Title: The Damage
Author: Caitlin Wahrer
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publication Date: 8th July 2021
Sometimes, the true story is the hardest to believe.
TONY has always looked out for his younger brother, Nick. So when it looks like Nick was the victim of sexual assault, Tony’s anger flares.
JULIA is alarmed by her husband Tony’s obsession with Nick’s case. He’s always had a temper, but does she really know what he’s capable of?
NICK went out for a drink. After that, everything’s a blank. When he woke up he found himself in a world of confusion and pain.
Three ordinary people.
One life-shattering event.
And when the police get involved, this family in crisis might be capable of anything . . .
I’d heard really good things about this book so my expectations were pretty high going in, but I have to say that they were actually exceeded. The Damage follows members of a family in the aftermath of a brutal assault. Tony and his wife, Julia are a happy family with two young children. Nick is Tony’s significantly younger brother, whom Tony has looked after like a father his whole life due to parental issues. One night, Nick appears to be the victim of a sexual assault and the lives of these three characters erupt into chaos.
First off, I have to say The Damage really does deal with the often marginalised issue of male victims of sexual assault in a measured and yet highly impactful way. It also looks at how an assault has major ramifications not just for the victim but for pretty much everyone in their orbit at the same time. These characters are deeply layered and following them as they cope with the unthinkable is devastating and feels so resolutely authentic from start to finish. The Damage delves into so many different areas like brotherhood, family dynamics, masculinity, perception and power – and it deals with every single one expertly. This really is a strikingly good debut and I for one will be reading whatever this talented author writes next. An easy five stars.
I kindly received an e-copy of the book via Netgalley. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.