“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?
I am absolutely delighted to be closing the fantastic What Remains of Me blog tour today and it’s publication day too! A very happy book birthday to A.L. Gaylin and the folk at Arrow Publishing. I have something very special to share with you to mark the occasion; a character profile of the main protagonist, Kelly Lund. I don’t think I’ve hosted a character profile before and this one is going to be hard to top as I absolutely adored Kelly! Over to A.L. Gaylin…
Character Profile; Kelly Lund
Kelly Michelle Lund
Age: 17 and 47
High school student; “Creative Consultant,” Sarabelle.com
Shown in 1980 and 2010, Kelly Lund is the daughter of Rose and Jimmy Lund and the twin sister of the late Catherine Lund, who died at 15 of an apparent suicide. The defining event of her life is the 1980 murder of Hollywood director John McFadden, of which she is ultimately convicted, spending 25 years in prison for the crime.
Kelly Lund in 1980:
Still mourning the untimely death of her glamorous fraternal twin, whose broken body was found at the bottom of a canyon two years earlier, Kelly is a lonely high school outcast at 17. She lives in Hollywood with her divorced mother, Rose, a former B-movie makeup artist who now works behind the cosmetics counter at I Magnin — and who desperately tries to keep Kelly away from the fast crowd of movie star children her doomed twin used to spend time with. Rose’s worst nightmares come true when Bellamy Marshall – daughter of movie legend Sterling Marshall – befriends Kelly, introducing her to John McFadden’s son, teen actor Vincent “Vee” Vales, as well as a world of glamour, drugs and danger.
Over the next few months, Kelly becomes immersed in this new world, while discovering the many dark secrets that lurk beneath its glittering surface. After a falling out with Rose, Kelly goes to live with her father, Jimmy, an injured stuntman who is addicted to alcohol and painkillers. The many things Kelly learns during this time, and the changes she goes through because of them, result in the death of McFadden.
After she is convicted of the crime, Kelly makes the mistake of smiling, ever-so-slightly, outside the courtroom. Captured on film, the chilling expression is dubbed the Mona Lisa Death Smile in the press, and Kelly becomes a near-mythic villain, covered as a dead-eyed teen killer with a chilling smile.
Kelly Lund in 2010:
Five years after her release from prison, Kelly is living in the wilds of Joshua Tree desert with her husband, Shane Marshall. Shane is Bellamy’s younger brother. He was only 10 years old when John McFadden was murdered, but was the only member of his family to correspond with Kelly while she was in prison. They had a prison wedding, which was covered in the press. Shane is a photographer and Hollywood photo archivist, while Kelly writes fake profiles for a hook-up website for would-be adulterers. She maintains a close, secret relationship with a local eccentric – a chainsaw artist who goes by the name of Rocky Three.
Estranged from Bellamy, who has made a career as an artist based on a shockingly negative depiction of herself, Kelly witnesses yet another sea-change in her life when Sterling Marshall is killed, in a similar way to his dear friend John McFadden. A suspect once again, cryptic, closed-off Kelly is now forced to unravel the mystery of both murders as she learns the truth behind her relationships, myriad family secrets – and herself.
There was something about this book that really got under my skin. I was completely smitten with it; the flashbacks to 1980s Hollywood, experiencing the underbelly of the glitz and glamour, the manipulation and the deceit. Which was all centred around hapless Kelly Lund, now one of my all time favourite fictional characters.
I love the idea of the good girl turned evil, but does Kelly Lund fall into that category? I think that’s exactly why she’s so appealing to me. You just don’t know! From the early chapters you start to ask yourself, did she do it? There is definitely something ‘not quite right’ about her, but murder? I spent the entire novel chopping and changing my opinion; yes she did, no she didn’t. What a rollercoaster of a read!
I found Kelly’s friendship with Bellamy an uncomfortable read at times. Kelly’s neediness was quite intense but I guess that’s the way many teenage girls are with their friends (maybe it reminded me of my own BFF when I was 17 and that’s what made me uncomfortable!). Their relationship was very defined with Bellamy as the confident, self-assured leader and Kelly the follower, the wannabe. Living in the shadow of her deceased, more glamorous twin sister.
Would I recommend this book? I most certainly would. I read this book in 24 hours which, for me, is very fast. I was completely gripped and entranced by Kelly’s story and the detective within me became obsessed with figuring out whether Kelly committed one murder, two murders or none at all! With great twists and turns along the way, a clever crime novel which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Four and a half stars out of five.
I chose to read and review an ARC of What Remains of Me.
What Remains of Me by A.L. Gaylin is published in the UK by Arrow Publishing on 1st December 2016 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Goodreads | Arrow Publishing (Penguin Random House) |
Alison Gaylin’s first job was as a reporter for a celebrity tabloid, which sparked a lifelong interest in writing about people committing despicable acts. More than a decade later, she wrote and published her Edgar-nominated first novel, HIDE YOUR EYES.
She’s since published eight more books, including the USA Today and international bestselling Brenna Spector suspense series, which has been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony and Thriller awards and won the Shamus award.
She lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter, cat and dog.