New Book – Guilty by Laura Elliot (Pages 1 – 38)


Publishing year: 2017

The cover of the book tells us that it is a gripping psychological thriller, and I have to agree. I have only read 38 pages, but I am already hooked.

The prologue shows us Constance Lawson, who we later learn is thirteen years old and living in a village near Dublin. It is the middle of the night, and Constance grabs a mobile hidden in a shoe, some paint aerosols and sneak out of her house. Her intention is to carry out some challenge to prove she is no coward. She keeps mentioning “The Fearless”, and we learn later that it is a secret society that she belongs to and whose members have to carry out some dares. In this case Constance has to paint something on the walls of the basement of an abandoned house which is rumoured to be haunted, and then she has to video the result. That is what Constance does, and as she leaves, she feels proud. But then the last sentence mentions that this is the last thought in her young life. Does this mean that someone kills Constance?

The first chapter starts with Justin Lawson, Constance’s father, calling his brother Karl, who has always had a close relationship with Constance. Justin is married to Jenna, and they have three children, Constance, Lara, and Mathew. Karl is two years younger than his brother and is married to Nicole, and they have a little girl, Sasha. That morning Justin calls his brother, asking him if Constance is there with him. Apparently, Constance and her parents had a row the previous night because they didn’t want her to go to the rock concert Karl had got free tickets for. This morning Constance wasn’t in her bedroom when Jenna went to wake her up. Karl tells his brother that Constance isn’t there. They agree to go and look for her around, but Constance isn’t anywhere.

Karl finally makes a confession to his brother. Recently Constance called him, sobbing and asking him to collect her from Ben’s Shack, a disreputable spot where teenagers go to get drunk and have drugs. Karl went to pick his niece up and found her in a terrible state. Then the girl told him that she belonged to “The Fearless” and they had to do dares like getting drunk, gatecrash some party… Karl didn’t like the sound of it, and Constance promised she would leave this group, but she begged him not to tell her parents, and Karl never said a word. As Karl tells his son about the Fearless, Justin gets upset and angry that his brother wouldn’t tell him something so important. Jenna also is also annoyed and even his wife Nicole. Karl already feels terrible because if he had said anything, maybe Constance would still be with them.

Justin and Karl go to the police and tell them everything. Constance’s mobile, who she left at home, is searched and also her laptop, but so far nothing has been found. They need to talk to everybody in the family and also her friends. The press is also harassing them, and even though Karl tells a journalist that they have nothing to say, the following day Justin shows him an article in which apparently Karl made a statement about he particulars of Constance’s disappearance. Karl swears to his brother that he never said a word, and even though Justin says he believes, he knows that nobody but his brother was accosted by the press.

What has happened to Constance? Is she dead or has someone kidnapped her? Who could do this to her? And what about this society, the Fearless? Are they linked to Constance’s disappearance? And who are they? Karl mentions that Constance said that they were all older than her, so how come Constance knows them? How did she come to belong to this secret society?


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