One of the problems with reviewing novels with twists is that those twists can really make or break a story but it’s very very difficult to talk about them without dropping spoilers. That’s a tough one and a problem that’s really stymied me here, hence me mulling over this review for a few days.
Christopher Kellan is a committed doctor, a devoted family man and a very likeable character. From the beginning I liked his tone, his dialogue and the way this character was put forward allowed me to be sympathetic to his problems at the same time as questioning some of his actions. So far, so good.
Kellan is assessing a patient, Donny Ray Smith, who is accused of murdering ten young girls. Despite his role as a father and his own general (unrelated) day-to-day fears for his young son, Kellan is able to put any abhorrence to one side and focus on the professional role that lies ahead. Initially.
As Kellan gets to know Donny more there are more and more things that just don’t seem to add up. Kellan begins to find it harder to leave his work at the door and his home life becomes affected. Gradually we being to find out that there are bigger issues that might be affecting Kellan than a troublesome patient.
This is where – I’ll admit – my review is going to fall down a bit. I can’t talk about Kellan’s troubles or the twists that begin to develop without dropping a spoiler (or two). Needless to say, as even the title itself – Twisted – suggests, this story is far from a straight road. There are so many ways this story develops – the events, Kellan’s feelings, the feeling that we are only getting one side of the story – that this becomes a very involved tale, while at the same time keeping a fast pace. That in itself impressed me.
The area that let Twisted down for me was the ending. Once again, I’m struggling to articulate my thoughts without giving major MAJOR spoilers away. What I will say is that for a book that took us on a complex and involving journey, the final events and ‘resolution’ (though that’s quite an ineffectual word, so forgive me) does some to wrap up rather quickly. I can see why: I’m sure the author felt it would impact somewhat on the drama of the story to dwell too long on the ending and the whys and wherefores. I, for one, would have appreciated it, though. With so much tension and drama so brilliantly built up and executed, a little tapering down might have allowed me to appreciate it just that little bit more.
I wavered between a three and a four but in the end the four won out. This book kept me hooked throughout so I can’t deny the impact of the initial 90-95% for the sake of a final few pages that could have been extended a little further. To do that would be to deny how effective, chilling and unnerving this clever thriller is during the vast majority of the book.