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The Damage

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When a small-town family is pushed to the brink, how far will they go to protect one of their own? An edgy, propulsive read about what we will do in the name of love and blood Tony has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when he's called to a hospital bed where Nick is lying battered and bruised after a violent sexual assault, his protective instincts flare, When a small-town family is pushed to the brink, how far will they go to protect one of their own? An edgy, propulsive read about what we will do in the name of love and blood Tony has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when he's called to a hospital bed where Nick is lying battered and bruised after a violent sexual assault, his protective instincts flare, and a white-hot rage begins to build. As a small-town New England lawyer, Tony's wife, Julia, has cases involving kids all the time. When Detective Rice gets assigned to this one, Julia feels they're in good hands. Especially because she senses that Rice, too, understands how things can quickly get complicated. Very complicated. After all, one moment Nick was having a drink with a handsome stranger; the next, he was at the center of an investigation threatening to tear not only him, but his entire family, apart. And now his attacker, out on bail, is disputing Nick's version of what happened. As Julia tries to help her brother-in-law, she sees Tony's desire for revenge, to fix things for Nick, getting out of control. Tony is starting to scare her. And before long, she finds herself asking: does she really know what her husband is capable of? Or of what she herself is? Exploring elements of doubt, tragedy, suspense, and justice, The Damage is an all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.


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When a small-town family is pushed to the brink, how far will they go to protect one of their own? An edgy, propulsive read about what we will do in the name of love and blood Tony has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when he's called to a hospital bed where Nick is lying battered and bruised after a violent sexual assault, his protective instincts flare, When a small-town family is pushed to the brink, how far will they go to protect one of their own? An edgy, propulsive read about what we will do in the name of love and blood Tony has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when he's called to a hospital bed where Nick is lying battered and bruised after a violent sexual assault, his protective instincts flare, and a white-hot rage begins to build. As a small-town New England lawyer, Tony's wife, Julia, has cases involving kids all the time. When Detective Rice gets assigned to this one, Julia feels they're in good hands. Especially because she senses that Rice, too, understands how things can quickly get complicated. Very complicated. After all, one moment Nick was having a drink with a handsome stranger; the next, he was at the center of an investigation threatening to tear not only him, but his entire family, apart. And now his attacker, out on bail, is disputing Nick's version of what happened. As Julia tries to help her brother-in-law, she sees Tony's desire for revenge, to fix things for Nick, getting out of control. Tony is starting to scare her. And before long, she finds herself asking: does she really know what her husband is capable of? Or of what she herself is? Exploring elements of doubt, tragedy, suspense, and justice, The Damage is an all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

30 review for The Damage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    Subtle and Sensitive 4.25 stars "There are more important things than goodness." The Damage is a mystery/family drama that examines the consequences of a sexual assault. Wahrer explores the impact on not only the victim but also on his family. Their experiences lead them to an emotional precipice stoking the desire for revenge. The topic of male sexual assault makes this book stand out. This is not a topic usually talked about, and it’s not something that takes center stage in the books that I ha Subtle and Sensitive 4.25 stars "There are more important things than goodness." The Damage is a mystery/family drama that examines the consequences of a sexual assault. Wahrer explores the impact on not only the victim but also on his family. Their experiences lead them to an emotional precipice stoking the desire for revenge. The topic of male sexual assault makes this book stand out. This is not a topic usually talked about, and it’s not something that takes center stage in the books that I have read. Packed with tension, I couldn’t put this book down. The crime is awful, the victim is endearing, and his pain is hard to read. At the same time, reading about his experience and his family’s reaction was gripping. There are multiple POVs to keep track of Julia, Tony, Nick, and the detective investigating the crime. Their voices were distinguished, and it is easy to keep track of who is who. I do feel in some cases that Wahrer only touched the surface as some characters were more developed than others, but Julia and Nick’s stood out to me. She also tries to pack in too many moral quandaries. I would have liked her to lessen her reach to dig even deeper into the characters. The chapters are short and often end with mini cliffhangers, which began to irk me. These are only minor gripes. They did not take away from my overall enjoyment and appreciation for this book. The Damage isn’t as much about the mystery as it is about exploring uncomfortable questions that relate to sexual assault and mental health. Tautly written and subtle in nature, this book slowly got under my skin and left me thinking.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael David

    HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! A gripping and compulsively readable debut novel. Tony and his half-brother, Nick, have always been really close. Tony practically raised Nick when his father was too drunk and emotionally abusive to do the job. Nick is in college, and goes out drinking with his friend one night. He meets an older man, whom he finds attractive. One drink leads to another, and Nick finds himself the victim of violent sexual assault. Tony and his wife, Julia, a former lawyer, are devastated fo HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY! A gripping and compulsively readable debut novel. Tony and his half-brother, Nick, have always been really close. Tony practically raised Nick when his father was too drunk and emotionally abusive to do the job. Nick is in college, and goes out drinking with his friend one night. He meets an older man, whom he finds attractive. One drink leads to another, and Nick finds himself the victim of violent sexual assault. Tony and his wife, Julia, a former lawyer, are devastated for Nick, and try to do be there for him and offer support. Nick is understandably broken, and is having a hard time picking up the pieces. Things get worse when Nick’s attacker gets arrested and subsequently released on bail. Detective Rice is on the case, but there is someone who doesn’t want to wait for justice to be served...someone who wants to exact revenge. The Damage is a powerful and intense read that takes an unflinching look at male to male sexual assault. It’s handled delicately and with care, and it’s very evident that author Caitlin Wahrer did a great deal of research and really cared about the story she was writing. The novel is a slow burn as it weaves between 2015 (when the attack took place) and 2019. It paints an honest picture of the emotional impact the assault has caused Nick and those who love him. It’s difficult and relevant, and has moments of suspense that lead to a darkly satisfying conclusion that I didn’t see coming. Thank you Pamela Dorman Books/Viking for sending me a completed physical copy of the novel. It will be published on: 6/15/21. Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    It's hard to believe this superb family drama of a psychological thriller is a debut, Caitlin Wahrer sensitively examines an issue that rarely gets any coverage and which society is deeply uncomfortable with. 20 year old gay Maine student, Nick Hall meets the much older good looking 'Josh' at a bar, leaving with him for a one night stand at a motel. The hellish nightmare of this terrifying encounter results in Nick being brutally sexually assaulted, he reports it to the police. The case is taken It's hard to believe this superb family drama of a psychological thriller is a debut, Caitlin Wahrer sensitively examines an issue that rarely gets any coverage and which society is deeply uncomfortable with. 20 year old gay Maine student, Nick Hall meets the much older good looking 'Josh' at a bar, leaving with him for a one night stand at a motel. The hellish nightmare of this terrifying encounter results in Nick being brutally sexually assaulted, he reports it to the police. The case is taken on by the caring and compassionate Detective John Rice, determined to do the best he can to get justice. The repercussions of what has happened to Nick devastates his family, his older brother by 17 years, Tony, is happily married to former lawyer, Julia, and has two young children, Chloe and Sebastian. Tony has been a protective and loving father figure for Nick throughout his growing up years, he is left reeling, feeling helpless and guilty that he wasn't there for Nick when he needed him most. Against all the odds, the perpetrator is identified and charged, and upon attaining bail, persuasively articulates in the media that Nick's version of what happened is lies, and that it was Nick who had wanted the 'rough sex'. The public weigh in with their uninformed opinions, judgements, and comments on social media, intensifying the stress and pressures on Nick and his family. Nick's life further unravels, affecting his fragmenting mental health, questioning his concept of masculinity and his identity, struggling with being a victim and the loss of power associated with it, unsurprising particularly given society's discomfort with male rape victims. Julia becomes increasingly worried as Tony's rage and need for vengeance threatens her marriage and the family. Where will it all end? There is a dual narrative, with most of the storyline set in 2015, going into 2016, and a meeting in 2019 at the home of Detective Rice, dying of cancer, discussing with Julia the personal cost to him of Nick's case. One of the strongest parts of the novel is the documentation of the fallout of the sexual assault on Nick, the trial preparations and process, his self hatred, his conflicting feelings, and just how low things got for him, and how long it can take before therapy can have any meaningful impact. This is a wonderfully thought provoking read, hard hitting, dark, intense, suspenseful, and with an array of twists that made this an utterly riveting and emotional rollercoaster of an experience. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    I'll be honest, this book wasn't even on my radar until Dennis @scaredstraightreads started hyping it on his Instagram profile. Pair that with the fact it was an add on for the BOTM subscription this June, and my curiosity was more than piqued. As a reader who has always enjoyed police procedurals, I knew this sounded right up my alley, but I had no idea it would include such a fresh, unique angle on the detective trope. While most procedurals follow the detective and investigation from the law I'll be honest, this book wasn't even on my radar until Dennis @scaredstraightreads started hyping it on his Instagram profile. Pair that with the fact it was an add on for the BOTM subscription this June, and my curiosity was more than piqued. As a reader who has always enjoyed police procedurals, I knew this sounded right up my alley, but I had no idea it would include such a fresh, unique angle on the detective trope. While most procedurals follow the detective and investigation from the law enforcement side of things, The Damage almost entirely focuses on the family's experiences while trying to navigate the aftermath of a horrific crime. It feels important and necessary to state upfront that the entire basis of the plot surrounds the rape of one of the male characters; the story is incredibly well written and brings attention to a very real, yet surprisingly still taboo subject that needs to be talked about, but those who are sensitive towards stories including graphic rape content might want to proceed with caution. Again, the author has done an outstanding job telling a story that, unfortunately, too many men can relate to, and gives visibility to a group of individuals that the justice system does all it can to try and bury. The fact that Wahrer is able to tell this story in a way that brings awareness AND a great amount of suspense is astounding. Even though my finished copy was almost 400 pages, I couldn't stop turning the pages to see, not only what would happen for Nick and his case, but also to the family members supporting him. There are quite a few twists and turns throughout, and by the end of the story I didn't feel ready to let go of the characters. I think it would be fun to see another standalone, connected to this world, that features one of the minor characters from the final chapter. Trust me, you'll know. Regardless, the author has found a fan in me and I cannot wait to follow her on her future writing endeavors. *Many thanks to the author/publisher for providing my review copy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kaceey

    Five shiny debut stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Nick has had a difficult upbringing. He was raised by parents who were let’s just say less than stellar. His support and love comes from his much older brother (17 years) Tony and Tony’s wife Julia. Now in University, Nick is finally settling into life. He has a great group of friends he lives with and is comfortable in his sexuality. A night of drinking and a hookup with a very sexy man leaves Nick in the hospital…battered physically and emotionally. Tony and Jul Five shiny debut stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Nick has had a difficult upbringing. He was raised by parents who were let’s just say less than stellar. His support and love comes from his much older brother (17 years) Tony and Tony’s wife Julia. Now in University, Nick is finally settling into life. He has a great group of friends he lives with and is comfortable in his sexuality. A night of drinking and a hookup with a very sexy man leaves Nick in the hospital…battered physically and emotionally. Tony and Julia step up. They will do whatever is necessary to get Nick back on his feet and able to move forward in life. But the damage has been done. Can this family move forward? Or will this event define them for life? This was a very powerful book and the subject matter was handled so delicately and with such finesse. This read will stay with me for a very long time. The story unfolds from multiple perspectives and timelines. The characters were all real and flawed. You could feel the pain as they each tried to heal in their own way. I highly recommend this book. Thank you to Carolyn for her amazing review that put this book on my must-read list! A buddy read with Susanne that when we finished we both just sat there and said “WOW”. Posted to: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada 🇨🇦

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Damage Control. As Nick’s sexual assault throws his family into a tailspin, he returns to college and begins therapy. Meanwhile, his married older brother Tony is falling apart. How could this have happened? Tony’s orderly connubial life is in danger of being upended because of his concerns. He’s been Nick’s surrogate father and now he’s at a loss as to how to help him. The Damage isn’t your light summer read but an intense ruminative look at the after affects of a battery victim’s life. Although Damage Control. As Nick’s sexual assault throws his family into a tailspin, he returns to college and begins therapy. Meanwhile, his married older brother Tony is falling apart. How could this have happened? Tony’s orderly connubial life is in danger of being upended because of his concerns. He’s been Nick’s surrogate father and now he’s at a loss as to how to help him. The Damage isn’t your light summer read but an intense ruminative look at the after affects of a battery victim’s life. Although fictional, realistic components are woven throughout and familial relationships are tested. Maybe I’ve watched too many TV episodes with vacillating victims reluctant to go to the police, but I especially appreciated Nick’s forward approach to reporting the crime against him. With that, the story took a different trajectory than expected and moved quickly beyond. It’s a fresh and unique approach that’s both supremely intelligent and sensitive. I’m so impressed that this is a debut novel! This may be classified as a thriller but I can’t pinpoint a specific genre as it seems to be a combination of several. I would encourage those who enjoy legalese, police procedurals, and thoughtful family drama to consider this too. I purchased a hardback copy at Barnes and Noble.

