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Guilt By Association [Paperback]

Susan Sloan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 16 1995
Date rape didn't exist in 1962. But thirty years after Karen Kern's life fell apart on a cold New York night, her nemesis returns, hogging the limelight on prime-time TV. Bob, the ex-Harvard man with the fatal charm, is now Senator Robert Drayton Willmont riding high in the polls and running for President. But this is no longer 1962, and times have changed...GUILT BY ASSOCIATION is a searing novel or remarkably sustained pace and power. Brilliantly combining elements of political thriller, courtroom drama and heart-rending emotional narrative, it presents an unforgettable and throught-provoking indictment of sexual responsibility in a world where justice is often just another victim.

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From Publishers Weekly

Anticipation of the inevitable provides the compelling hook in Sloan's solidly crafted debut, as readers wait for date-rape victim Karen Kern to turn the tables on her attacker. In 1962, the attractive collegian is brutally assaulted in N.Y.C.'s Central Park by a Harvard Law student she has just met at a Christmas party. Subsequently spurned by her fiance-and in a sense by police and her parents, who assume she provoked the assault-Karen slowly carves a professional niche for herself but shuns any romantic attachments. Sloan juxtaposes Karen's uneasy maturation during the ensuing 30 years with the professional triumphs and behind-the-scenes shenanigans of California political aspirant Robert Willmont, Karen's erstwhile rapist. Both story lines occasionally become weighted down by domestic melodrama, though Sloan's array of colorful and credible supporting characters-and her keen observations of the passing decades-generally overcome any hurdles. And, when her protagonists finally reconnect, any shortcomings are forgiven, as the book's final third rushes headlong towards a taut and thoroughly satisfying finale. 75,000 first printing; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Just when it was beginning to look impossible, former lawyer Sloan pumps some life into the crowded field of legal thrillers. Not that this is a literary masterpiece: The first-time novelist has an annoying habit of detailing the background of even the most minor characters. But Sloan delivers a satisfyingly tricky plot in a narrative brisk enough to keep readers engaged all the way to the deliberately delayed triumphant courtroom scene. The novel opens in 1962, when Karen Kern has the misfortune to be acquaintance-raped (before the term has even been coined) by a wealthy, good-looking Harvard law student. Kern's uptight mother convinces her to fudge the facts and claim to have been in an automobile accident. She goes against her mother's wishes only once, when she tells her beloved fianc‚; he backs away, and Kern clams up for good. She drops out of college, moves to Manhattan's Greenwich Village, and manages to make it through the '60s without having sex, even though she hangs around with the artistic residents of a communal apartment. Her rapist (a crudely drawn, heartless SOB) is living in San Francisco and entering politics. In the late '70s, Kern and her friends open an uptown shop selling art and accessories; she befriends a photographer who eventually spies some of her secret, sappy poetry (``The death of a dream/is surrounded by pain'') and invites her to collaborate on a book. Several successful projects and one platonic marriage later, Kern is living in San Francisco; her attacker is running for president. The ending, while clever, will have those of all political beliefs cringing for different reasons, Sloan often gets the proportions wrong in her blend of not-so- subtle social commentary and suspense, but there's no denying this novel's lowest-common-denominator appeal: It reads like a house afire. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Susan R. Sloan has written a gripping psychological suspense thriller with "Guilt By Association." Once I began this novel, I found it almost impossible to put it down. Her journalistic writing and realistic characters give the illusion, at times, that this is a nonfiction account of a terrible crime and the aftermath.
Karen Kern, a lovely coed with a bright future, attends a friend's holiday party one evening in December, 1962. Later that evening another party guest offers to walk her home. Unable to get a taxi, she accepts the offer. Bob, a wealthy Harvard student from a good family, was properly introduced to her and her friends knew him. She felt comfortable accepting his company on the long walk across Central Park. Bob brutally rapes and beats Karen in the park, abandoning her in the frigid winter air where she is found unconscious the following morning. Karen almost died that night. Since there are no witnesses to the crime, the police convince her family that they could never win the case if they press charges. The young man's family is influential. He is a good student at a top school and has no prior history of violence. Karen's parent's are too ashamed to pursue justice and tell their friends that Karen was the victim of a hit and run accident. It takes her over a year, and many surgeries, to recover - although she is left with a limp, no spleen, a badly damaged psyche and no self confidence. She will never have the children she has always longed for. Her life is ruined. She does not return to school. Her fiance, whom she finally tells the truth to, is unable to deal with the horrific situation and leaves her. Karen is brutalized once again by social and legal biases.
Ms. Sloan writes two parallel storylines.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Unforgetable Book!!! Sept. 28 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Most Unforgettable Book!!!
When I rented this book from the library I expected nothing of it.But boy was I wrong.This is one of the most amazing books Ive ever read and is definitely my all time favourite book. I had to purchase it for my collection. Susan R Sloan deals with the topic of rape with such sensitivity .Also the book is not written in your typical best seller style.Being from India you can totally identify with the kind of society potrayed in the 60s cos that's how the society in India is now.The way Karen s family blames her and ostracizes her for bringing shame to the family is how a lot of people would react.
