Today it is my absolute pleasure to be one of the two blogs, alongside The Writing Garnet, opening up the blog tour for The Betrayed by Casey Kelleher. Massive thanks to Noelle at Bookouture for inviting me to be a part of the tour. I loved The Promise and was so excited to read this book. In just a moment we’ll see if it met my expectations, but first off, here is what this book is all about.
The Official Book Blurb
Colleen Byrne is wife to one of the biggest faces on the streets of Soho, Jimmy Byrne. He promised her the life of luxury, but behind the diamonds and fur coats is a dangerous world of violence and lies. With her two children, Nancy and Daniel, Colleen is in too deep, bound to Jimmy forever.
TWENTY YEARS LATER
Nancy has grown into her father’s daughter, strong, calculated – and ruthless, while Colleen blots out the pain of her marriage any way she can. When Jimmy is found brutally murdered, Nancy is hell bent on finding the culprit. She’s going to make them pay for what they did.
Only the perpetrator is someone close to home. Someone who betrayed them all. To catch a killer, mother and daughter must find the secrets tearing their family apart…
A totally gripping and gritty thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for fans of Kimberly Chambers, Martina Cole and Jessie Keane.
From the very opening chapter you know that this is not going to be your typical family drama. For one thing, in terms of the family dynamics patriarch Michael Byrne is so in name alone. It is his son Jimmy who is the real force in this family; Jimmy and Michael’s dominant wife, Joanie. Not that you can feel the remotest bit of sympathy for Michael, even with what happens to him in the attention grabbing opening chapter, but still. This scene sets the tone of the book from the off – Jimmy Byrne is not a man to be trifled with.
Now as to how the man who shows no mercy comes to woo and marry the shy and quiet Colleen Walsh, you will need to read to find out. They say opposites attract but in this case it is more a case of being blinded to the truth by a lethal combination of charm and money – Jimmy has both in abundance. When a devastating chain of events is set in motion on their wedding day, it will change Colleen’s life forever. But is this one single night really what leads to be biggest mystery of them all – who killed Jimmy Byrne?
After the very difficult subject matter covered in The Promise, The Betrayed showed a marked change in pace. That is not to say that it is any less thrilling or compelling – believe me this book gripped me from the start and had me turning the pages without pause. It is simply different. Jimmy Byrne is a character that has been so well crafted and developed that I found myself developing a soft spot for him, in spite of the heinous crimes he has committed, and the serious sidelines such as prostitution and drug dealing that he is involved with. Casey Kelleher has created the perfect anti-hero in Jimmy. There are elements of his character which appear tender and make you warm to him, just as Colleen did, even though you know that he has the hidden agenda that we as readers are privy to. But then he is the ultimate bad boy, a man whose temper can turn faster than the wind and who is even more adept with his fists than he is with his charm. And this is a truly deadly combination, something Colleen will find out all too late.
Colleen is another well observed character. She is kind and so very caring, everything Jimmy is not, but just when you think she may be able to survive falling in love with Jimmy, disaster strikes. What happens to her then… well it is no wonder that she changes so dramatically. I did like Colleen, willing her to find a strength that she seemed lacking. But then maybe she was the strongest one of all as against all the odds, she survived. And then we have the mothers. Firstly, Jimmy’s mom Joanie, a true Irish Matriarch who needs to control everything, even her grown son’s life. And then there’s Edel, Colleen’s mother, a woman so madcap that you cannot help but love her. There are many other characters in this book, each one skilfully written, enriching the story in their own special way, but of all of them I really did enjoy getting to know Edel the most. Think Mrs Brown with plenty of oomph and a touch of the East-end and you won’t be too far from the truth of it.
Characterisation is something Casey Kelleher excels at, and she has imagined a varied and colourful cast within this book. Not a single one is out of place. Loved it. I didn’t really get enough time with Nancy or Daniel in this books to feel strongly for them either way, but Nancy is definitely a chip off Jimmy’s block. And there was a hidden depth to Daniel, a slyness or cunnning hidden just below the surface, something which, given the way this book ended, I can only hope will be explored in a further episode. It is certainly a story that cries out for that sequel and I for one am more than happy about that. The pair are both young. There is so much more trouble that they could achieve.
There are a couple of violent moments in the book, but I don’t think any were as shocking as in previous books. Perhaps because the victims were, by and large, adults or as near as, and all connected with Jimmy’s murky world so it just seemed to fit. Dare I say that most were deserving victims, and the seemingly natural way in which the violence occurred made it feel less, I don’t know, in your face. None of it was graphically described, yet you got a clear picture of the gangland styling of Jimmy and his business partner Alex without the need for over the top drama.
If you enjoy a well crafted crime family story with a myriad of colourful, dangerous and multi-faceted characters then you absolutely want to read this book. No, there is no major heist to hook you. There is a ‘deal’ of sorts, which the central premise of the story is built around and this alone is enough to hook the reader and reel them in, desperate to see how it will play out. Probably not as you’d expect as it happens. But above all else, Casey Kelleher has captured the spirit and changing face of SOHO and London in the eighties brilliantly, pulling the whole thing together around a dynamic family you cannot help but love to hate.
So. Did I love this as much as I loved The Promise? Of course I fluffing did. And really there is only one thing left to say.
When is book two out?
My thanks to Netgalley and publishers Bookouture for the advance copy of The Betrayed for review. It is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Born in Cuckfield, West Sussex, Casey Kelleher grew up as an avid reader and a huge fan of author Martina Cole.
Whilst working as a beauty therapist and bringing up her three children together with her husband, Casey penned her debut novel Rotten to the Core. Its success meant that she could give up her day job and concentrate on writing full time.
She has since published Rise and Fall, Heartless, Bad Blood, The Taken, The Promise and her latest release, The Betrayed is due for publication on the 21st June 2017
Make sure to check out the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour this week