  7. 4 out of 5

    preoccupiedbybooks

    4.5* An intense, unsettling and heart-breaking drama about assault, family, loyalty, and the consequences of our actions Tony only wants to protect his brother Nick. Nick only wanted a drink with his crush, but becomes a victim after being sexually assaulted and beaten. Julia is worried about both her husband Tony, and her brother-in-law Nick. Nick is spiralling, and Tony is obsessed with his case. One horrific rape. One family. Untold damage... Firstly, I cannot believe this powerful, slow burn was C 4.5* An intense, unsettling and heart-breaking drama about assault, family, loyalty, and the consequences of our actions Tony only wants to protect his brother Nick. Nick only wanted a drink with his crush, but becomes a victim after being sexually assaulted and beaten. Julia is worried about both her husband Tony, and her brother-in-law Nick. Nick is spiralling, and Tony is obsessed with his case. One horrific rape. One family. Untold damage... Firstly, I cannot believe this powerful, slow burn was Caitlin Wahrer' debut! It was long, but well researched, well written and sensitively handled. Wahrer took an unflinching look at a topic with much stigma attached to it, male rape in the gay community. The Damage really delved into masculinity, being a victim and the loss of identity. It also discussed the emotional aftermath of assault on mental health on a victim, as well as the wider impact on family. This character focussed book burrowed under my skin. The characters of Nick and his family had me turning the pages of this dark and gritty book; they all felt so real to me, like I knew them personally by the end. They weren't perfect, and I could feel the pressure on them from the media coverage of the case, and from the looming court case. The tension between them was palpable. Told in dual timelines from 2015, when the attack happened, and 2019, by Nick, Julia, Tony and Detective John Rice, this book made me feel angry, sad and uncomfortable. I think that's why it took me a little longer than usual to read, I was really out of my comfort zone here. Ah the judgment, ignorance and irritating opinions on social media in the book enraged me! In real life I can't stop myself from looking at the comments on articles, which frustrates me, and similarly the public opinions in the book made me feel the same, it felt so realistic! The Damage also looked at alcoholism, family abuse, anger and vengeance. Nick's character broke my heart. I openly cried reading about his self loathing. This not a light hearted book, it was hard hitting, and thought provoking, if a little slow at times. But it also had surprising twists and a satisfying ending. Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph UK for the ARC, in exchange for an honest review. Sorry I'm a couple days late, blame the Euro's!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    This very promising debut examines the damage caused to a family following the violent sexual assault to Nick Hall. Nick is a student at the University of Maine, Salisbury, he is extremely close to his half brother Tony and his wife Julia. The case is investigated by Detective John Rice. The storyline has dual timelines of 2015 and 2019 but is principally set in 2015. It’s starts with a puzzle in 2019 as Julia goes to meet John Rice at his home and you cannot work out why she feels as she does w This very promising debut examines the damage caused to a family following the violent sexual assault to Nick Hall. Nick is a student at the University of Maine, Salisbury, he is extremely close to his half brother Tony and his wife Julia. The case is investigated by Detective John Rice. The storyline has dual timelines of 2015 and 2019 but is principally set in 2015. It’s starts with a puzzle in 2019 as Julia goes to meet John Rice at his home and you cannot work out why she feels as she does which pulls you into the narrative straight away. The novel is very thought provoking and powerful as it looks at the multitude of emotions, including pain and mental trauma, that Nick experiences and how he is changed by his terrible experience. It also makes you reflect on how you might act if you are in the desperate situation of Nick’s family. The toll it takes is shocking and it affects all the relationships in different ways. The characterisation is excellent and all of them are very well portrayed. Tony has always been a father figure to Nick, their biological father being an alcoholic and rarely paternal. You can understand Tony’s desire to protect his much loved younger brother and his anger on his behalf. Nick’s vulnerability is palpable, Julia is cool and Rice is wise. The novel takes a major twist once someone is charged with the perpetrator and members of his family using various forms of media to present their case. This shocks me to the core as people make prejudicial judgements without all the facts on social media. As all this unfolds the narrative chops and changes in direction and tone which I like as it suits the emerging facts. Some of the twists are so good and really clever, especially the one at the end! There are strong elements of tension especially between Tony and Nick and Tony and Julia. Though the central theme is a serious, violent assault this is handled with sensitivity without being unnecessarily gratuitous. My only reservations lie in that some of the storytelling becomes everyday mundane and there is some over detailing. However, I can see that the author has valid reasons for doing this in order to demonstrate the impact on everyday lives. Overall, I am impressed with this slow burner of a debut which cleverly examines the personal impact on the individual and the family, on the wider community and it shines a spotlight on the justice system. The novel provides much food for thought. With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews

    4.5 stars! “It’s easy to be good when things are good.” Gripping. Intense. Edgy. Tony’s life is forever changed when he gets a shocking call that his younger brother, Nick, is lying beaten and bleeding in the hospital after a brutal sexual assault. Their small town is devastated as the police try to piece together what happened to Nick. This book is intense. It’s uncomfortable. A very unique storyline focused on a male sexual assault. The author did an outstanding job with the characters, the tensio 4.5 stars! “It’s easy to be good when things are good.” Gripping. Intense. Edgy. Tony’s life is forever changed when he gets a shocking call that his younger brother, Nick, is lying beaten and bleeding in the hospital after a brutal sexual assault. Their small town is devastated as the police try to piece together what happened to Nick. This book is intense. It’s uncomfortable. A very unique storyline focused on a male sexual assault. The author did an outstanding job with the characters, the tension, the suspense and atmosphere. Part police procedural, part family drama - I had a hard time putting this down. It’s an extremely well written debut - I was glued to the pages finding myself thinking about the characters even when I wasn’t reading. This was a solid 5 star read for the majority of the book. Some aspects of the ending were a bit much for me to accept which caused me to drop my rating slightly. Regardless of this, it was a truly unique and unforgettable read. This book has countless raving reviews and I’m happy to add mine to the group. This definitely lived up to the hype! Thank you to my lovely local library for the loan of this terrific book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brenda ~Traveling Sister is frustrated with GR

