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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Betrayal by Sharon Brownlie opens with a violent rape that twenty-year-old Helen King appears to shrug off. She is a prostitute being punished by her pimp; she has withheld money he considers to be his that she needs to fund her drug habit. A chance sighting of a school teacher takes her back to her hometown, but an attempt to stop “shooting up” and turn her life around fails. Memories trigger righteous anger against a society that has let her down. Fraught DCI Brennan, allocated a fast-track university graduate, DS Andrew Renton, and troubled by Acting DCI Ellington on "loan" from New York, faces tracing a serial killer who scrawls the word PRODITIO at every crime scene: Latin for betrayal. Is there a connection, and can the killer be stopped?
Helen is not a likable character, but it is impossible not to empathise with her. Abused by her father and ignored in care where she lost her only friend who was taken into a foster home, it’s hardly surprising when, by chance, she discovers the address of Gloria Bryson, a teacher who failed to help her, that she decides to exact revenge. What sort of revenge, and will Helen be satisfied by punishing only one of the people who betrayed her? Back in Edinburgh where she grew up, she is surrounded by the demons who haunt her nightmares. Add the brilliantly-drawn DCI Brennan to the mix and Sharon Brownlie proves that she is a very talented author. Betrayal is an intense thriller: a chilling tale of twists, turns, and bitter irony.