Book Reviews

How Do You Plead?: Guilty by Laura Elliot @bookouture @Elliot_Laura #BlogTour

Today, it is Compelling Reads and my turn to announce our plea to the judge and jury!

cover.jpgTitle: Guilty
Author: Laura Elliot
Publisher: Bookouture
Date of publication: June 22rd 2017
Format: Digital Review Copy
Source: NetGalley
Number of pages: 348
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.


I am starting to like diving into books completely blind. Not reading blurbs helps to keep an open mind on the story you start. It’s not always possible, but here I jumped on the offer to take part in the blog tour at the last minute, and I do not regret this decision!

Of course, when I took a look at Guilty’s cover, I was hooked. The colors, the balloon, the chimneys. A homey feeling contrasting with the taglines. A comforting and normal view threatened by chilling and ominous words. My favorite kind of covers.

I had a pretty good idea where this book was going to take me from the beginning. Relying on the events that were unfolding in front of me, I assumed it would follow a linear path up until the end except… This book has no straight path! This story is a giant hole into hell, with a dark and greasy ladder with pitfalls and spiders. Get ready for the bites!

I immediately felt for Karl. The Guilty label is so easy to get. One gesture, one misinterpreted word, one tricky situation, and the world around you turns grey. All it takes is a hint from someone. Sometimes it’s innocent, sometimes it’s not. The aftermath is always a disaster.

What starts as a missing child case turns into a reenacting of Salem’s trials as Karl goes from the caring uncle to the prime suspect in his niece’s disappearance thanks to a clever and frightening manipulation of the media. We have seen it happen. People see what they want to see, and it’s in our nature to look for someone to hold responsible. I have always thought it made things more bearable to point the finger and unleash the anger on a name, a face, whenever something terrible happens. Everything happened so fast that all I could do was shake my head and watch the tailspin engulf Karl. I was shocked by the little amount of time and information it took for his life to crumble, for his family to react. It was painful, it was unfair, it raised my blood pressure and shattered a little more my already broken hope for a fair world. Communities need a scapegoat to explain the worst. The doors closing one after the other were so real I felt I was the one left in the cold with no chance of coming back.

Did fear have a smell that caught at the back of the throat and make it hard to breathe?

Suddenly I was taken years later, on the other side of the road. Amanda, a sweet name and the cunning weapon that used a family’s pain and destroyed lives with her articles and innuendos, is living the life. The chapters from her perspective never ever made me warm to her, no matter how many times the brilliantly raw writing tried to give me a different perspective. I had nothing but contempt for such a character, and I am not ashamed to admit that the second part of the book was very satisfying for me. Seeing Amanda’s world turn to a nightmare, with her past coming to bite her in the arse, from different angle, was a delight. I sound like a monster right now, but I do believe in karma and in getting what you deserve in the end. Those crime books are turning me into a dark person!!!

This part of the book was fiendishly well-plotted and weaved, and my confusion at the change of point of view soon became a gritty need to see a woman thrown down her pedestal. Isn’t this why we buy tabloids and watch reality shows, or even the news? To see people vulnerable and pushed to their limits? We are guilty, too.

Blood was easily wiped away, especially when it was fresh, but guilt had proved impossible to eradicate.

Amanda is not a one-dimensional character and she makes for an interesting protagonist to follow, but like the crowd holding torches, I only wanted her to pay for what she had done.

The thing is we are all guilty in different ways. Guilty to be gullible, guilty with blood in our hands, guilty to use words as guns to kill the deer, guilty of lying, guilty of eating that second serving of pie, guilty of feeling, guilty of closing the door… The list could go on and on. I loved how the author used the notion of guilt and how it surrounds us, how no one is as white as an angel and how life has a way of teaching you a lesson. Even if it’s your choice to learn it or not.

This story works as a mirror, the disappearance of the young Constance putting you in the middle of the action from the start, before letting you get a bit of a relief from the tension as years go by, as you wonder why things take a good turn for some and leave the worst to others, wondering about the reasons why, just to be thrown into another, oh so similar scenario, and this gut-wrenching feeling of losing it all. The distress, the pain, the questions, they all come back to haunt Amanda, and despite my contempt for her, I just had to know what happened, I wanted justice, I wanted blood, I was guilty of being high hooked on this dark and unbearable suspense.

