Category Archives: Twisted

Review: Twisted by Hannah Jayne

Title: Twisted by Hannah Jayne
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mystery
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Guilty until proven innocent…

Bex has always been her daddy’s little girl. After her mother left, it was just the two of them. Sure he spoiled her with clothes and jewelry, but what father doesn’t dote on his daughter?

Except Bex’s dad is alleged to be a notorious serial killer. Dubbed “The Wife Collector” by the press, her father disappeared before he could stand trial. And Bex was left to deal with the taunts and rumors. Foster care is her one chance at starting over, starting fresh.

But Bex’s old life isn’t ready to let her go. When bodies start turning up in her new hometown, the police want to use her as bait to bring her father in for questioning. Is Bex trapping a serial killer or endangering an innocent man?

Review:

Twisted by Hannah Jayne is a suspenseful young adult mystery.

Changing her name from Beth Anne Reimer is just the first step for Bex Andrews as she begins a new life in Kill Devil Hills with her new foster family. Seven long months after her grandmother’s death, she is quite eager to leave behind the legacy of her suspected serial killer father. Dubbed “The Wife  Collector” by the media, Bex’s dad vanished before he could be tried for his crimes. However, due to the notoriety of the case, Bex and her grandmother were vilified by their neighbors and they essentially lived in seclusion. Now living with a terrific family who have no idea about her past, Bex’s happiness is quickly marred by a series of murders that are eerily similar to ones her father is alleged to have committed ten years earlier.

Bex is a relatable yet, extremely frustrating, character. On the one hand, it is impossible not to feel empathy for everything she has endured. She feels responsible for her father’s arrest and she continues to harbor doubts about his guilt even in the face of overwhelming evidence that refutes his claim of innocence. Bex is incredibly naive and extremely gullible which makes her very easy to manipulate. She is also plagued with self-doubts which become tired and repetitive as she constantly lets these fears overrule her common sense. These annoying traits along with her fears, nervous reactions, excessive crying, throwing up and inattentiveness quickly wear thin and make it virtually impossible to like Bex by the time the novel ends.

With most of the focus on Bex and her past, the secondary cast of characters suffer from a lack of development. Her foster parents are quite supportive and while it is understandable Bex wants to escape from her past, at some point, she should have confided in them and asked for help. Bex is quickly befriended by some of her new classmates but they remain rather one-dimensional. Her new romance with Trevor moves at lightning speed and although he is quite charming, his character also falls a little flat.

The mystery aspect of Twisted is certainly intriguing and Hannah Jayne does an excellent job keeping readers wondering if the current murders are, in fact, connected to The Wife Collector case. However, Bex’s continued belief in her father’s innocence seems highly improbable when all of the evidence against him is revealed. Some of the storyline is certainly eyebrow raising but completely implausible so be prepared to suspend disbelief as the plot unfolds. The conclusion is predictable yet satisfying since all of the loose ends are completely wrapped up. 

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Filed under Contemporary, Hannah Jayne, Mystery, Rated C+, Review, Sourcebooks Fire, Twisted, Young Adult

Review: Twisted by Laura K. Curtis

Title: Twisted by Laura K. Curtis
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: InterMix
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
Length: 309 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Lucy Sadler Caldwell is a successful true-crime writer. But the one story she’s never been able to come to terms with is the murder of her own mother–until now. She’s returned to Dobbs Hollow, Texas, the hometown she fled seventeen years ago, to finally expose the real killer.

After a bullet took out his knee in Houston, Detective Ethan Donovan found himself without a lot of options, which is how he ended up as Chief of Police in Dobbs Hollow. Lucy sure isn’t asking for his help–she’s not big on trust–but he can’t help feeling a strong desire to come to her aid.

And though Lucy is armed to the teeth, she will need all the help she can get. When she starts digging into the past, she unearths a psychotic killer who will stop at nothing to silence her forever…

The Review:

Twisted by Laura K. Curtis is a suspense-laden mystery that is full of unexpected twists and turns. This impossible to put down novel is full of unforgettable characters but it is the unfolding investigation that fully grabbed my attention and kept me guessing the killer’s identity right up until the story’s dramatic conclusion.

Lucy Saddler Caldwell is a successful true crime author whose next project is her mother’s unsolved murder. Her return to Dobbs Hollow stirs up a lot of unpleasant memories, both for herself and the town, and Lucy encounters plenty of hostility from the townspeople as she researches her mother’s life and tragic death. Lucy is pleasantly surprised by Police Chief Ethan Donovan’s cooperation and his willingness to provide her free access to her mother’s case files. When a woman resembling Lucy is viciously murdered, Ethan’s ensuing investigation reveals a series of unsolved rapes and unexplained disappearances of women in the neighboring vicinity. Unable to easily discern the connection between the old and new cases, Ethan and Lucy are in a race against time to unmask the deranged killer before he strikes again.

Lucy and Ethan are both carrying plenty of unresolved baggage and carefully hidden secrets from their respective pasts. Lucy’s secrets stem from her dysfunctional and unhappy childhood in Dobbs Hollow while Ethan’s have their roots in his previous career in the Houston police department. While the secrets themselves are not too terribly horrible, it is the emotion attached to those memories that make Lucy and Ethan reluctant to reveal them. While Ethan’s revelation explains how he ended up as police chief in Dobbs Hollow, Lucy’s plays a crucial role in the overall storyline.

The relationship between Lucy and Ethan is non-adversarial right from the very beginning. Lucy is not very trusting of Ethan but he soon proves to her that he really is on her side. There is a definite chemistry between them but their budding romance never overpowers the mystery aspect of the plot. I enjoyed watching Lucy let down her defenses and although they were slow to confide in each other, it never adversely affected their relationship. When it comes to the investigation, Lucy and Ethan are true partners, and they never intentionally withhold information from one another.

Seventeen years ago, the investigation into Lucy’s mother’s death was superficial and quickly abandoned. With little to go on, Lucy begins digging into her mother’s past and comes up with very surprising information that gives her a more positive viewpoint of her rather notorious mother. I liked that Lucy was able to gain a better perspective of her childhood and that the good memories finally begin to outweigh the bad ones.

The chilling behavior of two of the characters is revealed very early in the novel, but how their actions fit into the overall story is unclear. Equally perplexing are the seemingly unrelated crimes that Ethan’s research uncovers. The suspect list is a mile long and there are plenty of red herrings that throw the reader off track time and again.

Twisted is a riveting mystery that kept me up long past my bedtime because I just HAD to know who killed Lucy’s mom. I just HAD to know who was behind the horrible crimes that Ethan uncovered. Darn you, Laura K. Curtis, for the sleepless night but THANK YOU for a fantastic story!

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Filed under Contemporary, InterMix, Laura Curtis, Mystery, Penguin Group, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Twisted