BOOK CLUB: After the Smoke Clears

Click to rate this book!
[Total: 5 Average: 4.8]

After the Smoke Clears by Australian author Kylie Kaden is captivating work in the mystery, drama, crime, and suspense subgenres.

Charlotte (Lotti) Hill lives in Canberra, Australia, the daughter of a federal politician she has grown up in a life of power and privilege. Wanting to be independent she turns her back on her family and their expectations and moves north of Brisbane to start her career as a primary school teacher.

August (Augie) Silverfall, a single dad to six-year-old deaf Otto meets Lotti when she becomes his son’s teacher. He has not lived a life of entitlement like Lotti and works hard to provide for himself and Otto. Although physically strong and a man of action he is quiet and emotionally reserved which draws Lotti to him.

A mysterious phone call in the middle of the night, sees Augie rushing back to the small town he grew up in. Eldham, in central Queensland, was a place he never wanted to return but his friend Brookes needed him. Without an explanation of the circumstances, he leaves Otto in Lotti’s care.

Days pass with no word from Augie, Lotti takes matters into her own hands and decides to go to Eldham with Otto to get answers. When she arrives is it not what she anticipates or has predicted, the small town has held secrets for decades. A terrible crime becomes known, and Augie may not be the man she knows. Will she be willing to understand and accept his past?

Kylie Kaden offers readers an interesting plot. She includes all the elements necessary in a psychological drama combining a smooth blend of mystery and intrigue with a healthy dose of complex family dynamics and hidden secrets. The book employs a slow-burn narrative that expands with each passing page as the mystery unfolds one layer at a time. 

Beautifully written in two timelines (1988 and 2009) expertly entwining the past and present, making excellent use of dialogue, and giving readers a much clearer and endearing understanding of each character and their motivations and actions. You’ll feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster, experiencing every torrent of emotion of hope, despair, sadness, and joy that the protagonists bring you.

I was able to sympathise with Lotti; her emotions seem genuine; she had forged a life for herself without her father’s influence but when it came to the man, she was falling for there were so many secrets he was hiding from her. 

With their future in jeopardy, she showed courage and determination to uncover his truth.

Augie started off less likable to me, but as the story progressed, he showed the most character development. He is genuinely a lovely man who has been trapped by circumstances that are haunting. Augie’s son Otto is a terrific addition to the storyline, even though he has been exposed to so much he is a sweet happy little boy and I love the relationship he has with Lotti. 

After the Smoke Clears is a story that is emotionally loaded and will have a strong appeal for fans of psychological drama. 

The book cover is intriguing and well-designed with an eeriness feel. If I saw it on a bookshelf, it would pique my curiosity and encourage me to pick it up. 

This is a book that you deserve to experience for yourself. I highly recommend it.

Make sure you also check out One of Us by the same author.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading After the Smoke Clears by Kylie Kaden. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: After the Smoke Clears

  1. Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Pantera Press for my copy to read and review.
    A story of the past coming back to haunt the characters in this book, August and Lotti.
    They have just started to get to know each other when August is called back to his hometown to help his childhood friend.
    Secrets are unveiled and both are forced to face and deal with them.
    Great story that keeps you wanting to find out what will happen next.

    It does cover topics such as sex abuse, drug abuse and mental and terminal diseases. Everything had it place throughout the story to make it what it was.

    Kylie Kaden you have done it again.

  2. Congratulations Kylie Kade , “After The Smoke Clears” is without any hesitation, the BEST book I have had the pleasure of reading this year.

    Characters believable, story suspenseful! Extremely difficult to put this book down once you begin. I loved it from beginning to end!

  3. ‘After the smoke clears’ is the first of Kylie Karen’s books that I’ve read and what a brilliant read it was!
    Right from the start I was guessing what the mystery could be, what August could be involved in or have done in the past, as the story progressed it had me thinking over the different things it could be. The characters were written brilliantly, the plot had me turning the pages eagerly to see where the story went next, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Thanks Beauty and Lace and Pantera Press for the chance to read and review ‘When the smoke clears’

  4. Two different people from totally different backgrounds – also known as different side of the tracks. This sums up Lotti and August. Lotti the daughter of a prominent politician and August who had a troubled childhood in a small country town. They both have secrets and these are slowly unraveled with two different timelines that merge into present day.
    Childhood secrets, friendships and loyalty are entwined into present day love, heartache, sadness and an unexpected conclusion.
    A lovely read that will become a favourite for many.
    Thank you Beauty d Lace and Pantera Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  5. This is the first book of Kylie Kaden’s that I have read and I was not disappointed.
    August and Lotti come from different sides of the tracks but are getting along very well when Augie ups and leaves on a mystery journey leaving his son Otto with Lotti. When she doesn’t hear from him, she and Otto follow and run into a deep mystery from the past.
    It was enjoyable waiting for the truth to come out.
    Thank you for allowing me to read this book.

  6. 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, feelings 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 3.5 / 5

  7. I really enjoy Australian authors and their stories set in small country towns.
    The premise of the story is set around Augie, a mysterious phone call in the middle of the night, sees him rushing back to the small town he grew up in, where secrets, lies and gossip emerge.
    Set in dual timelines, which allow character narrative and stories to really develop. The story continues as a twisting psychological drama, and i enjoyed seeing how this story would resolve.
    I really enjoyed this book, and the authors writing style.

  8. This is the first book I’ve read by Kylie Kaden and I enjoyed it. The plot kept me intrigued and the characters were enjoyable to follow.
    I always like reading a book with an intertwined timelime and learning the characters’ back stories. I feel most people will enjoy this book too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *