2.5 star

Review: The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin

To prove her father’s innocence, she’ll have to turn a killer’s sights on herself

When her father is accused of espionage and treason, journalist Jessie Kegan has no doubt the man she looked up to her entire life is innocent. Worse yet, before Colonel Kegan can stand trial, he’s found dead of a heart attack…but Jessie knows it was murder. Forcing aside her grief, she’s determined to use her investigative resources to clear her father’s name. But going after the truth means Jessie soon finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who wants that truth to stay buried with her father.

Protecting Jessie Kegan is a job bodyguard Brandon Garrett can’t refuse. Jessie isn’t just a client at Maximum Security—she’s the sister of his best friend, Danny, who was killed in Afghanistan. With dangerous enemies gunning for Jessie from every angle, keeping her safe will mean keeping her close, and Bran finds their mutual attraction growing, though being Danny’s sister puts Jessie out of bounds.

With their backs against the wall, Jessie and Bran will have to risk everything to expose her father’s killer—before his legacy dies with his daughter.

I guess romantic thrillers aren’t really for me – not that I knew this was one until I was too far into the book. Aside from that though, I could see how someone who enjoys this genre might like this book, so I’ll count that as a redeemable element. This is a relatively new book, and I just happened to come across it at the library so I picked it up; I really should have looked into it more. If I did, I’d probably know that it wasn’t the genre for me.

The Ultimate Betrayal is a romantic thriller but honestly the title is a bit hyperbolic. Having read many mysteries and thrillers, I would not consider this book to really hold the ultimate betrayal – but I digress. This story takes place in the USA, where our protagonist’s military father was presumably murdered to take the fall for some terrorist charges. As our protagonist continues to investigate into this potential homicide, she begins to face many dangers herself, signaling that someone wants her to stop her investigations and silence the case. She runs to her late brother’s best friend, who had previously promised her brother to always protect her, and who works as a bodyguard now. Together, they work on exonerating her father and solving the mystery behind this terrorism case.

As you might expect from the genre, a lot of this book revolves around the romance between our protagonist and her late brother’s best friend. The mystery portion of it was decent, heavily focused on the military side of things, and we meet many people who are all part of that food chain. As a thriller it was very fast paced and a relatively short book, so don’t expect anything to drag on. But because of that, I’d also say that the suspense was on par with the emotional turmoil of their “forbidden” relationship.

Overall, I felt that the romance part of it takes away from the suspense, as it really doesn’t follow through with either the suspense or the romance. If you like the idea of a mystery/thriller on the backdrop of a romance novel, then you might enjoy this one. Otherwise, I would probably suggest reading a book that is either a thriller or a romance. I felt that these two themes were really competing in this book rather than working together and building off each other.

There were a few too many characters (and their titles) to remember, and a couple of classic faux-pas, in my opinion, like siblings calling each other “brother” or “little bro.” I would say overall the story is quite well planned out, with not too many loose ends nor random bits. Unfortunately, being so fast-paced, it isn’t that well-developed, and the story doesn’t really have time to unfold, in terms of both the suspense as well as the romance.

I suppose that is the risk with picking random books, sometimes it isn’t what you were looking for. With this kind of title, I really was expecting more of an intricate thriller plot, and I didn’t get that at all. Luckily, it was a quick read, and honestly if you’re looking for a bit of a romance, it wasn’t the worst plot ever. Not sure I’d totally recommend this one though.

Overall Recommendations

The Ultimate Betrayal is a romantic thriller novel. Romantic because of a “forbidden” love aspect. Thrilling because of the backdrop of exoneration. Although it didn’t live up to either genre in my opinion, the story was well planned out, and things in general made sense. That being said, that isn’t often the formula for success for thrillers. If you enjoy military thrillers on the backdrop of a romance between a girl and her bodyguard, this may be the book for you. If not, I’d suggest looking elsewhere for your next read!

2 thoughts on “Review: The Ultimate Betrayal by Kat Martin”

    1. It happens! Sometimes my random library/bookstore finds are also treasures so it’s really hit or miss.


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