Friday, 23 September 2016
Book Review - What Remains of Me by A.L. Gaylin
People don't need to know you're a murderer.
They just have to think you could be...
What Remains of Me is a psychological suspense novel, the action shifts between events leading up to the conviction of teenager Kelly Lund for the murder of Hollywood director, John McFadden in 1980 and the aftermath of the murder of his closest friend, Sterling Marshall in 2014 when Kelly, five years out of prison and married to Marshall's son looks to be the main suspect again. Gradually secrets and lies are revealed until the truth about both murders is uncovered.
At first it seems as if both cases are cut and dried, convicted of the first murder and with strong evidence that she also committed the second, I wondered if What Remains of Me was going to be less of a whodunnit and more of a howshedunnit. Once it became apparent that there was much more to this story (or stories) I was hooked. The scenes set in 1980s Hollywood brought to mind a dark Brat Pack movie, bored rich teenagers befriend an outsider, skip school to take drugs and act up because their home life isn't as perfect as it would appear at first. The present day storyline is equally well written and it's a credit to the author that I cared about these characters and what happened to them, particularly the central protagonist Kelly who is somewhat of an enigma. Do we pity her or condemn her? Gaylin has constructed a narrative that is shocking, sympathetic and a believable exposé of celebrity culture and the industry that feeds off it. This is a book of layers and twists, it kept me guessing and managed to surprise me a few times as the truth about the families whose lives have become intertwined is gradually revealed. The premise of two connected mysterious separated by decades is superbly executed and this is a really enjoyable, "just one more chapter then I'll go to sleep" sort of book. I do enjoy stories with split narratives, especially when the contemporary and historical work harmoniously. What Remains of Me is one of those books and I highly recommend it.
Many thanks to the publishers, Arrow for my copy received through NetGalley in return for my honest review. What Remains of Me will be published in the UK on 1st December 2016 and can be downloaded to Kindles now.