What Remains of Me by A L Gaylin reviewed

What Remains of Me Book Cover What Remains of Me
A L Gaylin
Random House UK, Cornerstone
01 December, 2016

People don't need to know you're a murderer.
They just have to think you could be...

June 1980: 17-year-old Kelly Lund is jailed for killing Hollywood film director, John McFadden

Thirty years later, Kelly is a free woman. Yet speculation still swirls over what really happened that night.

And when her father-in law, and close friend of McFadden is found dead - shot through the head at point-blank range - there can only be one suspect.

But this time Kelly has some high-profile friends who believe she's innocent of both crimes.

But is she?

In “What remains of Me” by A L Gaylin tells the story of Kelly both in the 1980s and in the present day. Set in Hollywood and using the setting and films as part of the theme I found it easy enough to read. In the 1980s Kelly was found guilty of murdering a Hollywood mogul although she never admitted directly to the crime. Now she is out of prison and married to someone whose father is also heavily involved in the film industry. When he is found dead at a time when Kelly may have been visiting him she is a prime suspect. The story moves between the different times as it gathers the threads involved in the overall story.

Initially this wasn’t quite the book I was expecting. There is none of the usual “proving myself innocent” which tends to be a theme in such stories. Indeed Kelly appears to accept what has happened. Are the secrets of the past in the Hollywood film industry linked to the murder in the 1980 and the one in the present time? Kelly had a sister, Catherine, who committed suicide – is this an influence on the events? And what part does Kelly’s best friend, Bellamy and the person who will be her sister-in-law, have to play?

The basic idea of this book really did appeal to me. Overall I found it quite readable and some aspects worked well for me. I did like Kelly as a character and enjoyed her relationships with various people, in particular her father and Rocky Three who were also intriguing characters. Other characters felt less developed maybe although Bellamy was quite strong in some ways. I did feel that the story was rather drawn out. However, much though I like twists, the end of the book just had increasingly unbelievable twists and turns in it and that didn’t work for me. Not a bad read but not as good as I thought it would be.

Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review