Book Review: Maya Banks’ After the Storm

Posted October 21, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Maya Banks’ After the Storm

After the Storm


Maya Banks

romantic suspense that was published by Berkley on January 7, 2014 and has 392 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Sweet Surrender, Colters' Woman, Sweet Persuasion, Sweet Seduction, In Bed with a Highlander, Darkest Hour, Seduction of a Highland Lass, Colters' Lady, No Place to Run, Hidden Away, Men Out of Uniform, Red-Hot Summer, Never Love a Highlander, Brazen, Sweet Temptation, Whispers in the Dark, "Colters' Wife", Colters' Promise, Echoes at Dawn, Undone By Her Tender Touch, Four Play, Cherished, The Tycoon's Pregnant Mistress, Never Seduce a Scot, Highlander Most Wanted, "Softly at Sunrise", Shades of Gray, Rush, Fever, Forged in Steele, Burn, Colters' Daughter, Colters' Gift, Be With Me, When Day Breaks, Taking It All, Keep Me Safe, Darkest Before Dawn, Enticed by His Forgotten Lover, Sweet Possession, Sweet Addiction

Eighth in the KGI romantic suspense series and revolving around the Kelly family, their undercover operations, and their friends. The couple focus is on Donovan Kelly and Evie.

My Take

This is another library-only book. Do not waste your money on this. I’d say don’t waste your time or brain cells on reading this either, but if you’ve been following the series — and are as OCD as I am! *grin* — you still have to read to know how Donovan gets hooked up with the love of his life. Just please, know that you may want to jump ahead in After the Storm. A lot.

I’m of two, possibly three(!), minds about After the Storm… I’ve read a few reviews that thought Banks took this in a different [read wrong] direction with its focus on rescuing a woman and her half-siblings in distress. Their objection was to Banks writing about women in an abusive family situation. That it was somehow different from previous stories, which I don’t get.

Sure, Banks focused on Van’s pet charity that helps in domestic abuse cases to give Van the “excuse” for being even more interested in Evie, Josh, and Cammie, and if anything, I appreciated the twist on how KGI got dumped into a conflict in this story. Life comes at us from all angles, and I don’t see why life at KGI would be any different. It may be more dramatic with bigger bad guys and more guns, ahem *and another grin*, but this change-up made it more interesting.

Where it fell apart was in two places: the melodrama — and y’all know how much I hate the overwrought histrionics! Thankfully the eye rolling didn’t give me a headache, just a queasy stomach. The second issue was the insta-family-love. Puh-lease. Rusty and Donovan barely get the trailer’s door open, and he’s in love??? Pull the other one. Couldn’t he just have been concerned, impressed, worried, feeling a tug at his heartstrings and not understanding it? Start to wonder why he feels this emotional towards this woman? But no, instead he starts to feel stalkerish himself as he insists that Evie and the kids are moving in with him. That he’s never letting them go. Banks reinforces this creepy vibe with how desperately Donovan wants to feel the love as his other siblings do. He wants their family. Eeyewww. I’d be on the run right there. As for Evie’s side of things, she sounded more as if she were veering off into “I’ll love him because he’s rescuing me”, and not the “oh, I’ve found my life mate kind of love”.

Throw in the stupid don’t-bother-to-ask or find-out-if-you-missed-something tropes…and it’s all down hill. Anndd, as lame as Eve’s conclusion is, I can’t fault one part of her decisionmaking, the kids are better off exactly where they are.

I do love Rusty’s actions and her desire to help. I also love that she’s careful of Travis’ pride. She’s a good kid. And, hoo boy, she isn’t shy about slinging it at Sean! It seems he has a lot to regret!

For as protective as Donovan is, I’m surprised he doesn’t pull the Hansons in under cover with the threat of that storm.

I want to yell at Evie to trust Donovan, but that’s only because I know him and his family. I totally get why she won’t, why she can’t, how terrified she is, and it pulls me in two.

