The Guilt We Carry by Samuel W. Gailey
eBook review copy; 336 pages
The Guilt We Carry by Samuel W. Gailey is a highly recommended thriller and tale of redemption.
In 2005 promising swimming star 15-year-old Alice O’Farrell is left
to babysit her 4-year-old brother, Jason. He
makes a huge fingernail polish mess in her bedroom and Alice yells
at him. While she is trying to clean up the nail polish, Jason
makes his way to the basement and somehow manages to trap himself in the
dryer and dies. Guilt-ridden, Alice ran away from home soon after this.
Six years later, she is an alcoholic working as a bartender at a strip
joint in Harrisburg, PA. Since she ran away before she had a
driver's license or a credit card, Alice has lived under the radar and
moves frequently to avoid making any friends.
When she wakes up after another drunken night next to the dead body
of her boss, she needs a drink to figure out what to do. Next, she looks
around the trailer and finds a bag with drugs and $91,000 in cash. The
cash could give Alice a way out and up from the pit she is in, but the
cash is tied to the drug dealer involved. Soon, Alice finds herself on
the run, trying to stay away from the drug dealer who relentlessly
pursues her, wanting her dead and his cash back. Even while on the run,
Alice can't help but see a predatory man trying to take advantage of a
teenage runaway and, recognizing the scenario, she intervenes,
inadvertently adding another dimension to her escape.
This is a tense, taunt, riveting thriller - violent, dark, and
gritty. The scenes in the novel are very descriptive and visual,
starting with Alice's promising skill as a swimmer to her excessive
drinking to escape. The detailed descriptions continue throughout the
narrative, increasing the anxiety and stress as you follow Alice's route
to escape and the close pursuit of the drug kingpin who thinks nothing
of leaving bodies in his wake.
I flew through The Guilt We Carry. Alice is a flawed, but
sympathetic well-developed character. Even while recognizing her flaws
and failings, you will be hoping she escapes and finds a way out of the
downward spiral she is in. While it is obvious a showdown of sorts will
happen, the lead-up to it is intense. You will want her to find closure
and redemption, and perhaps even a reconciliation and forgiveness with
her parents. The supporting characters in the novel are also fairly
well-developed and interesting.
My review copy was courtesy of Oceanview