The After Party by A. C. Arthur

The After Party by A. C. Arthur
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Three women form an unbreakable bond in a sexy, suspenseful, and adventurous novel about empowerment and sisterhood through thick and thin.

Venus McGee, Draya Carter, and Jackie Benson are coworkers with a lot in common. They’re smart, independent, driven, and deserving of recognition—certainly more than they’ve been handed by a demoralizing boss. He’s the topic of conversation at their impromptu get-together after the company holiday party, where the threesome fantasizes about a life without him. There has to be an alternative to taking a deep breath and sucking it up. There is. It’s just not the one they expected.

When morning comes, Venus, Draya, and Jackie are blindsided by murder—a twist of fate that brings a startling new challenge to the table and forces them to navigate a hair-raising detour they never saw coming. For better and (unless they can help it) for worse, it’s going to turn their world upside down. What starts as a necessary bond of mutual trust soon morphs into an empowering and galvanizing friendship that Venus, Draya, and Jackie need now more than ever.

It’s said that a harrowing experience can bring people closer. That’s exactly what happens to three co-workers – Venus, Draya, and Jackie – on the night of their company Christmas party. None of them expected what was to come in the morning, but when they’re all implicated in a murder, they decide to band together instead of leaving each woman to herself. Will they be able to find the real killer before one of them goes to jail?

Although coming from very different backgrounds, the three women share a lot of common qualities. They’re hard workers, smart, driven, and loyal to a fault. These things, as well as a mutual dislike of their boss, Rufus, are what bond the women together initially, but as the investigation progresses, they find love and support from each other as well as from surprising sources.

Of the three, Jackie was my favorite. I wanted to take her home and feed her and let her know that she had a safe place to hang out. She also felt to me like the best developed character, although the other two were complete, too. Venus was relatable to me in the way that she felt she always had to act in a way that wouldn’t harm her father’s political careers. Although neither of my parents were ever politicians, I do understand the whole ‘don’t embarrass me’ environment that she grew up in, and felt she had to adhere to as an adult. Draya was the one I had the hardest time relating to; however, I loved her spirit. There wasn’t anything that was going to stop her from getting whatever she wanted, and I can admire that.

At times, the murder mystery took a back seat to the budding friendship between the women, which was okay with me. As much as I love a good mystery, these three were a riot when they were together. The author does a good job of dropping little breadcrumbs here and there about the murder. Watching the girls make the connections, find the information, and figure out the truth was well worth the wait. I would even enjoy a follow up book about the three and where they are a year or two after all this ended, simply because they were so much fun to be around.

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