WHAT REMAINS OF ME by Alison Gaylin


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Gaylin’s new stand-alone is a Hollywood story: beloved actor Sterling Marshall has been murdered, and his daughter-in-law is a prime suspect.

As a teenager in 1980, Kelly Lund was convicted of killing Oscar-nominated director John McFadden at a wild wrap party at his house in the Hollywood Hills. Poor kid Lund had been hanging out with McFadden’s son, Vee, and Bellamy Marshall, the daughter of another Hollywood big shot, actor Sterling Marshall—friendships her mother disapproved of since Kelly’s twin, Catherine, died in a plunge into a canyon that was  ruled a suicide after she started running with this fast crowd. Fast-forward 20 years: Kelly has served her time and married her former friend Bellamy’s younger brother, Shane, and they live in the desert outside LA. Their marriage is rocky since Shane is addicted to sleeping pills and Kelly is sleeping with their oddball neighbor, a sculptor who calls himself Rocky Three. Bellamy has made a name for herself as an artist with a piece based on Kelly called Mona Lisa, “which features a seven-foot-tall version of the iconic 1981 photograph taken of Lund outside the Los Angeles courthouse.” The book has some pacing problems in the middle, and Kelly's character is a cipher, but Gaylin is excellent at reproducing the TMZ–style blog posts and news articles that surround sensational crimes. Also strong are the flashbacks in which former misfit Kelly starts hanging out with cool kids Vee and Bellamy, learning how to do drugs and cruising around in their fancy cars with a perfect 1980s soundtrack.

A rich read.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-236985-7
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2015


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