21 February 2013

Review: THE BETRAYAL, Y.A. Erskine

  • Bantam book published by Random House Australia 2012 
  • ISBN 978-1-74275-018-7
  • 416 pages
  • source: my local library
  • Available from Amazon
Synopsis (Random House Australia)

An engrossing novel of corruption and injustice at the heart of the police system, from the author of The Brotherhood.

Tasmania is in the grip of one of the longest, bleakest winters on record and it's particularly icy at the Hobart Police Station. Of the many golden rules in policing, one is especially sacred: what happens at work stays at work.

So when a naive young constable, Lucy Howard, makes an allegation of sexual assault against a respected colleague, the rule is well and truly broken.

Soon the station is divided. From Lucy's fellow rookies right up to the commissioner himself - everyone must take a side. With grudges, prejudices and hidden agendas coming into play, support arrives from the unlikeliest of corners.

But so too does betrayal ...

My Take

When she realises she has been sexually assaulted by a colleague, Lucy Howard decides to make a stand and to see that the perpetrator gets what he deserves. At twenty two years of age she can't imagine what effect this will have on her work life.

Lucy's story is played out against the backdrop of sexual promiscuity among her colleagues, of corruption in the police force and the even larger backdrop of corruption in Tasmanian politics. The story in THE BETRAYAL is told from not only Lucy's point of view but from twelve others. This was a structure that worked well in Erskine's 2011 debut THE BROTHERHOOD. It works well here.

THE BETRAYAL exudes authenticity and realism, and can't help but make the reader consider what he/she would do in these circumstances. Would you report the rape regardless of the consequences for yourself? Where would you stand if a colleague reported she had been raped? Would you side with her or would you check the lie of the land?

A very strong sequel to Erskine's 2011 debut THE BROTHERHOOD. (A Davitt Readers Choice Award winner in 2012) There are some links to the earlier novel, also available through Amazon. Story threads left hanging in that novel are tied off.  Y.A. Erskine is certainly one to put on your list of Australian authors to note and read.

My rating: 4.7

See also Bernadette's review

About the Author

Y.A. Erskine spent eleven years in the Tasmania Police Service. She was active in front-line policing and served as a detective in the CIB. She is also an historian with an honours degree in early modern history. Y.A. Erskine lives in Melbourne and is happily married with two dogs. 

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I'm so glad you liked this one. One of the things I find interesting about Erskine's approach to telling a story is her use of multiple perspectives on the same event. That strategy really shows that very little is one-dimensional. There aren't easy answers to this whole date/acquaintance-rape issue and you're right, the story leaves open a lot of questions for the reader to ponder. I like that about it too.


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