    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 prot 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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susanne Strong

    Review posted on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... A Close-Knit Family. A Violent Assault. The Aftermath. Though they are brothers, Tony has been like a father to Nick. Seventeen years apart, Tony has taken care of Nick for most of his life, having basically raised him with his wife, Julia. The night Nick is assaulted by another man in a hotel room everything changes. A police report is filed and an investigation ensues. Torn apart by it all, yet having to go on, day by day, Nick has Review posted on blog: https://books-are-a-girls-best-friend... A Close-Knit Family. A Violent Assault. The Aftermath. Though they are brothers, Tony has been like a father to Nick. Seventeen years apart, Tony has taken care of Nick for most of his life, having basically raised him with his wife, Julia. The night Nick is assaulted by another man in a hotel room everything changes. A police report is filed and an investigation ensues. Torn apart by it all, yet having to go on, day by day, Nick has to face “The Damage” that has been done. Tony is distraught. His baby brother is hurting and he wants revenge. Julia’s family has been destroyed. A former defense attorney, she must figure out how to fix “The Damage” before it’s too late. This is thought-provoking, brilliantly written, character-driven fiction that made me think about actions and consequences, “The Damage” is a stellar debut by Caitlin Wahrer. The fact that this is a debut novel blows my mind. If only all books were this good, I’d be a very happy camper. “The Damage” is a mix of genres. It’s both general fiction and mystery/suspense. It’s also got one of the best character-driven plots I’ve read all year long and will be on my Goodreads best-of-list for 2021. If it’s not on your tbr, you’re missing out! A buddy read with Kaceey that left us both reeling. Thank you to NetGalley, Penguin Random House Canada - Doubleday Canada and Caitlin Wahrer for the arc. Published on Goodreads, Instagram and Twitter.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is one of the most intense, heart wrenching, engrossing and compelling books that ripped my heart apart! The plot centered on one of the most triggering sensitive subjects: sexual assault. This time a young man is the victim and the author discusses the matter so openly by reflecting the sentimental burden and emotional turmoil of Nick so realistically: a young man in college who only wants to have drinks, flirting with an old guy with man which ended with harmful assault leaving invisible This is one of the most intense, heart wrenching, engrossing and compelling books that ripped my heart apart! The plot centered on one of the most triggering sensitive subjects: sexual assault. This time a young man is the victim and the author discusses the matter so openly by reflecting the sentimental burden and emotional turmoil of Nick so realistically: a young man in college who only wants to have drinks, flirting with an old guy with man which ended with harmful assault leaving invisible traces in his soul which may never be erased. It was impossible not to feel connected with Nick and feel his tremendous pain, how he tries so hard to hold on, how overwhelmed he felt and his brother Tony, he’s unhinged, because his brother is also like his own son! How can he watch his loved one struggling so hard without taking any action? The slow burn story is told by moving back and forth between two timelines: 2015 and 2019. We’re introduced to Nick’s family starting with protective half brother Tony who can be considered as his real father because he literally raised Nick when their real father was useless, abusive alcoholic who had no paternal instinct. Nick is married with Julia who is former lawyer. She’s concrete, tough, observer, cold, determined. Then we witness the tragedy Nick has to endure. An innocent night out attempt, one drink leads to other,then he finds himself as an assault victim. Nick’s case is investigated by detective John Rice who is smart man, observing the family members’ drama, Tony’s misery to be there for his brother, his struggles, his guilt feelings and Nick’s inner fight with his demons, his mental and physical pain, Julia’s cool and logical attitude. When the culprit gets arrested and released with bail, things get escalated because someone is out there to avenge without waiting for justice’s serving. After the murder, the media focuses this harmful event and misjudged opinions of the people, cruel criticism around the family create more impact than they already deal with. I have to stop here not to give away more details but there are so many delicious, mind spinning twists in this book. Especially the ending was a quick punch to my gut. I’m still in shock! I’m literally blubbering but it was freaking unexpected and extremely smart! This is so well written book with amazingly well developed characterization and it’s extremely provocative, intense, engaging! I think the characters’ stories will stay with me for a long time and I’ll keep thinking about them at least for a month. No more words! I’m giving well earned thought provoking, blood freezing, dark five stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Viking/ Pamela Dorman Books for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    Caitlin Wahrer's debut novel The Damage is my favorite book of the year (dated 5/26, so could change, but very unlikely). There's a lot to unpack here and I'm not sure my review will give it justice. This book is centered around the Hall family—mainly brothers Nick and Tony, and Tony's wife Julia. Tony and Nick are half brothers, born 17 years apart. Their alcoholic father has created a unique dynamic with Tony and Nick. Tony views Nick as a son, rather than a younger brother. The story focu Caitlin Wahrer's debut novel The Damage is my favorite book of the year (dated 5/26, so could change, but very unlikely). There's a lot to unpack here and I'm not sure my review will give it justice. This book is centered around the Hall family—mainly brothers Nick and Tony, and Tony's wife Julia. Tony and Nick are half brothers, born 17 years apart. Their alcoholic father has created a unique dynamic with Tony and Nick. Tony views Nick as a son, rather than a younger brother. The story focuses on a night that Nick experienced—and I have to be delicate in how I speak to this synopsis to avoid spoilers—but Nick is raped and beat up after meeting someone at a bar. Nick is gay and the focus of this rape becomes public fodder. The Hall's lives are all changed by this one moment, but what happens next is something a lot more complicated than any of them ever expected. The Damage dives into many different genres, but ultimately asks how far people would go to protect their family and the ones they love. Thank you Caitlin Wahrer for respectfully diving into male rape (especially within the gay community) and handling the subject matter appropriately. I can tell you did your research when choosing to write about this topic. This book had me in tears, jumping for joy, angry as F, and a bunch of all different mixed emotions. At almost 400 pages, I couldn't put it down and I'm sure the dark circles I have prove this. I can not even believe this book is a debut! Where have you been hiding Caitlin?! I can't even put to words how much I loved this book. This book has many triggers and maybe I have a propensity to read books dealing with trauma, but this one is a story that I want everyone to read. The plot is what hooked me in initially, but the character development is what had me flipping the pages like a psycho over the last 24 hours. You won't regret picking this one up. If you enjoyed Chris Whitaker's We Begin at the End, you will absolutely love The Damage !

