Most helpful positive review
The Ultimate Novel Of Revenge - A Psychological Thriller!
on November 29, 2003
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. She develops the lives and careers of Karen Kern, who has been forever altered by the attack, and Robert (Bob) Willmont, Karen's assailant, who is not effected by his actions at all. Sloan creates credible lives and fascinating characters for both of them. Tension and suspense build to a peak until the inevitable happens. The two, victim and assailant, meet thirty years later. What happens makes for some of the most riveting reading imaginable - and gives new meaning to the concept of "revenge."
This book is more than a thriller, however. Ms. Sloan has written a chronicle of the changing attitudes towards women over a period of thirty years. I lived through those times and can testify to the accuracy of her writing. Karen is a courageous figure who tries, for over 3 decades, to come to terms with her ordeal. Sloan gives a sometimes shocking and very valid testimony here of a woman seeking justice and triumphing over the terrible pain and scars of rape.