Title: Guilty
Author: Laura Elliot
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Bookouture
Source: eARC via NetGalley
Length: 392 pages
Available: 20 June 2017

“Karl was conscious of this dulling as he began to speak, a thumbprint smudging his future, but he was unaware that the familiar whorls and lines of his life would never be the same again.”
— loc. 239

guiltyWhen Dublin-native Constance Lawson goes missing, there are no obvious suspects. Until Capital Eye reporter Amanda Bowes starts shifting the media’s focus on Constance’s uncle, Karl. Karl and Constance, or Connie as Amanda calls her in the newspapers, are close: he’s the “controversial” editor of a music magazine and is always getting Constance and her friends tickets/meet-and-greet passes to their favorite concerts. Karl is also the person Constance turns to when she’s in trouble, or when she believes her parents are being too strict. Suddenly, an uncle’s innocent relationship with his niece turns into something more sinister at the hands of Amanda, turning everyone—from the police to Karl’s family—against him.

When Constance’s body is found, and Karl is arrested, it’s the nail in the coffin for Karl’s public image. Karl’s wife leaves him, taking their daughter with her back to the States. Even after the truth comes out, and Karl is released from prison, he has nothing left for him: not his job, his family, or his friends. Karl is left homeless and prospectless in a downward spiral.

“Now, freed from fear, he embraced chaos and found it comforting.”
loc. 2823

Amanda’s life after following the Constance Lawson murder is the opposite. While she has to leave her job on the crime beat, she impresses Karl’s old boss, a media mogul, enough that she lands her own television talk show. Not only that, she marries the mogul and has a son. But when Amanda’s son goes missing, history starts to repeat itself.

“Soon, the waves will wash away her footprints but it is not enough, not nearly enough. There is a rip tide gathering and it’s going to pull her under.”
— loc. 4327

In Guilty, Laura Elliot weaves a twisted tale that will appeal to fans of Gone Girl. Although the fire of this book slows down in the middle, what Elliot has really created is a surprising story on the power of the media and their ability to shape the narrative of a story. Guilty is a cautionary tale and critique of the media, as much as it a revenge story.

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