Outskirts Press (2019)
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (12/19)
“Darkest Betrayals” by Bella Rayne is a murder mystery set in the present as well as the past, with paranormal activities.
In the present, Layla is dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, as well as the sporadic episode of time-travel to an unknown period of time when she relives a woman’s memories by the name of Aeryana. Meanwhile, Layla is trying to navigate through a less-than ideal marriage while keeping her attacks at bay, working, and planning an extravagant anniversary party.
In the past, Aeryana has become a fiancé to her lover, Wolf. Being so caught up in her affair with Wolf, she fails to notice that someone has been keeping tabs on her relationship, as well as all of the good fortune that has been handed to her. As a result of her ignorance, she is murdered by an unknown assailant. Back in the present, Layla is reliving Aeryana’s memories and is trying to decipher their meaning with the help of her husband’s friend, James. Who is Aeryana? Who is her murderer? Will Layla be able to solve this mystery of the past, in order to save herself in the present?
Themes of respect, love, abuse, vengeance, and self-discovery are all present in the story. “Darkest Betrayals” lives up to its name, with both main characters witnessing betrayal in their lives by those whom they least expected. While the storyline agrees with the title, the writing isn’t always in agreement with the story. It is worth noting that there are several instances of common grammatical errors. The writing came across as more for young adults, with a different style of conversation written for the characters than I’ve normally read. I would not recommend this story to be read by anyone younger than a young adult. Scenes of sex, adultery, and cursing are some of the reasons why. Also, with this specific style of writing, it didn’t make much sense to me why there was so much cursing, it didn’t seem to flow with the rest of the writing. Other specifics in the story were a little far-fetched, like how some of the characters didn’t give Layla a second thought when she told them that she was receiving memories from beyond the grave – this is something I could not relate to.
If you can overlook these points, the overall story of “Darkest Betrayals” by Bella Rayne is exciting and will keep you reading until the last page to find out all the specifics relating to the mystery of who killed Aeryana and who is now after Layla. Mothers, lovers, and those in relationship battles will be able to relate and help Layla through her circumstances.