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 4.5 stars! I want to thank NetGalley, Penguin Random House and Doubleday Canada for this propulsive psychological thriller in return for an honest review. I spent many frustrating hours over three days trying to download a readable pdf file. After many disappointing attempts, I was finally successful. Was the ARC worth my time and effort? Most definitely, yes! This was a powerful and thought-provoking debut by author Caitlin Wahrer. The characters were well-developed personalities explored in de 4.5 stars! I want to thank NetGalley, Penguin Random House and Doubleday Canada for this propulsive psychological thriller in return for an honest review. I spent many frustrating hours over three days trying to download a readable pdf file. After many disappointing attempts, I was finally successful. Was the ARC worth my time and effort? Most definitely, yes! This was a powerful and thought-provoking debut by author Caitlin Wahrer. The characters were well-developed personalities explored in depth. They experienced many conflicting emotions, which were brilliantly conveyed to the reader. There were moral quandaries, dilemmas, and ambivalence in their thoughts and actions. What they believe is the right path to choose may not always be the good one. In the beginning, Nick, a young gay man and university student, is lying in a hospital badly battered and injured. He was the victim of a sadistic rape after drinking in a bar and leaving with a handsome stranger. This is a difficult subject handled with sensitivity. His much older brother, Troy, was the early protector of young Nick from the rage of their drunken, verbally demeaning and physically abusive father and took on the role of a loving father and protector of the boy. He now vows to take revenge for what happened to Nick. Nick blames himself for the attack, learning at an early age that a man never allows himself to be victimized. He feels the guilt and humiliation of what happened to him. Troy blames himself for not being able to protect Nick from the brutal attack. Detective Rice is a dedicated police officer intent on following the rules. He and his team arrest the perpetrator, who is let out on bail pending trial. He is sympathetic with Nick and his family. The accused man goes public disputing Nick's version of events. Rumours and accusations run rampant on social media, and the identities of both Nick and his accused rapist are revealed. Julia, Troy's wife, was a former lawyer who managed to get criminals acquitted or their sentences reduced.. She worries that Troy is losing control and may go too far in his quest for vengeance. She doesn't yet realize how far she will go to protect her family. The story is fast-paced, with short chapters that heighten its intensity and suspense. It mainly took place in 2015, but its timeline shifts to 2019 when Julia and Detective Rice meet. The dying Rice carries guilt over something he failed to do in his role as a police officer. This is a riveting, electrifying, and emotional story that I couldn't put down. It asks how far will someone go to protect others. I was in suspense in regards to the outcome. There are startling twists and revelations I never saw coming. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys character-driven thrillers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5stars: Trigger warning: brutal sexual assault with an assumed sexual predator. In this case, the rape victim was a male college student who indulged in excessive liquor at a dive bar which ended in a horrendous rape. “The Damage” by Caitlin Wahrer explores gay rape. The victim, Nick Hall, tries to keep the rape quiet because he’s embarrassed. This novel brings out all the shame associated with rape. Nick finds it exceptionally humiliating because he was dominated….what self-respecting male all 3.5stars: Trigger warning: brutal sexual assault with an assumed sexual predator. In this case, the rape victim was a male college student who indulged in excessive liquor at a dive bar which ended in a horrendous rape. “The Damage” by Caitlin Wahrer explores gay rape. The victim, Nick Hall, tries to keep the rape quiet because he’s embarrassed. This novel brings out all the shame associated with rape. Nick finds it exceptionally humiliating because he was dominated….what self-respecting male allows himself to be dominate? Add to that, the assailant has a differing memory of the events which adds to Nick’s trepidation. The story is told in two timeframes. The time of the rape, 2015, and 2019 when the lead detective revisits the case with Julia, Nick’s sister-in-law. Thus, from the beginning we know that there is some uncleared business from the case. The reader slowly learns about what truly happened that night…the horror. Plus, we learn how the court case and trial dates weigh on the victim. The social media and public opinion that attaches itself to these personal crimes only add to the original trauma. Nick has endured a traumatic childhood leaving him with his older half brother Tony taking care of him. When Nick is raped, this close-knit family comes together to find justice. But the collateral damage of this assault weighs heavily on the family. The story is also told from three points of view: Nick; Julia; Tony and John(the detective). Through the alternating character chapters, the suspense grows. How did the case close? I love when I don’t guess the ending, nor see any of the ending until the very last chapters. Well done Ms. Wahrer!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Instagram | An excellent book that is written in a style of writing I love. It was easy to follow, switched between characters very well. Well rounded relatable characters. I did find Nick annoying at times though in reactions. Not the emotional reactions etc but his dialogue. This is a very tricky book to read. It may contain subject matter that may cause emotional upset. But if you are a realist like myself, facing things straight on, getting through it will bring Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Instagram | An excellent book that is written in a style of writing I love. It was easy to follow, switched between characters very well. Well rounded relatable characters. I did find Nick annoying at times though in reactions. Not the emotional reactions etc but his dialogue. This is a very tricky book to read. It may contain subject matter that may cause emotional upset. But if you are a realist like myself, facing things straight on, getting through it will bring you out the other side. That’s not to say, my decision is your acceptance. Non of these emotive topics have I personally been through but one significant issue I had a friend go through. Tony is Nicks brother. His protector and friend who is married to Julia. The blurb makes no hidden fact that Nick is gay and has been attacked and raped. When Tony hears of this he is, quite understandably shocked; hurt; and wants of course say and do the right things to support his brother. Tony becomes obsessed with this case. So as the blurb says.... Three ordainary people getting on with they’re ordainary lives, until an earth shattering event changes the dynamics of all of their lives. My only critique would be that certain aspects of this story was too drawn out. If it were on audio I would have sped it up in parts. Some parts were repetitive too. A 3.5 * I liked it, but I could have loved it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    “Don’t let him win.” “You’re not listening. No matter what, I lose.” That’s all there is to say about this debut. What starts as a gut wrenching tale of assault with the oh-so-well-known he said/(s)he said that comes with an investigation of a violent crime and the potential court battle that could follow quickly turns on its own ear to become one of the best mystery/thrillers I’ve read this year. Caitlin Wahrer knocked this sucker straight out of the ballpark. Allllllllll the Starrrrrrrrr “Don’t let him win.” “You’re not listening. No matter what, I lose.” That’s all there is to say about this debut. What starts as a gut wrenching tale of assault with the oh-so-well-known he said/(s)he said that comes with an investigation of a violent crime and the potential court battle that could follow quickly turns on its own ear to become one of the best mystery/thrillers I’ve read this year. Caitlin Wahrer knocked this sucker straight out of the ballpark. Allllllllll the Starrrrrrrrrzzzzzzzz. My only regret with The Damage is that I didn’t know about it before publication day and therefore wasn’t able to hype the hell of out it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4.5 stunning debut stars I don't think I've ever read a book like this, an unflinching look at male sexual assault and the fallout. It's an amazing look at the desire for justice for the victim and the complicated system for getting there. This one is a great character study with a bit of a mystery element too. Nick is a college junior, out for a night on the town like many other college students. What happens later that night is the focus of the rest of the book. Nick's older brother Tony is more 4.5 stunning debut stars I don't think I've ever read a book like this, an unflinching look at male sexual assault and the fallout. It's an amazing look at the desire for justice for the victim and the complicated system for getting there. This one is a great character study with a bit of a mystery element too. Nick is a college junior, out for a night on the town like many other college students. What happens later that night is the focus of the rest of the book. Nick's older brother Tony is more like a father figure and he wants to help Nick through this, but he has no idea how to do that. His desire for justice and revenge is strong. His wife, a lawyer, tries to keep his temper down and they both want to do what's best for Nick. Julia knows many of the legal complexities that are at play. It brings up the question, just how far will you go to protect those you love? We get a taste of what the court side of things looks like, how social media can influence public perception and judgement on both sides, and the criminal side. Detective Rice is on the case and makes for a fascinating character. Each character is dealing with this and trying to heal and their pain almost leaps off the page. The author did an excellent job with the subject matter and it can make for difficult reading at times. I will say that it wrapped up in a surprising and satisfying way. I can't wait to read what this author comes out with next. Brava to you Caitlin Wahrer! This one will stay with me and will be a top read of 2021 for me. Thank you to my fellow book reviewers here who put this one on my radar and to my local library for the copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    Caitlin Wahrer's debut novel, The Damage , is a powerful, emotional look at how far we will go to protect those we love.⁣ ⁣ Nick, a college student, enjoys a night at a bar with a close friend. After some drinking and dancing, he’s approached by a handsome older man. They flirt, talk, and ultimately decide to go to the man’s motel room. The next thing he knows, Nick wakes up bruised and bloody—and he has been raped.⁣ ⁣ As Nick helps the police try to identify his rapist, he must confront a jumble Caitlin Wahrer's debut novel, The Damage , is a powerful, emotional look at how far we will go to protect those we love.⁣ ⁣ Nick, a college student, enjoys a night at a bar with a close friend. After some drinking and dancing, he’s approached by a handsome older man. They flirt, talk, and ultimately decide to go to the man’s motel room. The next thing he knows, Nick wakes up bruised and bloody—and he has been raped.⁣ ⁣ As Nick helps the police try to identify his rapist, he must confront a jumble of intense emotions. Meanwhile, his older brother Tony, who had always been a surrogate father to Nick, feels powerless in the face of Nick’s pain and wants to solve his problems and protect him.⁣ ⁣ When Nick’s rapist is identified and he publicly contradicts Nick's story, shifting the blame to him and raising ideas about Nick's proclivities, Tony’s wife Julia, a former defense attorney, worries that Nick may be harmed by the scrutiny of a trial. She becomes increasingly worried Tony might take matters into his own hands to try and fight his brother's battles.⁣ ⁣ This is a story that packs a punch on so many levels. It’s narrated by Nick, Tony, Julia, and the detective mounting the case. There is so much rich character development in this book it’s so hard to believe it’s a debut novel.⁣ ⁣ I’ll admit I hesitated to read The Damage because as a survivor I worried this would be too painful of an experience for me. But I commend Caitlin Wahrer for doing right by survivors of sexual assault and presenting their struggles and challenges in an accurate, not overly dramatic way. ⁣ NetGalley, Penguin Random House Canada, and Doubleday Canada provided me with a complimentary advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available! Really a great and thought-provoking read. ⁣ Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    This did not really work for me. It wants to have the pacing of a procedural with the twists of a thriller, and I have read some books that do this very well, but this isn't one of them. It's one of those books that feels like it made sense as an outline but the execution just isn't quite there. First off, this is a crime novel about sexual assault, and after reading several of these in the last few months I am questioning whether there can be good crime novels about sexual assault. I'm not going This did not really work for me. It wants to have the pacing of a procedural with the twists of a thriller, and I have read some books that do this very well, but this isn't one of them. It's one of those books that feels like it made sense as an outline but the execution just isn't quite there. First off, this is a crime novel about sexual assault, and after reading several of these in the last few months I am questioning whether there can be good crime novels about sexual assault. I'm not going to rule it out, it feels like it could be possible. But often rape is used as a plot point or device in a way that makes me feel squicky. Especially when the plot of "is the victim telling the truth?" is a central element of the book, as it is here. In this book, rape seems to be the crime at issue not because the book has a lot to say about it or about survivors or recovery or the way the justice system tackles it. Some of that comes up and I appreciated that trauma and recovery are included, but it is not what the book is about. Rape feels like the central crime here, specifically rape with a male victim, because of the feelings it will engender in people. It will have a unique effect on a man, especially a straight man, who is close to the victim, and that is what the book wants. And I just cannot get behind that. (It's like how so many boring action movies start with a man's wife getting raped and him seeking out revenge.) Second, the structure here could work for a slow burn that doesn't want to have flashbacks and twists, but this is a book that wants to have flashbacks and twists so the stakes and the pacing just don't work. We start with Julia, the victim's sister-in-law, and Detective Rice having a conversation a few years after the main events of the book. Rice is dying and he wants to have it out in the open with Julia about the case. Both Rice and Julia know things that never came out, clearly, and we are going to have to read for a very long time to find out what those things are. And then when you do... it just doesn't feel like all that much. And this is one of the greatest sins a twisty book can commit. If it turns out the thing you made us wait to find out about is just... not all that interesting, well, you leave us on a real downer. And for me, since the book hadn't really been working with a lot of tension before that, it was a double fail. I could put a looooong paragraph behind a spoiler tag about how I didn't think what Julia ends up revealing made any sense or had the necessary character buildup, but I will spare you. This can sometimes be a little clunky in the way many crime novels written by lawyers tend to be, but thankfully that's mostly in the first half. There are a lot of elements here that make me think this could have been better or that Wahrer will eventually give us a better book. Content warnings for rape, self-harm, attempted suicide.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Really liked this story on a topic that needs much more attention - male sexual assault. This book takes an unflinching look at the devastating effects of sexual assault on a whole family when Noah, age 20, is brutally raped by a man he meets at a bar. The close-knit family’s constant support of and belief in Noah is welcome, and Noah’s feelings and reactions after the assault are believable and tough to read about. I really appreciated both the sensitivity and the frankness with which this story Really liked this story on a topic that needs much more attention - male sexual assault. This book takes an unflinching look at the devastating effects of sexual assault on a whole family when Noah, age 20, is brutally raped by a man he meets at a bar. The close-knit family’s constant support of and belief in Noah is welcome, and Noah’s feelings and reactions after the assault are believable and tough to read about. I really appreciated both the sensitivity and the frankness with which this story was approached. The book is not just about a rape though….it’s about the criminal justice system…and what those you love might be willing to do for you to help you get any kind of “justice.” For awhile I worried about the direction the book was going and feared we would not get a satisfying ending…but hang in there. Wahrer delivers. I have to say it was also wonderful to read a story about a sexual assault where the detective was as dedicated, caring and committed as you’d ever want, and not the least bit homophobic about the crime. If we had more real-life detectives like this, maybe sexual assaults on men would be far less underreported. A satisfying, sensitive and socially conscious thriller that reads like a family drama, but with enough twists and mystery to satisfy any thriller fanatic. Four stars from me. Recommended. Thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for the ARC!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club)

