BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:
1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.
After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…
Title: Twisted | Author: Steve Cavanagh | Publisher: Orion | Pages: 352 | ISBN: 9781409170709 | Publication date: 24th January 2019 | Source: ARC .mobi from NetGalley
Who doesn’t love a great twist? ‘Twisted’ is a book that sells itself on the fact that it has great ones. It’s right there in the title and it’s pretty clear that author Steve Cavanagh has spent a lot of time coming up with devious ways to trick and surprise his readers.
The set up is interesting. JT LeBeau is the world’s bestselling crime writer. His work is beloved by millions of fans but nobody knows his real identity. When a woman and her lover discover papers in her husband’s office that suggest he is LeBeau, a mystery kicks off that is filled with as much betrayal and as many twists as the title suggests,
Being a book about a writer, Cavanagh spends some time reflecting on the craft and on what makes a good twist. Reading the book I found myself thinking of truly great twists in novels and movies. Things like ‘Psycho’, ‘Fight Club’, ‘The Crying Game’, ‘The Usual Suspects’, ‘Behind Her Eyes’. It occurred to me that what the twists in those works have in common is that they change your perception of what has gone before. They make the reader or viewer reflect back on the story and characters and replay it with the new knowledge they have gained. That’s a really powerful thing because it makes you obsessively analyse the story. It’s why all the titles I’ve mentioned above are so memorable.
None of the twists in ‘Twisted’ did that for me. They change the direction of the plot, but they didn’t have that kind of revelatory impact. To put it simply, I never had a “whoa!” moment.
The other thing great twists have in common is that you don’t see them coming. You’re so wrapped up in the story that they hit you without warning. Because ‘Twisted’ sells itself on its twists I found myself constantly looking for them, so that when they did come, they weren’t that unexpected. Often, I’d spent so much time thinking about them that I’d already figured out what they were going to be.
The biggest problem though, is that ‘Twisted’ really feels built around the turns in its plot. The characters and events are just there to carry you from one twist to another. As a result, I found myself not caring at all about what happened to the people I was reading about. That is the kiss of death for any book, no matter how good the twists are.