I’m excited to kick off the Betrayal blog tour today! Betrayal is book two in the YA thriller Empty Coffin series by Gregg Olsen. After my review, be sure to check out the giveaway opportunity for your chance to win the first two books in the series.
In this action-packed thriller sequel to Envy, foreign exchange student Olivia Grant is stabbed to death after a party–and the prime suspect is her best friend. As twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan get pulled into the aftermath of this Amanda Knox-like crime, they realize nothing is what it seems. Could it be betrayal of the ultimate kind?
Betrayal features real-life crime-solving techniques, heart-stopping suspense, plenty of red herrings, hard-hitting ethical questions, and information about the Amanda Knox case that inspired the novel. As the crime unravels, so does the twins’ past…and they must face off against a family member who may unexpectedly have carried out the worst betrayal of all.
When I picked up the first book in the Empty Coffin series, Envy, I thought it was a YA horror book from the creepy cover. In fact, it is a crime thriller series, and each book is a fictionalized account of a pulled-from-the-headlines crime. The series is set in Port Gamble, Washington, and the first book Envy tackled a familiar cyber bullying case. In Envy we meet twins Hayley and Taylor, who with their unusual paranormal abilities and inquisitive minds, are uniquely suited for their role as amateur detectives. Many of the characters including the twins appear in the second book, Betrayal, as the bodies continue to pile up in Port Gamble.
Betrayal gets it’s inspiration from the events of the Andrea Knox case and starts right up with a murder. My memory of the Knox case was a little fuzzy so I admit to reading a few news articles prior to reading Betrayal. Don’t expect a blow-by-blow re-creation of the events in the plot of Betrayal though; it is very much its own story.
In Envy the book spends a lot of time with the twins Hayley and Taylor. In Betrayal, they still do play an important role, but there is also a significant amount of time spent with other characters central to the murder investigation. However, Hayley and Taylor continue to spend time on the ongoing search for answers into their paranormal abilities.
This series fills a crime fiction void in YA, and is one that fans of true crime and CSI should enjoy. The series is very light on romance, and except for the high school age of the main characters reads almost like an adult thriller. There are pop culture and current technological references, and designers name checked that remind you you’re reading YA. The plot is sophisticated though and has crossover appeal for adult mystery readers.
The murder mystery was fun to solve. I was kept guessing throughout and I have to say I was surprised at the outcome. There are a lot of mean girls in the town (and mean parents for that matter) so there’s no shortage of suspects. It’s interesting that we get to read the POV of the police chief, suspects, the twins, and their true crime author father, so we get more and more pieces of the puzzle to help solve the murders.
I think the Empty Coffin series found its groove with the second book. I liked Envy as well, but really liked how everything flows in Betrayal. And even though the books are part of a series, they can easily be read as stand-alones. Not to say that there aren’t cliffhangers that will make you anxious for the next book! There’s no shortage of real life crimes to draw from, and I’m curious to find out what the next case is about in the next book Guilty.