I am guilty of having had my head turned upside down with this brilliant and entertaining story that resonates in all of us every time a terrifying headline makes it to the news. I am guilty of having loved being faced with human nature when the beauty is gone thanks to a cold, gripping, and realistic portrayal of our society and one of its biggest flaw.

I would like to thank Bookouture for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and for letting me be a part of this blog tour.

You can find Guilty on Amazon UK and Amazon US !


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

Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour for more information about the book!



38 thoughts on “How Do You Plead?: Guilty by Laura Elliot @bookouture @Elliot_Laura #BlogTour”

  1. I really like the sound of this one. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in such a position with the media. I can just imagine the harassment and ruined reputation. Really curious about this book so will definitely add it to my TBR. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do the ‘no blurb’ 99% of the time 😂 Great review, love the sound of this book. I have always said the media should not be allowed to report on crimes until after the trial as we are so swayed by what the media puts in front of us. I could waffle on about this subject for hours lol. Another book to add to the list!


    1. OMG really?? Wow, I’m impressed, haha! I don’t think I could!! I couldn’t agree more, media are limitless and cruel when something happens and I don’t think it’s that important to have the exclusivity or show your audience everything all the time, making assumptions, creating fusses over stories that break families. This book is very good at frightening you about this!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review Meggy 😛 I read your post the other day but on mobile so I couldn’t comment, Im glad you’re now showing another layer ❤ So proud of you

    So about this one, I do have it on the TBR but I will read it in the future, I just dont have the time now 😦


  4. Sounds like quite a read. I like how you begin to talk about ‘Amanda’ as a “sweet name”. Then the real fictional character of her comes out. Karma is a good thing in books, where the characters you don’t like get their come uppance but the ones you root for usually come out ok.
    It’s not often I don’t read the blurb for books, only when it’s an Author I already love. But as you said in 1 of your above comments, if you know it’s a good publisher then you are halfway there.
    Great review, though it was a little strange reading about a dislikeable character with my name. 😉
    Amanda. ( a nicer one than the fictional one). xx


    1. The truth is, I thought about you the first time the name Amanda appeared, and then I erased it because this Amanda is nothing like you, haha! I do feel Amanda is a sweet and delicate name, but the personality of the one in this story ruined it! Thankfully, you’re here to prove Amandas are great women 🙂
      This book was very intense and full of revenge, it was quite a ride! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That is exactly what I do! I try to go in as blind as possible. I’ll “scan” the synopsis and some reviews and that’s it. I love not knowing how the story will unfold.
    Yup! Lots to loves about this cover 😊


  6. Haha I always love your headers! Brilliant review; I’m so glad you enjoyed this one that much! The slower pace wasn’t for me and I couldn’t connect to the characters like you, but it makes me happy my feelings were just an exception to the rule. ❤


  7. Great review for this book Meggy. There is nothing more I love than jumping into a book completely blind. It’s why I tend to avoid reviews for my most anticipated releases in the run up to their release.
    This sounds like a really interesting book as well. I can’t imagine being in Karl’s position and how his life is turned around completely by the media’s portrayal of him. Kind of makes me wonder what the other side to the stories I read in the paper are.


    1. Thank you Beth! I am guilty of having too many books in my Kindle and I forget their blurbs so I try to go blind, the same goes for paperbacks from Orenda, but otherwise I’m still too scared to go blind on every book, haha!
      It really shows the bad side of the media and how they can turn and interpret things to make their audiaence believe in things that are not, just for the sake of ratings and numbers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right! 😀 Actually now you’ve said that I end up doing the same thing with mu Kindle, I know roughly what all the books are about but I don’t know a lot so I guess you could say I go into all the books I read somewhat blind. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Fantastic review..! I like how you made me think of all the things I’m guilty of. right or wrong! 😁 I think I’ve only read good things about the book and I’m glad to see you validate this opinion!


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