When Casey Fielder, manager of the local O’Ruddy’s restaurant, allows a fight between the privileged St. Brendan’s kids and those from the public high school to escalate, his inaction puts him at risk of being charged with negligence. As a result of the fight, Colin Chase has suffered brain damage. Shawver alternates between Casey and Colin’s mother Lea as they both investigate the circumstances behind the fight. Casey has been fired and in exploring the reasons for the fight hopes to find absolution for his inaction. Lea, on the other hand, searches her son’s past out of the guilt she feels for the type of person he was becoming and assumes a great deal of guilt for his past actions.
Aftermath is not a happy read, but it is a powerful exploration of guilt, grief, class differences, and how they all intertwine with our legal system. This book would be a good choice for book discussion groups.