Betrayal (Empty Coffin Series, #2)
Author: Gregg Olsen
Synopsis: It happened so fast, the way awful things almost always do.
The blade of a knife flew at Olivia, burying itself in her throat. It came with speed and fury. Only her killer knew the irony of her last words.
That bloody hurts.
When foreign exchange student Olivia Grant is stabbed to death at a party, the accusations fly through Port Gamble faster than Twitter trending. Fingers point at frenemy Brianna and her dim-witted boyfriend, Drew. But loner and host roommate Beth Lee may also have an ax to grind, which sends her best friends Hayley and Taylor Ryan down a twisted path to clear her name—only to discover a tangled web of shocking secrets about all of them.
Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz
Read Annabell's review of ENVY, the first book in the series.
Review: As soon as I had finished Envy, I was incredibly excited to jump into the second installment and grateful to have received a copy of Betrayal for a blog tour! Hayley and Taylor return in yet another dark, gritty, and dangerous adventure to discover the truth.
Olivia Grant, an exchange student from England who had dreamed of California and spending her days and nights hanging out with movie stars and landing herself a hot boyfriend, isn’t exactly thrilled when she finds herself stuck in the small town of Port Gamble, Washington. She quickly makes do though, finding her way into the inner circle of popularity by becoming friends with Brianna Connors, one of the richest girls in town. On the night Brianna throws a massive Halloween party at her Dad’s house who so happens to be away on a cruise with his new and far younger wife, Olivia discovers just because Port Gamble is a small and quaint town, doesn’t mean it’s above idle gossip, deep jealousies, and murder—with Olivia as the prime victim. Hayley and Taylor, the psychic twins, set out to uncover what really happened the night of Brianna’s Halloween party, to not only clear their best friend Beth’s name but to find out if a serial killer is really on the move in Port Gamble. The twins soon realize the small town they had grown up in and loved, the small town they thought would always be safe and secure, held more secrets than they were prepared to face.
Betrayal opens even darker and grittier than its predecessor. Right from the first chapter, Olsen coils a weave of innocence lost and murderous rage around the reader’s imagination and doesn’t let go. Lies, betrayal, gossip, media fixation and jumping to the wrong conclusions all play an intricate part within the storyline.
As with Envy, the suspense is tight with tension and fear. You can’t help but want to keep turning the pages to discover what will happen next, what will be the next secrets to emerge from the darkness. Betrayal focuses more on the teenagers involved in the Port Gamble world instead of the adults. Hayley and Taylor must use their gifts to find out who really killed Olivia even though all fingers point to both Beth Lee and Brianna Connors. I liked being able to see more of Hayley and Taylor’s personalities through the book, seeing them more different and having a bit more depth to their characterization than they did in Envy. I liked how more of the family secrets are starting to come to the surface and the girls are gradually uncovering just where they got their mysterious gifts from. I also enjoyed that Starla wasn’t apart of much of the story. She’s a mean girl through and through and I didn’t really miss her much.
There were certain aspects to the book that bothered me though. The scenes with Starla and Mindee which seemed more rather useless to the progression of the story. They just seemed to be placed in the book because readers would expect them to be and take up space. There were moments the plot seemed to be far too dragged out for a close to 300 paged book and some scenes were meant to build up suspense but only aided in making the story feel long winded at times. I also would have liked to see more interaction between Kevin Ryan, the twins father, and the girls. They don’t seem to get much time together and I don’t fully buy their closeness. I did like how Valerie, the twins mom had more screen time in the story, but I didn’t understand what the big deal was as to why she couldn’t tell the girls the truth until the end of the book. It wasn’t really all that shocking and after all the build up the majority of the book makes to finding out the truth, I had expected something more surprising. Even though the plot was pretty good, it wasn’t nearly as good as in Envy. There were just moments the plot didn’t feel like it was going anywhere and I wanted a bit more. There was a scene where Hayley and Taylor meet up with someone they KNOW they shouldn’t and wind up in a mess of trouble because it that had me rolling my eyes. It was a stupid move and the girls knew that going in. I expected them to be MUCH smarter than that! I also didn’t fully like the ending. I wanted Kevin to be much harder on his girls and the girls to be harder on Valerie. Everything felt too nicely and too quickly wrapped up.
Overall though, Betrayal was a pretty good follow-up in the Empty Coffin Series. Olsen has a way to gripping tightly to the darkest places humans can go and challenging readers, even Young Adult readers, to facing the consequences of giving in to such dark thoughts and secrets.
Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.
A New York Times bestselling author, Olsen has written seven nonfiction books, three novels, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.
The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel. He has also appeared on Good Morning America, The Early Show, The Today Show, FOX News; CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, MSNBC, Entertainment Tonight, CBS 48 Hours, Oxygen’s Snapped, Court TV’s Crier Live, Inside Edition, Extra, Access Hollywood, and A&E’s Biography.
In addition to television and radio appearances, the award-winning author has been featured in Redbook, USA Today, People, Salon magazine, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.
The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington’s Secretary of State for the book’s contribution to Washington state history and culture.
Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker spaniel) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).
Where to Find the Author