Today it is my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Guilty, the latest novel by Laura Elliot. My thanks to Kim Nash for inviting me to be a part of the tour. I’ll be sharing my review with you in just a moment but first, here is what the book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
It begins with a phone call. It ends with a missing child.
On a warm summer’s morning, thirteen-year-old school girl Constance Lawson is reported missing.
A few days later, Constance’s uncle, Karl Lawson, suddenly finds himself swept up in a media frenzy created by journalist Amanda Bowe implying that he is the prime suspect.
Six years later …
Karl’s life is in ruins. His marriage is over, his family destroyed. But the woman who took everything away from him is thriving. With a successful career, husband and a gorgeous baby boy, Amanda’s world is complete. Until the day she receives a phone call and in a heartbeat, she is plunged into every mother’s worst nightmare.
An utterly compelling psychological thriller that will keep you guessing to the very last page. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and Sarah A. Denzil’s Silent Child
Guilty by Laura Elliot is a perfect example of everything I loathe about journalism. I have absolutely no doubt there are journalists out there who act with integrity and who work to inform the public of matters of importance in a wholly professional way. And then there are the others, people like Amanda Bowe, who thrive upon sensationalism and the notoriety and opportunity that an attention grabbing headline can bring them, caring little for the impact upon the people they are speculating on as long as they have their scoop. We have all seen it, particularly in recent years.
For Amanda, Karl Lawson is that person. When his niece Constance disappears, Amanda is quick to exploit the ‘close relationship’ they had to turn it into something seedy. Something far from innocent. She steers clear of an outright accusation but says just enough for even Karl’s family to doubt him. Thanks to her, his life is left in ruins but unfortunately for Amanda, he is not the only one. When her life takes a very tragic turn some six years later, there are no end of suspects who could be responsible for her pain. But is Karl really one of them?
What I really enjoyed about this book was the way in which Laura Elliot explored the idea of how the media are able to so easily sway how others think. Karl was a seemingly everyday guy who really cared deeply for his family and had a strong bond with his young niece. When we first met him he seemed genuinely anguished by her disappearance. And yet appearances can be deceiving, and Laura Elliot did a great job of injecting just enough doubt to make you wonder just who was telling the truth; Amanda or Karl. It didn’t appear that Karl could have done it; he wasn’t that good an actor. But then it’s not unheard of for someone to feel so guilty about what they have done that they completely blank it from their memory. But then there were things in Karl’s past, secrets he had kept which all added to that sense of unease surrounding him. That and there was just no other explanation. Perhaps he was guilty after all.
The evidence was all circumstantial yes, but in a carefully spun article, with all the digging and continued insinuation, the trail of crumbs left for all to follow, Amanda had ensured that no matter what the truth Karl was already tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. I really despised her character. I can’t believe how much and I have to applaud the author for that as she made her so detestable that I couldn’t feel an ounce of pity for her and what came to pass. She was a woman so blinded by ambition and having a personal score to settle with Karl that she too had convicted him without proof. I’d go so far as to call her the ‘Queen of spin’ she was so efficient and economical with the ‘truth’. How does it go? ‘Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story…’ And as far as Amanda goes, Karl and Constance’s story is the greatest one of all.
The novel is broken into five parts, parts one and two dealing with the disappearance of Constance and the immediate aftermath, parts three to five dealing with the lives of those affected by the young girl’s disappearance, most notably Karl and Amanda. Their fortunes do a complete about face throughout and I loved to see the way their lives intersect and collide throughout. Who would have thought that the ending of one relationship, a bout of infidelity, could do so much damage?
This is not a fast paced novel, and if you are looking for all action and explosive tension then this isn’t the book for you. There is a slow building feeling of unease, and yes of tension, driven by the knowledge that nothing good can come of the course of Amanda’s investigation. It will tug at your heart strings and it will make you think. It may even make you think twice about reading that gossip column or sensational headline (please God let it make you realise the folly of reading The Sun and The Mail Online). What it most certainly will do is make you realise how quickly a secret kept and an accusation thrown can ruin a person’s whole life. It kind of made me wish the Plinks were real too but you’ll need to read the book for that to make sense.
Another brilliantly thought provoking read from one of my favourite authors. Loved it.
My thanks to publishers Bookouture and Netgalley for the advance copy of Guilty by Laura Elliot. It was released on 22nd June and is available from the following retailers.
About the Author
Laura Elliot is an Irish novelist and lives in the coastal town of Malahide, Co. Dublin. She loves travelling. The beautiful South Island of New Zealand was the inspiration for her setting in The Prodigal Sister. The Burren in County Clare became the mysterious setting for Stolen Child and the Broadmeadow Estuary behind her home provides the background for The Betrayal. She has worked as a journalist and magazine editor
For more details check https://www.lauraelliotauthor.com
Why not check out some of the other fab blogs taking part in the tour.