“Betrayal” Gregg Olsen

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Empty Coffin series, Book #2. Splinter (Sterling Publishing). Published September 4, 2012. 267 pp.

Twins, Taylor and Hayley, have a special gift. They can see into the past and future, and can also sense each other’s thoughts. One night, they have a strange feeling something bad is going to happen. Soon, they find out their friend Olivia, a foreign exchange student from London, was brutally stabbed at a Halloween party. All the evidence leads to snarky rich girl Brittany and her boyfriend Drew, but it seems Olivia’s roommate Beth is also a suspect.

With cleverly concealed, then revealed, evidence Olsen keeps readers guessing as we join in the investigation and wonder whodunnit? I had my suspicions from the start, but Olsen did a good job of making me second guess myself. The mystery deepens when another girl is murdered, and it seems no one will be safe until the murderer is caught. The plot’s twists and turns, along with a surprise ending, made for a very satisfying read.

The book is good, but I was irked by the author constantly referring to some of the characters by their full names. Readers were already introduced to these characters earlier in the novel, so I didn’t feel it necessary to keep using their full names every time they were mentioned.

Olsen based “Betrayal” on Amanda Knox, who was convicted, along with her boyfriend, in the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007. “Empty Coffin” is an interesting series, with murder mysteries based on real life events. Book #1, “Envy” was based on the suicide of Megan Meier, due to cyberbullying.

It remains to be seen what Book #3, “Guilty,” will be based on when it’s released in the future but I’m sure it will be interesting. Readers get a sneak preview of it at the end of “Betrayal.”


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