choking for breath as dimmer lights flickered through the smoke. Even from here, she could see the fallout of whatever had happened. Blood pooling on the ground, people hunkering down as she was, feet running . . . What was happening? An explosion? A crash? She looked around and couldn’t see her friends.
She clawed her way up and looked over the seat. Smoke and fire billowed from the stage into the crowd, and heat wafted over her like some living force invading the room. Muffled, muted sounds competed with the ringing.
Get out! Now! She dropped back down and crawled under two rows of seats until she came to someone limp on the floor. She felt herself scream but couldn’t hear her own voice. Scrambling to her feet, she went to her left to get to the aisle, but her foot slipped on something wet. She grabbed the seat next to her to steady herself, then launched into the frantic crowd in the aisle. The room seemed to spin, people whizzing by, people under her, people above her, people broken and ripped and still . . . She stepped and fell, crawled and ran, tripped and kicked her way to the bottlenecked doorway, then fought her way through it.
The ringing in her ears faded as she tumbled downstairs, almost falling into the lobby below. The sound of crying, coughing, wretching, and the roaring sound of pounding feet turned up as if some divine finger had fiddled with the volume.
She set her sights on the glass doors to the outside and pushed forward, moving through people and past the security stations they’d stopped at on the way in. She made it to the door and burst out into the sunlight.
Fresh, cool air hit her like freedom, but at first her lungs rejected it like some poison meant to stop her. At the bottom of the steps, on the sidewalk, she bent over and coughed until she could breathe.
After a moment, the crowd pushed her along toward the parking garage until she remembered that her car wasn’t there. She had parked on the street, blocks away. She forced her way out of the flow of people and ran a block south. Where was it?
She turned the corner. Her car was here, on this block. Near the Atlanta Trust Bank. Wasn’t it? Or was it the next block?
Sweat slicked her skin until she found her silver Accord. There!
She ran to it and pulled her keys out of her pocket, wishing she hadn’t lost the key fob. Her hands trembled as she stuck the key into the passenger side lock and got the door open. She slipped inside on the driver’s side, locked it behind her. Instinctively, she slid down, her head hidden as if someone were coming after her.
What just happened?
One minute they’d been taking selfies and videotaping the band, and the next they were on the floor . . .
Where were Mara and Desiree? She hadn’t even looked for them! Should she go back for them?
No, that would be insane. She could smell the smoke and fire from here. They would know to come to the car when they got out.
Call the police!
She tried to steady her hands as she swiped her phone on.
“911, what is your—”
“An explosion!” she cut in, her voice hoarse. “At the Ed Loran rally at Trudeau Hall!”
“Where are you now?” the woman asked in a voice that was robotically calm.
“I got out. There’s fire . . . People are still in there. Please send ambulances!”
“Ma’am, did you see what exploded?”
“No . . . the stage area, I think. I don’t know where my friends are. Please . . . hurry!”
“We’ve already dispatched the fire department and police, ma’am.”
She heard sirens from a few blocks away and cut off the call. She raised up, looking over the dashboard for the flashing lights. She couldn’t see any, but the sirens grew louder.
She knelt on the floorboard, her knees on her floormat and her elbows on her seat, and texted Desiree.
I’m at the car. Where are you?
No answer. She switched to a recent thread with Mara and texted again.
Got out. At car waiting. Where are you?
She dictated a group text to both of them.
Are you all right?
They were probably running or deaf, fighting their way out like she had. She tried calling them, but Mara’s phone rang to voicemail. When Desiree’s phone did the same, she yelled, “Call me! I’m waiting at the car and I’m scared. Where are you?” She was sobbing when she ended the call.
Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.
She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She’s the author of If I Run, If I’m Found, and If I Live, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, Moonlighters, and the Restoration series.
To learn more about Terri, click on her name, photo or any of the following links: Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram – #terriblackstock, Twitter – #terriblackstock & Facebook – @tblackstock
Visit all the stops on the Aftermath Tour!
05/10 Guest post @ Novels Alive
05/10 Review @ Fredas Voice
05/11 Guest post @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
05/12 Guest post @ Author Elena Taylors Blog
05/12 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
05/12 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy
05/13 Review @ Beauty in the Binding
05/14 Review @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
05/14 Review @ Margaret Yelton
05/15 Showcase @ nanasbookreviews
05/16 Interview @ A Blue Million Books
05/17 Review @ Lovemybooks2020
05/17 Review/showcase @ Totally Addicted to Reading
05/18 Review @ From the TBR Pile
05/19 Review @ Avonna Loves Genres
05/20 Review @ Savings in seconds
05/20 Showcase @ The Book Divas Reads
05/21 Review @ Kritters Ramblings
05/22 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
05/23 Review @ Booking With Janelle
05/23 Showcase @ EienCafe
05/24 Showcase @ Inkwell Inspirations
05/25 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
05/26 Review @ Nesies Place
05/26 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books
05/27 Showcase @ BooksChatter
05/27 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
05/28 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads
05/28 Showcase @ Reading A Page Turner
05/29 Review @ Geauxgetlit
05/29 Review @ Splashes of Joy
05/30 Review @ One More Book To Read
05/31 Review @ Nikki H. Roses Book Reviews
06/01 Review @ Read Review Rejoice
06/01 Reviuew @ rozierreadsandwine
06/02 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews
06/02 Showcase @ Im All About Books
06/03 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
06/04 Review @ Just Reviews
06/04 Review @ Spookys Maze Of Books
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite on-line retailers. And don’t forget many independent bookstores can order books for you and have them shipped to your home or for curbside pickup.
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For more information on All We Buried, click on the link here to visit the home page.
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020