Thursday, August 30, 2012

Betrayal (Empty Coffin, #2)

Gregg Olsen
288 pages
Release: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Splinter
Source: ARC from publisher

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

It's Halloween in Port Gamble and the place to be is at Brianna's party.  But after the party, Brianna discovers foreign exchange student Olivia gruesomely murdered in her bed.  Soon Brianna and her boyfriend are both suspects in the murder, but twins Hayley and Taylor have a sense that something more is afoot.  While they're trying to solve the murder using their own special abilities, the local police department is botching up the investigation.

Like its predecessor Envy, Betrayal was such an interesting murder mystery and I absolutely loved every minute.  Gregg Olsen has a way to weave a mystery that makes it almost impossible to guess the truth.  Sure when you read a mystery, you know it's probably not who you think it is, but when the end comes and you learn the truth, the Empty Coffin series will leave you surprised.  I know I was!

The twins Hayley and Taylor really are the stars of this novel.  Their special abilities to see the future and past are such an asset to solving crimes and when the victims are classmates, it's understandable they would want to use their ability to help.  But that's not the start and end of their plot; their family makes for an interesting mystery itself.  Their mother is obviously hiding something about her past and the twins are also itching to know what happened to her.  Their father writes mysteries and I can't help but wonder if Olsen put a little of himself in that character.  We did finally learn more about the twins' mother in Betrayal, but I have a feeling there's a lot more this family that we'll learn about in subsequent novels.

As strange as it sounds, I found the afterword of the novel to be extremely interesting.  Olsen seems to be basing the crimes in his Empty Coffin series off real events.  In Envy, the plot was loosely based off a real case of bullying.  In Betrayal, the plot is loosely based off the story of Amanda Knox.  She accused of murdering her roommate while studying-aborad in Italy.  I didn't follow that news piece at all, so when Olsen explained the parallels I was quite surprised and intrigued.  The fact that the Empty Coffin novels are based off real events makes the books that much more exciting to read.  I'm eagerly anticipating the third novel, Guilty, to see what real-life drama will show up in its pages.

The only thing I didn't like in Betrayal was the product placement.  For example, instead of simply saying the character sipped from a cup of coffee, it was Starbucks coffee.  If a character changed her outfit, we learned she changed out of something from Macy's and into something from L.L.Bean.  I could go on and on, but really the brand-name name-dropping got a bit annoying after awhile.  Still, I think the plot and action itself made up for it.

Four stars!  I loved the mystery in this novel and I think this is a great fall read as Halloween approaches.  While you could potentially read Betrayal as a stand-alone, I highly recommend you read the first book in the series, Envy, first since it will give a lot of the background information on the twin's ability and family life.  References to Envy are pretty frequent throughout Betrayal.  I think it's a little unfortunate these books haven't made more of a splash in the YA world, when I think they're definitely worth reading.


  1. Awesome Review! I have to go get Envy first! I'm going to go buy it from your Amazon link. Hope that helps out!
    Thanks for posting!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth, I would really appreciate that! My plan is to use Amazon earnings to get books for giveaways on my blog and every penny helps.


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