Review: Aftershock by Jill Sorenson

As an emergency paramedic, Lauren Boyer is dedicated and highly capable. Until an earthquake strikes, trapping her beneath the freeway with a group of strangers-including Iraq war veteran Garrett Wright…

Aftershock Jill SorensonWhen she climbs out of her ambulance after the quake and several shock waves all she can see is devastation.  She is trapped underneath a section of concrete that has formed a barrier and eliminated any chance of getting out.  Lauren knows she needs to move away from her vehicle but she is having a hard time leaving her partner.  She had worked with him for three years and he has a family.  In her mind she knows he is dead and she has to go but she is in a state of shock.  From the smoke she sees a man walking towards her.  It is Garrett.  Together they rescue a young woman and find a couple of other survivors.  Now they must figure out what to do in order to survive and get out of this disaster alive.

Aftershock is an in-depth look at what happens after a tragedy strikes.  Lauren, Garrett and their group are forced to survive with little water and even less food with death all around them.  They have a section of the are where they have to keep the dead.  It is either that or leave them in the open for everyone to look at.  The area is neither sanitary nor safe but they must do the best with what they have until rescue comes.  They have no idea though, how long they will need to survive because they are cut off from the world.  The little news they are able to get tells of a whole city in a situation like they are.

As if matters could not get any worse one of the vehicles was a prison transport.  Four men from the transport survived and two of them were the worst humanity has to offer.  On the first night after the quake one man tries to rape Lauren.  When Garrett comes to the rescue and tries to beat the man he is warned off by the second prisoner.  The second prisoner has the gun from the dead prison guard making him a major threat.

What I thought was pretty obvious was that Garrett was also from the prison bus.  He tells Lauren he was convicted of manslaughter and refuses to be with her because things would never work out once they were rescued.  I had several issues with this part of the story one being the idea of a romantic relationship developing in a disater situation like this.  Lauren is the only medic and has her hands full trying to keep a few patients alive not to mention almost being raped and having another patient that is 39 weeks pregnant.

The toothpaste and hairbrush were also borrowed- from a dead person, she imagined.  The grim thought calmed her raging hormones a bit.

I believe that if I were in that situation, romance would be the very last thing on my mind, no matter how hot the guy with me was.  I have heard that sometimes situations like this can cause people to participate in life affirming actions but I guess I just don’t understand that.  The pair actually has their first time in the backseat of one of the broken cars.  This would be one of the cars where a half dead or dead person had recently been.

My second issues is Lauren’s head in the sand attitude.  How could she not realize that Garrett was a prison also?  He told her his story about killing a man and the other convicts display a level of familiarity with him that would immediately have me questioning what was going on.  I don’t think Garrett was a bad guy and he was doing his best to protect and provide for everyone but I would have been a bit more wary with all the evidence being presented.  Towards the end she decides that she wants to work it out with him and she loves him.  The circumstances they were in provided a false sense of a relationship, in my opinion.  How do you deal with the fact that Garrett still has five years of prison sentence to serve once they are rescued?  The end wrapped up a little to neatly with regards to these issues.

Even with my issues on the romance side of the book, the suspense part was very well done.  Some of the scenes were gritty and gruesome.  There were times were I would cringe or grip my kindle with the realness of the writing.  I feel like they could have been very similar to what people endure in a tragedy of this magnitude.  While most of the obstacles are provided by the escaped prisoners we still experience the emotional impact of watching helplessly as people die or waste away.  Part of me wishes I could have just skipped over the romance and read more of their struggle to survive.  Those scenes are what made the book for me.

Overall, it was an ok book.  I would have liked a stronger romance plot or maybe not one at all?  The rest of the book with its look at survivors and tragedy was compelling and kept me turning the pages.  If you are looking for good suspense in a real life setting this would be a good book for you.  Not so much if you are looking for jump off the pages romance.  Final grade- C

Favorite Quote:

When she glanced up at him, he kissed her relaxed mouth.  He didn’t seem in any hurry to put on the condom, so she picked up the package and tore it open with her teeth.  She rolled the latex over him, with some difficulty.  It was a snug fit.

Rating: C
Aftershock by Jill Sorenson
December 18th 2012 by Harlequin HQN
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  1. Mandi says

    I agree- the disaster part is well done – very realistic and gritty – but I never believed in their romance. At all. So that was disappointing.