The novel begins with an act of violence, a murdered woman found in her Washington, DC, townhouse by her distraught daughter. At first the police assume the crime is drug-related, the rooms torn apart as though the intruder were searching for items to sell for cash. But Elizabeth Creay’s corpse is inexplicably mutilated, although it appears this destruction is also the work of a drug-addled crack addict.
Arriving to interview the family, Detectives Darius Train and Jack Cassian find themselves seated in the mansion of a Washington power broker, the kind of wealth and privilege associated with the highest echelon of the Washington social scene. The imposing Lydia Chapin, Creay’s mother, wants the case resolved quickly and efficiently, the family name removed from any hint of scandal.
Thanks to fingerprints found at the scene, Train and Cassian make a quick arrest, a local dealer who offers a suspicious tale of a stranger he met on the day of the murder. The line to the dealer seems far too obvious, and the detectives are inclined to mistrust such clues. When the evidence against the dealer falls apart, the detectives are forced to dig deeper into Elizabeth’s recent activities and the Chapin family history.
Amanda, Elizabeth’s daughter, is still in shock, sedated and residing with her grandmother and aunt - Sydney Chapin, a law student who has returned home because of the crisis.
Sydney makes it her personal mission to learn what her sister was researching in case that information is vital to the motive for murder. To her detriment, Sydney keeps her quest quiet, afraid of embarrassing the family.
The action bounces back and forth from the police efforts and Sydney’s amateur sleuthing, as she discovers unexpected links between her sister and a terrible past connected to the Chapin family and others who wield great power in Washington circles. Thanks to Jack Cassian, Sydney escapes more than a few dangerous encounters, clearly in at risk because of her recent activities.
What appears just another random crime is far more sinister after all, an attempt to hide a series of activities and cover-ups that have the potential to topple the mighty and expose the powerful, unmasking the dark side of human nature that sets itself above society.
The novel stalls a bit after the initial bloodbath, but picks up in a complicated assortment of personal vendettas, the inhumane treatment of the helpless, the usual DC cauldron of suspicion, paranoia and obfuscations of wealth and power.
The Betrayed tackles a provocative theme, questioning exactly what decisions are made behind closed doors and who determines what is best for the future of society. It falls to the innocent and the dedicated to unravel the heinous crime that opens the novel, only one layer of an unimaginable betrayal.