Yes, It's A Romance Novel
Say the words "romance" and "novel" to a reader and immediate, long-standing stereotypes come to the forefront. Most of these stereotypes date back to the height in popularity of historical romantic sagas, featuring young damsels in distress with heaving bosoms and lusty Alpha heroes who may or may not have been pirates. Readers of today's romance genre know that it's come a long way baby, and Jill Sorenson's latest romantic thriller, Aftershock, illustrates this beautifully. This story may be packaged like a traditional romance novel, complete with beefcake cover, but it's really a genre-bending thrill ride - delivering everything from romance, to thrilling suspense, to a dystopian-end-of-the-world fantasy.
Lauren, the heroine of the story, is on the job as a San Diego paramedic. Stuck in freeway gridlock, she and her partner think it's going to be just another day on the job when all the sudden an 8.5 earthquake hits. The freeway overpass collapses, her partner is killed on impact, and Lauren finds herself trapped in a cavern of rubble. Trapped along with her are a grandfather (a Vietnam veteran) and his young granddaughter, a very pregnant teenage girl, three gravely wounded and unresponsive motorists, and the hero, Garrett - a former Marine who served in Iraq. As they search the rubble for survivors, supplies, and a means to communicate with the outside world, they also find themselves in increasing danger. Not just from the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, but also from some now suddenly freed prisoners. Turns out that there was a prison transport bus traveling the same gridlocked freeway.
Sorenson is a local author who routinely mines the southern California landscape for her stories. Coupled with the growing attraction between Lauren and Garrett, the characters have to band together to ensure survival. That means rationing what limited supplies they can scavenge from other vehicles, setting up a base camp, and trying to figure out a way to either communicate to rescue crews or find a way to free themselves from their confinement. On top of that, Lauren is the only survivor with any medical training, although as a paramedic she finds herself ill-equipped at providing long-term care to her seriously wounded patients. The freed, and desperate, convicts add another layer of danger to the story and provides further thrills.
Aftershock is an exciting read, and the first book in a trilogy. The author will also be appearing at Literary Orange, on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at the Irvine Marriott as part of the Love Between The Pages panel discussion. This is certainly a story that will give attendees plenty to talk about, and anxiously await the next book in the series, Freefall, which is slated for a late May 2013 release.