    QUICK TAKE: THE DAMAGE is a small-town mystery told from the point of view of multiple characters investigating and untangling a random act of violence. After being ghosted by a guy he has a crush on, college student Nick ends up going home with a stranger he meets at a bar, only to wake up the next day with little memory of the night before and the realization that he has been sexually assaulted. Unsure of what to do, Nick turns to his older brother (and surrogate father figure) Tony and Tony’s QUICK TAKE: THE DAMAGE is a small-town mystery told from the point of view of multiple characters investigating and untangling a random act of violence. After being ghosted by a guy he has a crush on, college student Nick ends up going home with a stranger he meets at a bar, only to wake up the next day with little memory of the night before and the realization that he has been sexually assaulted. Unsure of what to do, Nick turns to his older brother (and surrogate father figure) Tony and Tony’s wife Julia for help. Of course, when Nick reports the crime to the police and they ultimately identify the stranger who attacked him, it’s Nick’s word against his rapist’s, and the family’s ideas of justice are put to the ultimate test. ⁣ ⁣ The basic premise itself isn’t anything new (though I thought Caitlin did a nuanced job of thoughtfully walking through the power dynamics and stigma associated with gay men and sexual assault), but what really elevates this story is Wahrer’s ability to emotionally ground her characters and their relationships and really build tension and uneasiness through the use of alternating timelines and character points of view, culminating in a thought-provoking and ending that left me thinking about the book days after I’d finished.⁣

