“ Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Jeffrey Ashford / Edition: Unabridged / Hardcover / 224 Pages / Book is published 1999-08-27 by Severn House Publishers Ltd „
John Doe (yes, I know, corny name) is an assasin for hire whose latest job is to kill a notorious drug dealer. PC Ballard is an up and coming police officer with strong moral values who on investigating a seemingly accidental hit and run resulting in a young boy's death starts to suspect that one of his superiors is involved in a cover up. Ballaed is now determined to uncover the truth at whatever cost to himself.
Will Ballard get to the bottom of his investigation without great personal loss to himself and without compromising himself along the way?
An Honest Betrayal was published in the UK and USA in 1999 by Severn House Publishing. At 219 pages long in hardback format, it's not too lengthy a read and I found myself engrossed from the first page. Having never read anything by Jeffrey Ashford previously I had no preconceptions of what to expect. Just a book I picked up from my mum's collection on holiday and started to read at night before going to sleep. Unfortunately (for me) reading this book did not help me sleep, in fact, it kept me rather wide awake and I managed to finish it in two sittings reading fairly late into the night.
The story is written from the viewpoint of Doe and Ballard alternatively, although Ballard is the main character and the story focuses more on his activities than that of the assasin. Ballard is an ambitious graduate eager to crack his first case and make his mark in the force; even though his superiors insist there is no case to solve. He's engaged to Fleur whose wealthy parents don't seem too keen on having a policeman as their son-in-law. Several references are made to the fact that Ballard and Fleur haven't "consumated" their relationship as Fleur is a decent "old-fashioned kind of gal". Ballard, although not overly happy about this, doesn't push her to take things further, respecting her wish to wait till they're married. There are a couple of bedroom scenes in the book but these are not in any sort of detail and romance does not detract from the main aspect of the story which is about solving a crime.
I liked the way Ballard's character is shown to be one with high moral standards but not annoyingly so. Faced with a moral dilemma later in the book Ballard's character does something which I felt was totally out of character for him but I understood why the author wrote the story that way when I got to the end.
One thing I would mention about the story-writing style is that although everything takes place in the UK it's not really obvious that this is the case. It's not as if obscure locations are mentioned, just that the story could have been based in the USA or Australia or India or Russia. If you like your fiction to be very descriptive about where they are set then this wouldn't be for you; personally I liked the fact that locations weren't essential to following the story.
I enjoyed Ashford's writing style and felt the story flowed well. The author was descriptive enough throughout the story without getting so bogged down in detail that you would get bored. Having enjoyed this book I will be looking up a few more of his works including the Inspector Alvarez series which he wrote under the name of Roderic Jeffries.
UK & USA Publishers: Severn House Publishing
Release date: August 1999
ISBN 0-7278-5459-3 / 9 780727 854599