Book Review: Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

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Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

Genre: Crime/Thriller
Pages: 337
Publisher: Orion Publishing
Printer: CPI Group
ISBN: 978-1049170709
Price: £7.99

Thought the last review took a while to drop? How about two months?! Glad to be back now reading more than ever – already onto my next book as I type!

At A Glance

Unnerving blurb addresses the reader directly, with almost no information given, simply that they are charged with murder, no one knows who they are and they’re coming for us. Gripping hook!

Plot

The plot is my favourite part of this book, though it doesn’t come without its downside. Covering the negative firsts, the books pacing to involve the reader during the first act is somewhat slow. It takes patience to work through the first 100 pages but after that, it all kicks off.

Twisted follows a three-act structure, using the first act to lay down the premise and characters, building up to the action which introduces us to the second act. Here, the story grows more complex, as the reader is introduced to revelations at small intervals. Now that the character’s lives are at stake and all their story arcs are beginning to collide, the motivation to read is much stronger – you want to know how it all resolves itself. You’re very much invested in their safety or otherwise.

By the third act, the secrets and twists in the story are revealed far more frequently, delivering big turns in the story that are concealed extremely well. For me, it’s some of the more impressive plot-twists I’ve come across to date. The ending is incredible and left me shocked but also completely satisfied, though would have enjoyed a chapter or two more covering the aftermath in more detail.

Writing

I enjoyed the writing. It’s atypical of a thriller with lots of reconfirming of details to reinforce ideas and short, staccato sentencing to build pace. Again, I think Steve does this great in the later chapters but I struggled to get going in the first act. This is where I feel the writing fell short.

Some chapters were polished and enjoyable to consume quickly when I only had a small window of time to read, but the slog to consume 100 pages of thriller to get toward any action or big revelation was tough. With crime and thriller, murder or some event that brings about significant threat and danger occurs within the first few chapters of the book. Here, it takes until 110 pages. Having said that, knowing the Cavanagh’s style, I would be better prepared for subsequent novels.

The dialogue was fantastic, especially between the police officers. The description of gore in later chapters was great and action scenes had me feeling appropriately tense, skimming the words at a few pages a minute. I spotted a few editorial level errors but that was it. Great writing, almost perfectly polished and really great at captivating a reader and planting necessary clues down on the page, knowing they’d be referenced tactfully later down the road.

Characters

This section is going to be a little cryptic because I want to avoid spoilers. In essence, most of the main protagonists that you meet in the first chapters, I couldn’t dislike more if I tried. For me, this added to the struggle of getting through the first 100 pages. I found myself guilty of rooting for the bad guy a small fraction. It was only when the police officers became involved that I was hooked.

There are plenty of twists in the plot, which are fantastically executed due to the developmental characteristics woven for certain individuals from the very start of the story. Again, having to be vague, those details blossomed brilliantly and they revealed very complex people. The antagonist was excellent and one of the best parts of this book.

I can’t help but feel, as a reader, we’re meant to thoroughly cheer on one of the female protagonists but, for me, her attitudes and demeanour were excessive, annoying and childish at the beginning, which made it very tough to relate to her and be sympathetic. Ultimately, I enjoyed the endings and came around, and have considered that if this were made into a movie, they would be far more likeable.

Conclusion – 8/10

 

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