  23. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook….read by Soneela Nankani 11 hours and 46 minutes Stephen King said to put “The Damage” high on our summer reading list. I was game, hoping for a ‘wow-fun-thriller’. But … honestly - I didn’t really enjoy it. The story did pull me in at first, but not throughout. 400 pages was too long to tell this story, in my opinion. The mental psychological prowess associated with Nick Hall’s brutal sexual assault…’dragged’. The family history flashbacks and the every day struggles didn’t interest me m Audiobook….read by Soneela Nankani 11 hours and 46 minutes Stephen King said to put “The Damage” high on our summer reading list. I was game, hoping for a ‘wow-fun-thriller’. But … honestly - I didn’t really enjoy it. The story did pull me in at first, but not throughout. 400 pages was too long to tell this story, in my opinion. The mental psychological prowess associated with Nick Hall’s brutal sexual assault…’dragged’. The family history flashbacks and the every day struggles didn’t interest me much. The lengthy investigation (when the rapist was caught and identified quickly), was also too drawn out. And most, the questionable moral quandaries …..left me feeling cold. The ending lacked integrity and didn’t send an inspiring message, in my opinion.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Whispering Stories

    Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com The focus of Damage is that of male rape and the aftermath for both the victim and the family. The book begins in 2019 with Detective Rice who has cancer and doesn’t have long left to live requesting that Julia, the sister-in-law of rape victim Nick visit him at home as he wants to discuss Nick’s case, the case that he worked in 2015. The plot then moves back in time to 2015 when Julia and her husband Tony receive some shocking news that Tony’s younger ha Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com The focus of Damage is that of male rape and the aftermath for both the victim and the family. The book begins in 2019 with Detective Rice who has cancer and doesn’t have long left to live requesting that Julia, the sister-in-law of rape victim Nick visit him at home as he wants to discuss Nick’s case, the case that he worked in 2015. The plot then moves back in time to 2015 when Julia and her husband Tony receive some shocking news that Tony’s younger half-brother, university student Nick is in hospital. Tony rushes to his side and is devastated to learn that not only has Nick been badly beaten he has also been raped. What plays out is a family having to emotionally come to terms with what has happened. Julia tries to hold her family together and help Nick in any way she can, she is a former defense attorney and uses her skills. Tony feels constantly angry that someone has hurt his little brother like that, the brother that he has had to protect for so long due to their tough upbringing. He feels guilty for not being there to protect him and vows to get revenge. Can this family survive the trauma and what does the detective want with Julia four years after the case? Damage is a very poignant book, one that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. I was puzzled at the beginning as to what Detective Rice could want with Julia and why was her reaction so bad, she knew she had to go but she felt sick at the prospect of speaking to him. This got my attention. The plot is told from various points of view and in the two timelines, though mainly in 2015/16. It is also split into different sections. You always knew whose head you were in and what the year was as these were given at the top of the page. The ‘chapters’ were relatively short which kept the book moving along steadily although the book itself was quite a slow burner. Damage isn’t an easy read. It cuts to the bone and has you wanting to hold those close to you. It is very character-driven and you feel every emotion that they do, it is heartbreaking at times. It was tough to see a family being pulled apart. I felt that Julia was the one holding it together the most and also the one who was ready to step up and do everything and anything she could for the men in her life. This is a psychological thriller. There was a lot of tension throughout that at times got my heart pumping. Whilst the subject matter was handled with care and integrity, the case was brutal and the aftermath more so.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    This story is an emotional one. Heavy triggers as the plot is centered around a brutal sexual assault. I have read many books where the victim is female. This was such an interesting and well thought out premise with the victim being a gay male. I very different perspective. The author does such a great job of giving the reader a feel for what the family is going through. I very much felt the characters emotions. Connected with them. Now that's strong writing in my opinion. So impressed by this This story is an emotional one. Heavy triggers as the plot is centered around a brutal sexual assault. I have read many books where the victim is female. This was such an interesting and well thought out premise with the victim being a gay male. I very different perspective. The author does such a great job of giving the reader a feel for what the family is going through. I very much felt the characters emotions. Connected with them. Now that's strong writing in my opinion. So impressed by this debut! Thank you to Doubleday Canada and Netgalley for my review copy!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    #DAMAGE By Caitlin Wahrer — “Addictive, twisty and thought provoking, #Damage explores themes of justice and doubt, ultimately asking how far you would go to protect your family.” — This cracking debut book had me hooked from the first page. All the way through I was engrossed with the intriguing drama and although tough at times to read, I found the consequences following a horrendous sexual assault both shocking and saddening - making it very thought provoking and an exceedingly good book club re #DAMAGE By Caitlin Wahrer — “Addictive, twisty and thought provoking, #Damage explores themes of justice and doubt, ultimately asking how far you would go to protect your family.” — This cracking debut book had me hooked from the first page. All the way through I was engrossed with the intriguing drama and although tough at times to read, I found the consequences following a horrendous sexual assault both shocking and saddening - making it very thought provoking and an exceedingly good book club read. The layout of the character-driven story is very cleverly executed. Shifting between two timelines, recently and back when the attack happened, we are privy to events as each character sees them. With family being at the heart of the drama and how far we would go to protect them, this was a fabulously written debut book. Suspenseful, engaging and addictive, with a sensitive theme that the author has written with compassion and at the same time, encouraging awareness on a subject that has been taboo for far too long. A highly recommended read for 2021! 5 stars Caitlin Wahrer was born to two hippies, who raised her in a small central-southern town in Maine without a single stoplight in it. She left the state for four years, to study criminal justice and marriage and family studies in Pennsylvania. She returned to Maine at attend law school and currently practices civil litigation in Portland. You can find out more about the book and the author from the following link - https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/318/3... My thanks go to Ella Watkins and Jen Breslin at Michael Joseph for inviting me on the #BlogTour for “Damage” and for my copy of the book in return for an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Fair warning this is a bit gritty and tough to read at times due to the nature of the plot. I'm glad I stuck with it though, an excellent contender for best of 2021. Fair warning this is a bit gritty and tough to read at times due to the nature of the plot. I'm glad I stuck with it though, an excellent contender for best of 2021.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Javier

    Review published in: https://diagnosisbookaholic.blogspot.... It is hard to believe that Damage is a debut novel so impactful and powerful it is, taking a look at a male sexual assault and the way it affects not only the victim of the assault but all those around him. Despite dealing with a very sensitive subject, the author writes about it delicately and with the utmost respect. The research she must have done to write this shows in every single page. The story focuses on the aftermath of the ass Review published in: https://diagnosisbookaholic.blogspot.... It is hard to believe that Damage is a debut novel so impactful and powerful it is, taking a look at a male sexual assault and the way it affects not only the victim of the assault but all those around him. Despite dealing with a very sensitive subject, the author writes about it delicately and with the utmost respect. The research she must have done to write this shows in every single page. The story focuses on the aftermath of the assault, showing the damage done, and thankfully doesn’t recreate on graphic descriptions of the assault itself (which would have been the case in some less capable hands). The character development was absolutely brilliant. How far would you go to protect the ones you love? While trying to answer this question Wahrer builds the tension through the development of the relationships between the characters. She also points out the stigma associated with gay men and sexual assault and the way people act as judges on the media even without having all the facts, increasing the victim’s suffering. Although it was not an easy read it was so well written that it was hard to stop turning pages, leading to an ending that will make you keep thinking about it long after you’ve finished it. Poignant, heartbreaking, nuanced and, above all, necessary story that puts Caitlin Wahrer as one of the names to watch on the literary world. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Michael Joseph UK for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Damage is a tense and highly emotional psychological drama, about a horrific attack that changes one family dynamic forever Caitlin Wahrer manages her plot with great sensitivity whilst also making it extraordinarily compelling, her characters are as real as you or I and each facet of the story is nuanced whilst also addictive. It's a delicate line to walk in fiction and is pitch perfect here, many sides shown from the investigation to the aftermath, there are natural twists and turns that play Damage is a tense and highly emotional psychological drama, about a horrific attack that changes one family dynamic forever Caitlin Wahrer manages her plot with great sensitivity whilst also making it extraordinarily compelling, her characters are as real as you or I and each facet of the story is nuanced whilst also addictive. It's a delicate line to walk in fiction and is pitch perfect here, many sides shown from the investigation to the aftermath, there are natural twists and turns that play into the wider theme and overall this was a most excellent if disturbing read that I highly recommend.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    Okay wow this book was nothing like what I expected it to be yet everything that I was hoping for. I want to start off by saying this is not a thriller and is instead a slower moving & character driven crime novel. I was definitely expecting it to be a faster paced novel, but I was pleasantly surprised with all that this book had to offer! THE DAMAGE is easily one of the most engrossing, heart-wrenching, emotional, and surprising crime novels I have ever read. I seriously can’t believe this is a Okay wow this book was nothing like what I expected it to be yet everything that I was hoping for. I want to start off by saying this is not a thriller and is instead a slower moving & character driven crime novel. I was definitely expecting it to be a faster paced novel, but I was pleasantly surprised with all that this book had to offer! THE DAMAGE is easily one of the most engrossing, heart-wrenching, emotional, and surprising crime novels I have ever read. I seriously can’t believe this is a debut novel 😱 It’s very hard to come by a novel that makes me want to take a step back and really embrace the reading experience, but that’s exactly how this book was for me. It’s so hard to read at times because of the subject matter, but this book discusses very real and prevalent topics and I think it’s such an important read. If you haven’t already, PICK THIS BOOK UP!!! Not only will you get a fantastic crime novel with surprising twists, but also an incredible story that you won’t want to let go of 🙌🏼 CW: rape, sexual assault, victim blaming, homophobia, attempted suicide, mentions of domestic abuse & child abuse

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