BETRAYAL by Sharon Brownlie
A troubled childhood. An upbringing marred by rejection and hurt. At the age of fourteen Helen King finds herself in the clutches of a pimp. He lures her into a life of drugs and prostitution. At the age of twenty she uses her drug addiction as a way to blank out the memories. It enables her to hide the psychological scarring caused by those she feels had abandoned her.
Her life is spiralling out of control. The decision to quit her addiction comes at a time when she has a chance encounter with an old school teacher. This opens up old wounds that had remained hidden and festering deep within her. It also leads to her decision that it is time for payback for all those that she felt had betrayed her. Helen, bitter and twisted, heads to Edinburgh to begin her killing spree.
When the first body is found the police are mystified. When a second body turns up they quickly realise that it is the same killer. They face a race against time to find the connection and the killer.
After finishing this book, I felt like I’d just climbed laboriously out of a dark, dank cellar full of coal dust. This book made me feel filthy and repulsive. Brownlie takes us on a dark path of drugs, prostitution, and murder. The book may be titled Betrayal, but what I got from the story was self-delusion. This story really made me ponder the fact how much we lie to ourselves.
For Helen, it was her delusion of handling her addiction problem, and blaming her past for her present shity existence. Yes, she was sexually abused by her father at a very young age, but even knowing that, she was still a very despicable person. I had no sympathy for her at all. Even when she tried redeeming herself at the end, I still reviled her.
And, poor Donny MacKenzie (Toofy). He deluded himself into thinking Helen loved him. Out of all the characters in the story, he’s the only one I really cared about or related to.
As for all the police officers, like Brennan, Renton, Ellington, and the others, they were too one-dimensional as they all sounded like each other. Part of that problem was the head-hopping back and forth. To me, too much head-hopping weakens the characters personalities. What I really enjoyed, though, were all the English slang-phrases that Brennan liked to toss around. Her speech pattern was the only think that set her apart from the other characters under her command.
As a side note, I think, the story should be paraphrased with a year. I’m thinking this is a story that was written years ago, and just recently saw the light of day in 2014. It kept throwing me for a loop when Brennan didn’t know what a computer was, a fax, DNA testing or even an Avon catalogue. And, Helen had never seen a microwave before, though I think they were called radar ranges back then, so that wasn’t even the proper name for it. Now, I’m showing my age.
I really had a hard time finishing this book due to the dark nature of the story. Even though it’s not a real mystery story, as we know from the beginning who the killer is, I still wanted to know how Helen got caught, and why what happened to her as a child was covered up by the military. Unfortunately, that was never disclosed.
If you like walking down the dark path of human nature, this book is for you.
Character Believability: 4
Flow and Pace: 4
Book Cover: 4
Reader Engagement: 3
Reader Enjoyment: 3
Overall Rate: 3.4 out of 5 feathers