Review: Betrayal by Gregg Olsen

Betrayal (Empty Coffin #2) by Gregg Olsen
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: Sept. 4th, 2012 by Splinter
Source: Gift 

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. 

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first book, Envy.  I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t have a connection with it.  The writing style wasn’t really for me and it felt slow and confusing.  So I was shocked at how much I loved this book!  This time around I had a better idea of what to expect and I actually really enjoyed the writing style.  I also was never bored with this one.  I desperately needed to know ‘who did it’ and could hardly stand putting the book down.  And since I now ‘know’ the twins, Taylor and Haley, I was able to get into their bits of the story and never felt confused about anything.

This book has it’s own murder mystery in it separate from the one in Envy.  This murder mystery comes to it’s full conclusion in this book.  But we also have some continuing story line regarding the twins Taylor and Haley. This portion of the book is something that will continue on.  A mystery that we get pieces of in each book.  And while there’s not a major cliffhanger it leaves off with some new information that definitely has us curious for more of the story.  It’s this part with Taylor and Haley that has paranormal-like elements.  Realistic paranormal, in my opinion.

Gregg Olsen is a true crime writer (other then this series).  And I think if you go in knowing that his style is different then we’re use to seeing in YA you will enjoy the first book more.  I think maybe I was just caught off guard or something with the first book.  I’m not sure if it was just me and my mood or if the book just really didn’t work so well for me, but after reading this book I’m inclined to think that it’s just me.

The murder mystery worked well for me.  For one, I loved how crazy these people were.  From absent parents (or downright BAD parents) to teens who really are more concerned about themselves and their own comfort rather then the dead girl, this book really left me guessing who was a murderer because there were just so many that weren’t very good people.  I didn’t really guess who it was, though I did figure out parts, there was so much more to it.

I loved how emotionally invested I was in this book and the characters.  I felt furious at people for their callousness, for their ridiculous accusations at the completely wrong people and for their completely inappropriate behavior.  It worked fantastically well in this book.

I recently visited Port Gamble and I don’t think it had a big impact on my overall feel of the book, but I did enjoy being able to picture the homes and places where everyone went.  I had even toured the home that Haley and Taylor live in so being able to picture everything so well was just an added bonus.

I definitely recommend you check this series out.  If you don’t love Envy I still suggest you try Betrayal, perhaps you’ll be like me and discover that you really do like the books.

Disclosure:  I received this book free of charge and all opinions expressed are my own.  I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Thanks for subscribing!


  1. I used to only read true crime novels! I didn’t know he wrote some. I have been meaning to read Envy for so long. I have been seeing mixed reviews but the premise sounds right up my alley! Glad the sequel is good as well! I like that it has its own mystery, too. Great review!

  2. I’ve definitely had those moments with books where I wonder if I’m just not in the right mood to enjoy that book in particular, it happens to me with some frequency so I completely understand your reaction to Envy! So glad this one was far more enjoyable for you, I’m drawn to both of these books for their covers alone – gorgeous!

  3. I tend to stay away from crime novels because of my line of work (I don’t like to feel like I’m at work when I’m relaxing) but this one sounds like I may have to give it a try. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. I loved Envy, and I really really want to read this one. That’s awesome it comes out so soon since I don’t have a copy. I need to make room for it, though, since it’s not a review copy. LOL I have such trouble with that…

    Sounds like a great, intense story with lots of twists and turns though. I’m glad you enjoyed this one much more than the first and the style didn’t throw you off anymore.


  5. Huh… I haven’t read Envy, even though I’m pretty sure it’s on my kindle. I don’t know if I’d be able to read Betrayal w/o reading Envy first. It’s good to know that this one is a lot better, though.

  6. I’m reading this right now and am really enjoying it! I thought Envy was amazing and meeting Gregg was awesome (and meeting you was pretty fun too :P)

  7. I am surprised to hear you weren’t the biggest fan of Envy. I guess I thought that you loved it. Glad to hear that this book excels over the first and that you loved it. I have been eyeing this series since your trip!

  8. I never read the first book in this series but this review makes me want to pick up the series to give it a try. I love when you can connect with the characters and the trials that they are going through. I’m probably weird because I like when I can get pissed off at the characters when they make a stupid choice.

    Thanks for the great review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge