This was a very interesting and thought provoking novel, the second by Yvette Erskine a former Tasmanian police officer, about what happens when young police officer Lucy Howard makes an allegation of rape against a member of the Special Operations Group.
The author uses the compelling technique of having each of the thirteen chapters take the story on from a different person’s perspective; starting with the complainant, Lucy and moving through various other participants including the Commissioner, Director of Public Prosecutions, a psychologist, a journalist and friends of the participants and ending with the Soggy [the alleged rapist].
This keeps the reader gripped but means that we get more than a fair ration of despicable characters. The strange attitude of the females that Lucy by complaining has somehow “betrayed the sisterhood”, and that will put back the advancement of women in the police service I found hard to stomach. The majority of the male characters are corrupt and no better than the perpetrator, Nick Greaves, and Cam the man Lucy believes is her boyfriend [another cop in prison for assaulting a criminal] fails to support her.
Cam, even more so than Nick, had taught her a valuable lesson: not only could you not trust anyone, but you couldn’t rely on anyone, no matter how much you wanted to.
The Betrayal is a bleak story that shows Australia’s Federal system gives great opportunity for a level of corruption and venality at the local level that is perhaps predictable. We all know that politicians can be corrupt, and the policeforce are not a normal cross section of most societies, but I really wondered if Tasmanians at any level really have misogynist and racist attitudes similar to those portrayed in this book?
Torino was one of the two token wogs in the force, a solid bloke who seemed to keep his nose relatively clean. He was slightly less annoying than the other wog, the Greek who was currently out on some weak-as-piss stress claim.
When I have heard places such as Tasmania described as like England in the 1950s I did not think it meant they still exhibited the worst of the racial attitudes. A depressingly harsh novel that makes its point well, and with a technique that could grow on me. I look forward to another book from Yvette Erskine.