I love how easily the Kellys pull Evie and the kids into the family. It’s so sweet and supportive.

Too cute! Garrett is buying Charlotte soldier dolls, and she’s already agitating to go to the firing range.

What would make Walt think Rusty had lied? It was a plausible story. Made sense. What doesn’t make sense is Walt’s conclusion. Why didn’t KGI have someone tailing Walt after he left? Wouldn’t that be part of the info-gathering process? If Sean really has found Rusty as soon as he did, wouldn’t he have called Donovan to let him know. It certainly sounds as if Walt already has Eve when he meets KGI, so Sean had plenty of time to contact Van.

Then you read the mudslinging and blame going on at Marlene and Frank Kelly’s place and later the reasoning Travis used to decide to light out for his sister, and ya gotta wonder why anyone would jump to his conclusion. I mean, WTF? How stupid is this whole story? Was Banks not paying attention to her timeline? If you heard someone say something negative about someone you loved, would you listen to only one paragraph? Or would you get very still, very quiet, and listen to get more information? I mean, c’mon…

There’s an odd bit at the end in which Banks notes that the sisters-in-law are taking more of a roll, er, I mean, role in administration of KGI. Then Banks says something about them “devoting many hours to helping other women”. I think it’s a reference to Donovan’s charity, but Banks doesn’t say.

The Story

It’s déjà vu for Rusty when she decides to hire Travis under the table. She recognizes all the signs and can’t help but want to help.

Only she doesn’t know she’s aiding a “mentally deranged kidnapper”! As for Donovan, he can’t help but draw comparisons between Sam and Sophie’s Charlotte and young Cammie…

The Characters

Eve and her half-brother and sister, the fifteen-year-old Travis and four-year-old Cammie Hanson, are on the run from their abusive father, Walt Breckenridge.

Donovan “Van” Kelly has a life outside KGI, it’s just not the hell raising, woman-chasing kind of life you might think, for he has cofounded a charity to help women getting out of abusive relationships.

Rusty Kelly is one of the “orphans” adopted into the Kelly family (see Darkest Hour, 1). In Rusty’s case, more formally than most *grin*. And she’s learned the value of a soft heart. Frank and Marlene Kelly are the parents with Frank working his hardware store. Sean Cameron is another of the Kelly “orphans”. A sheriff’s deputy, he keeps a close eye on the whole family and is always there for them. Seems he’s more than there for Rusty *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

The rest of the Kellys and KGI
Sarah and Garrett (see Hidden Away, 3); Sam and Sophie with their daughter, Charlotte (No Place to Run, 2); and, Rachel, a schoolteacher, and Ethan (see Darkest Hour, 1, and “Softly at Sunrise”, 6.5) with the twins, Mason and Ian.

The new team is led by the twins, Joe and Nathan Kelly (Nathan’s married to Shea; Whispers in the Dark, 4), with teammates Swanny, Skylar, and Zane, a.k.a., Edge, his MMA fighter nickname. Rio, another team leader, and Grace adopted thirteen-year-old Elizabeth after events in Echoes at Dawn, 5. Tough, badass team leader, Steele, softens up around his new baby, Olivia, and his wife, Doc Maren (see Forged in Steele, 7). Maren has taken over the retiring Dr. Campbell’s practice and is slowly coming back to work.

Adam Resnick had been a friend, now he’s merely a CIA contact (after events in Whispers in the Dark) who owes them one. Kyle Phillips, a Marine, is leading the federal team that invades the mental institution.

The Cover and Title

Ooh, pretty. Those blacks and grays on the cover give a nice sense of drama while the oranges and blues provide hope with that sunset. That and the jean-clad Donovan holding his gun, those taut, well-muscled arms with that gray, well-fitting T-shirt, well, he looks like he could protect anyone from anything.

The title is when Donovan’s and the Hansons’ lives all change After the Storm.