This review is written with thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for my copy of Guilty.
Constance Lawson is thirteen years old. After an argument with her parents, she disappears and is reported missing. The media, in particular journalist, Amanda Bowe, believe Karl is the culprit and start a campaign against him. The campaign destroys Karl's life. Six years later, he has become estranged from his wife and daughter and is a homeless alcoholic. This is a world away from Amanda's life, a minor celebrity with a media mogul husband and a young son. But one day, Amanda faces a nightmare no mother should ever have to face.
In the beginning, Guilty is atmospheric and full of tension, and I wanted the police to discover what had happened. This, in part, kept me reading as the plot gathered pace. However, I found elements of this difficult, as Elliot starts Guilty with a prologue, which explains what happened to Constance. As a result, some of the tension, which Eliot works so hard to build, is diffused. This causes the novel to drag slightly towards the middle. I was also disappointed that Constance's story is largely forgotten in the second half of the novel, as I felt this element of the story had lots of potential that was not fully explored.
One of the central themes in Guilty is family, in particularly how fragile they can be and how secrets can destroy them. In view of this, I had high hopes for the novel, as the family dynamic is something to which I, and I suspect, several other readers, are able to relate. However, I found myself feeling ambivalent towards most of the characters: I couldn't hate them, but there was nothing about them that made me root for them or feel sympathy for them, and this left me feeling slightly disappointed.
Overall, although there were parts of Guilty that I enjoyed, I felt that some issues were not explored in as much depth as I would have liked, and as such, I finish the novel feeling underwhelmed.
Guilty is available from Amazon.