Bublish, Inc

Publication Date:

Copyright Date:




Get the best author info and savings on services when you subscribe!

IndieReader is the ultimate resource for indie authors! We have years of great content and how-tos, services geared for self-published authors that help you promote your work, and much more. Subscribe today, and you’ll always be ahead of the curve.


By Kat Edwards

IR Rating:
In WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS, a raw and atmospheric novel, Kat Edwards examines the layers of grief and generational trauma with a touch so deft it’s almost restorative. 
IR Approved
Family secrets threaten to upset the precarious balance of Talia Brighton’s life as she struggles to process the tragic death of her husband.

Natalia (Talia) Brighton nee Altman is not doing well. It’s been nearly two years since her husband, Russ, died fighting wildfires—leaving her alone to care for her young daughter, Riley. Plagued by night terrors and occasional (but dangerous) bouts of sleepwalking, Talia is terrified of putting her five-year-old in danger. Worse still, professional help appears to only bring back memories of her tragic childhood. The sessions dredge up flashbacks of her early years at an orphanage with her sister, Naomi, before they were taken to be raised by their cruel Aunt Miriam. A mysterious call from her birthplace in Australia accelerates her forays into the past, and while the secrets that have been kept from her all her life might finally come to light, she’s not sure that she is ready to face them.

In WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS, author Kat Edwards tackles the themes of death, personal loss, grief, abuse, and PTSD with a sensitive and practiced hand. Her confident handling translates into an evenly-paced narrative that does not need jump scares or graphic details to have an impact. The writer packs a great deal of description into the fewest possible sentences and teases key information well enough to stoke interest, as each new revelation throws up more questions than it answers. In addition, the jumps between timelines and countries are distinct and easy to follow. It feels as though the reader is helping the author unpack a box of family memorabilia, slowly removing the wrapping from each beloved item and listening to the different characters form their separate conclusions from what’s revealed.

This book aims to be the first of a series exploring the lives of the Altman women, and the possible premise of the next novel is set up well in the concluding chapters. It is a little frustrating, however, to reach the final pages with some of the more burning questions still unanswered.

In WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS, a raw and atmospheric novel, Kat Edwards examines the layers of grief and generational trauma with a touch so deft it’s almost restorative.

~Sakina Hassan for IndieReader

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that IndieReader may make a commission if you use these links to make a purchase. As an Amazon Affiliate, IndieReader may make commission on qualifying purchase.