Anyway the book is not only about her suffering but its also one of the best revenge thrillers .The ending is really gonna shock you.This is one book which all my college pals and even our mothers swear by it.Once you ve purchased this book you ll keep on passing it on cos you want to the whole world to read itI also recommend An Isolated Incident by the same author.The best thing about Susan R Sloan books are that you can read them again and again and they get better each time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Too easy to figure out! April 22 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's due to the raving reviews of the other readers that I bought and read, actually devoured "Guilt by Association", and without any doubt this book is a page-turner and thoroughly enjoyable. I am going to read Sloan's "An Isolated Incident" too, even though I'm already prepared by several reviews that the ending is a far cry from the quality that the story provides and disappointing. But I want to find that out on my own! Until page 375 of "Guilt by Association" I was convinced that I'd rate this book a 10 but the moment I learned what had happened to the once raped woman and the story's main character in Golden Gate Park I knew exactly what this new turn was leading to and I was proven right. After getting to know Karen so well while reading about the story of her messed-up life I immediately sensed that something was very wrong with what I continued to read (I hope I don't give away too much!). But nevertheless, even with this nagging feeling in the back of my mind I enjoyed Sloan's book, her writing style, her characters and the whole storyline a lot. If you read this book you are in for a treat!
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
After reading the amazon reviews and being one who enjoys suspenseful novels, I bought the book.I should have bought lottery tickets. I've read 200 pages and don't think I can finish it. Was the author's brain soaking in syrup while writing this? Spare me the mother's high-horse, crap-don't-stink behavior. And Karen's childish dialogue becomes silly and laughable fast; serious in one breath, joking in the next. Please!
The worst part about this story (there were many to choose from)is that the author relates nothing in the dialogue to allow the reader to know when events are taking place. had the beginning not been prefaced with "dec. 1962", there is no way of knowing that's where this begins. And this flaw does no justice whatsoever to teh conversations amongst the characters.
Should I finish this book (doubtful), I may write a sequel to this review. But with so many books out there, I don't know...
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is always a tribute to the writer when you find yourself thinking about the characters in a book even when you're not reading! Such is the case with "Guilt By Association." The herione is multi-dimensional and flawed, and is both incredibly strong and vulnerable. The story grippingly details the long-term damage of the assault itself, as well as the damage inadvertently done by those who claim to be doing what is best for the victim. It chronicles the change in attitude toward rape and assault in the past 30+ years, as well as women's role in society. Although I could see the "twist" in the plot coming, it didn't dissapoint. "Guilt by Association" is a story you'll think about long after you finish the last page, with characters you'll grow to know and care about. I'm adding Susan Sloan to my list of "automatic reads" whenever she comes out with a new book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Surprisingly Intriguing Read
I picked this book up in paperback at an airport after reading the back of it and thinking it sounded like a good read but the author was unknown. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2002 by "sellmart54"
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally engrossing
I received a dog-eared, tattered copy of this paperback book from a co-worker. Pages were falling out. Read more
Published on May 12 2002 by Michelle M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding: As Good as a Novel Gets
A stunning first novel. After finishing this book my biggest surprise (besides the ending itself) is why this book and its author are not better known. Read more
Published on May 10 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Surprise Ending!
This compelling novel was difficult to put down once I started it. The characters seemed so real. I felt as if I was actually drawn into the personal events of their lives. Read more
Published on April 12 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars A Real Surprise
For the debt novel,I loved it. It has been along time sence I got into a book on the frist chapter, this one did it for me. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2001 by msnkeper
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST READ
This is an AMAZING read! You won't be able to put it down and will be passing it on to all of your friends...
Published on July 6 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping!!!
This was a book that I could not put down!! Susan Sloan is very clever and this book takes many different turns.
Published on June 18 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars RIVETING AND HEART-WRENCHING
Karen Kern learned a lesson the hard way........The strangershe met at a party asked to walk her home, late at night..... Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2000 by Karen Boml
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
This was,truly,one of the best books,I have ever read. From beginning to end. It held you and kept you reading. Although, it wasn't suspensful it held your attention. Read more
Published on July 3 2000 by cheryl ann stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputerdownable!
This is an excellent book for someone who just wants a really good read. I could not put the book down. I found every excuse to have to read it. Read more
Published on June 28 2000 by Shelley van Kooten
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