My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Puslisher - AVON
Pages - 339 (this is an ARC copy and may change to the published version)
Blurb from Goodreads
A gripping story of gangs, drugs, girls and unbreakable bonds. Perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Mandasue Heller.
She trusted the man she loved. It was the most dangerous things she had ever done …
No one can touch Del Williams – the hardest gangster in Soho. He’s got the monopoly on the drugs, the clubs and the girls – it’d be a mistake to underestimate him. The one person he’d take a bullet for is tough, beautiful Bunny Barker, mother of their daughter Star.
Bunny is determined to shield Star from ‘life’ but Del has a lot of enemies. When a familiar face appears from their past, their family is put into terrible danger. Can Bunny protect Star from the demons of her own past, and her very worst nightmare?
The book opens in 1990 London, a young girl is looking for her sister in the woods. A horrific event takes place and we see a glimpse of the events that follow. We skip forward to present day, still London and the story picks up from there, seemingly unrelated to the previous chapter however it is all related and linked which becomes clear as the story unfolds. Bunny Barker is our main character, she is a prostitute with her own rules. Her daughter is her number one concern and nothing, not even the man she loves, Del Williams will tell her what she can do. Del is a big face in London, involved in drugs and is a dangerous man. When a young girl goes missing and a body turns up Bunny is forced to look to her past and remember things she would rather have forgotten forever.
This book is a hard read, not because it is badly written in actual fact it is the opposite, it is really well done and pulls you in even though the content is hard to read. Young girls being abused and murdered is always hard to read and when there are pedophiles chucked in to the mix it can make for a tough subject. There of course is the usual mix of violence, deception, sex, drugs, prostitution, secrets, adultery and lies to name just some of the themes within the book.
After the first few chapters, I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know what happened to the little girl at the beginning of the book. Then as more characters are introduced and brought in, you want to see where their storyline goes and the character development. It reminded me of, I believe it was, Martina Cole's the graft that covered pedophilia themes and this one does too although the whole story isn't about that although it is central to the plot.
The writer creates a very murky dark world, people doing what they have to do to survive and thrive within it. If you like a good crime story and can cope with some of the horrific issues, child murder, prostitution and pedophilia, then you will really like this author. She has her own style but I would certainly group her with the likes of Kimberley Chambers, Martina Cole and Mandasue Heller. I don't think I had read this author before, if I had it was a long time ago however I would read her again and may seek out her other works, 4/5 for me this time. Thanks to Avon publishers and Alexandra Crisp for sending me an ARC copy of this book. Betrayed will be available from all good retailers from the 27th of March, 2014.