My grateful thanks to Alainna Hajigeorgiou at Quercus Books for an advanced reader copy of A Spring Betrayal in return for an honest review. A Spring Betrayal was published in e-book and hardback on 21st April 2016 and is available on Amazon, from Quercus, Waterstones, WH Smith and from all good book shops.
A Spring Betrayal
Inspector AkylBorubaev of Bishkek Murder Squad has been exiled to the far corner of Kyrgystan, but death still haunts him at every turn. Borubaev soon finds himself caught up in a mysterious and gruesome new case: several children’s bodies have been found buried together – all tagged with name bands. In his search for the truth behind the brutal killings, Borubaev hits a wall of silence, with no one to turn to outside his sometime lover, the beautiful undercover agent Saltanat Umarova.
When Borubaev himself framed for his involvement in the production of blood-soaked child pornography, it looks as though things couldn’t get any worse. With the investigation at a dangerous standstill, Borubaev sets out to save his own integrity, and to deliver his own savage justice on behalf of the many dead who can’t speak for themselves . . .
My Review of A Spring Betrayal
When several children’s corpses are found in a shallow grave, Inspector Akly Borubaev finds himself drawn ever further into the corrupt world of Kyrgyzstan as he attempts to discover how they were murdered and by whom.
A Spring Betrayal is the second in Tom Callaghan’s Inspector Akyl Borubaev thrillers after A Killing Winter which I have not read. Although I may have missed the significance of a few references, A Spring Betrayal works perfectly well as a stand alone read and the back story is well enough outlined to ensure the reader understands Borubaev’s motivations and attitudes.
Let me say at the off that A Spring Betrayal is far outside my comfort zone of reading as it is violent and quite disturbing and had it not been sent for review I’m not sure I’d have read it. I found the subject matter – child pornography and murder- quite distasteful and not something I would readily choose to read about. I ended by feeling slightly contaminated by the book which possibly shows just how well written it is.
However, that said, A Spring Betrayal is a fast paced, action packed and thrilling read with a plot that twists and turns with breakneck speed. There’s a feeling of James Bond about it in places with spies, political intrigue, bribery and corruption all rife. One or twice I felt the plot was somewhat unrealistic but that might be more my own naivety in not appreciating that some of the events are likely in this particular setting.
I’m not sure how accurate a picture of Kyrgyzstan Tom Callaghan paints, but the social corruption and willingness to kill within the story I found horrifying and scarily plausible. Indeed, there is a real sense of place and I certainly felt I had a better understanding of the area and the politics of the recent past.
The character of Borubaev is rounded and interesting and I found fascinating the blurring of the lines of morality within his thought processes as the story progressed. He carries a burden of guilt that is fully understood by the reader. The character of Saltanat Umarova is less well defined, but this is not a criticism as she remains an enigma to Borubaev and, therefore, to the reader, as the narrative is presented from his first person point of view.
The writing is assured and convincing, and I liked the way in which there were several mini cliffhangers at the ends of chapters so that I wanted to read on in spite of myself.
Did I enjoy reading A Spring Betrayal? I’m not sure. Did I find it compelling and exciting? Undoubtedly. Those who like this fast paced, quite violent writing will love A Spring Betrayal. It was just a bit too explicitly violent for my taste.