Featured: Betrayal by Sharon Brownlie

Featured: Betrayal by Sharon Brownlie Purchase:

What drives a human being to the dark side? What motivates or even justifies blind revenge? Why does she choose to walk the deadly side of the hard streets?

What makes a woman kill? An upbringing marred by rejection and hurt when you are let down by the ones you love and a society that is supposed to protect you?

As a teenager that rejection lures Helen King into the world of drugs and prostitution.

Now, as an adult, Helen is spiralling out of control.

Old wounds are surfacing; can she face her demons without the drugs?

Will revenge help release her from her past?

Beating her addiction is her only chance at a new life.

But, an encounter with a former school teacher opens up old wounds that had been festering deep within her.

While quitting drugs, another craving takes its place.

A desire for revenge: payback for those who’d betrayed her.

Plagued with bitterness, Helen heads to Edinburgh to begin her killing spree.

Police are mystified when her first victim is found.

A second death convinces them it’s the same killer.

Can they connect Helen to the crimes?

How many more will die before she is stopped?

Sharon Brownlie

Meet Sharon Brownlie:

Sharon Brownlie was born in Malta in 1962. Her parents were in the Armed Forces and she spent her childhood travelling all around the world.

As a mature student, she graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a Master of Arts Hons degree in History and a PGCE.

Sharon spent some years working in Adult Education and currently lives in Edinburgh.

Review by Mike Billington:

Helen King is an angry young woman.

And if you are among that small group of people who betrayed her as a child that anger is about to be unleashed upon, you.
With terrible consequences.

What made Sharon Brownlie’s Betrayal such an excellent read for me is not the plot – it’s fairly straightforward – but the characters she has created.

Helen King, for example, is not a nice person. That’s probably not her fault but, even considering that, she’s still not someone you’d want your kids to hang out with at the mall. A prostitute and a junkie; she barks at waitresses and manipulates almost everyone else she comes into contact with.

Despite that, I felt an enormous sympathy for her. As an author myself I know how very difficult it is to create a villain who can evoke sympathy in readers: Too often they come off as whiners desperately begging the reader to understand why they do what they do.

Helen, however, doesn’t beg the reader for sympathy and, perhaps, that’s why she earns it.

Stacked against her are the Scottish cops who are investigating the deaths of the people Helen has gone after and, like her, these are men and women that I found it easy to relate to as I read ‘Betrayal.’

Take, for example, detective Belinda Brennan, who heads the murder team: Like Helen she is also not a very nice person. She’s tough, often rude, and driven. She’s a woman trying to make her mark in a man’s world and she is acutely aware of how hard – and unfair – that can be.

At the start of the investigation she’s been assigned a young detective as a partner and she’s not happy about that, especially since he’s not only male but also something of a smart ass. On top of that, her boss sticks a good-looking female American cop on Brennan’s team as part of an exchange program. Bobbie Ellington has worked the hard streets of New York and she is not intimidated by Brennan’s rudeness, which makes it even harder for the lead detective to stomach her.

It’s enough to make a grown woman weep.

This is not a police procedural full of whiz-bang gadgetry and line-by-line descriptions of the way cops go about tracking down killers. This is, instead, a character-driven story and that makes it, for me at least, an extremely interesting novel. The narrative is fast paced and Brownlie incorporates just enough Scottish dialogue into the book to give it an interesting flavor without overdoing it.

Her descriptions of the down-and-out parts of the city are graphic but, again, not overdone. You get a sense of where Helen is and what she sees when she’s prowling the streets but Brownlie doesn’t make the city a star in this book, as some authors are wont to do, and that keeps the narrative running smoothly.

I highly recommend this book.

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