Guilt

Written by Amanda Robson

Review written by Carole Tyrell

Carole Tyrrell worked in the theatre for nearly 10 years and was always fascinating by the way death and the supernatural formed many of the greatest and most enduring works. She has read crime fiction for many years and enjoys the broad range of the genre.


Guilt
Avon
RRP: £7.99
Released: April 19 2018
PBK

This is the tale of a toxic human triangle that ends in a bloody murder.  It begins with Miranda Cunningham looking down at the body of her twin sister, Zara, lying in her own blood on Miranda’s kitchen floor.  Miranda claims that the stabbing was in self-defence (she has a neck wound inflicted by Zara as possible proof). 

Still in shock, Miranda is arrested and charged with murder. The question is “what led up to it, and what could make twins turn on each other with such violent and catastrophic results?”  In flashback it’s revealed that this horrific turn of events could be the climax of the complicated, entwined relationships between the twins and Zara’s manipulative boyfriend Sebastian [aka Seb].

The narrative switches between flashback on the events that led up to Zara’s murder, and the present day.  The flashbacks are told through the first person narratives of Miranda, Seb and Zara, which are disappointingly more ‘telling’, than the ‘showing’ to the reader; but this is a minor reviewer’s quibble.

The relationship between Zara and Miranda is solidly portrayed especially as the little undercurrents that had always existed between them (although unacknowledged), began to come to the fore as Seb begins to play them off against each other.   Miranda feels envy towards Zara and her life, whereas Zara envies Miranda for being a high achiever with a well-paid job as an accountant and her own flat. The twins were fraternal and as different as chalk and cheese in terms of both ambitions, and appearance.   There isn’t much of a description of Miranda except for her self-critical, and self-deprecating comment that she is tall, thin and flat-chested. Miranda (the first born) has always been expected to look after Zara who has drifted through life but has now found her calling in life, via a wildlife photography course at university,

As for Sebastian’s motives?  He clearly wanted to split the twins up but did he want to go so far as murder?  He seemed to be narcissistic, a callous man who was living a male fantasy of having two women vying for his attentions. The relationship between twins can sometimes be fraught as each struggles to achieve their own identity despite always being part of a unit – and the author explores this robustly.

Zara falls hopelessly in love with Seb but he’s playing a dangerous game with both of them. Zara has a history of depression and self-harming. When Seb suggests that they self-harm together, alarm bells should begin to ring for Zara.   

When Seb moves in (not just into the Miranda’s flat but also into her territory at her workplace), the games and skirmishes between them begin in earnest.  Miranda’s attempts to retaliate only play into his hands and gives him more ammunition to upset Zara. 

Readers will enjoy the depiction of the twins’ relationship to each other as it is written with flourish (and is what Seb was able to exploit readily as he striated himself into their lives).  

This is a sold page-turner of a novel, and would make a superb holiday read, as you get drawn deeply into this tale of family, of strangers and of the dark side of human relationships - without the requirement to pack a book-mark.




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