“She would never have fit as neatly into the trunk of his own car.” Limerick, Ireland: the O’Brien family’s driveway. American Oscar Harvey opens the trunk of his hosts’ car and finds the body of a woman, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning.
Kate and Mannix O’Brien live by Curragower Falls in Limerick, in a lovely house they can barely afford. Their son Fergus is bullied at school, and their daughter Izzy blames herself, wishing she could protect him. Kate decides that her family needs a vacation, and is convinced her luck’s about to change when she spots a gorgeous Manhattan apartment on a home-exchange website.
Hazel and Oscar Harvey and their two children live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful and happy, Hazel has mysterious bruises, and Oscar is hiding things about his dental practice. They, too, need a change of pace. Hazel has always wanted her children to see her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages. But this will be anything but a perfect vacation. And the body in the trunk is just the beginning.
I hadn’t heard of this book before I was offered it to review but as soon as I saw the cover and read the synopsis I knew I had to read this as soon as possible!
I found Twisted River to be one of those books that once you start it, it’s nearly impossible to put down. I was hooked from the opening pages right to the very end. This is one twisty book – just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the rug gets pulled from under you all over again. I found this a refreshing read as I read a lot of psychological thrillers but this one was different to any that I’ve read recently.
The novel is narrated by the four main characters: Kate and Mannix O’Brien, and Oscar and Hazel Harvey, and each time the point of view changes the story gets moved on a bit further and another layer is added on top of the section read previously. I found that I was reading one character’s viewpoint thinking I had things all worked out and then I’d read the next chapter with another character’s viewpoint and I was left unsure what to think all over again. I loved this aspect of the book, it worked brilliantly well.
I was convinced fairly early on in the book that I knew who had killed the woman Oscar found in the trunk of his car at the very start of the novel, but once the killer was revealed I was completely stunned. I was sure that there was going to be another twist and this had me on the edge of my seat for the rest of the book wondering if I was right and whether justice would be done. I’m not saying anymore about this as I don’t want to give spoilers.
There are little mysteries linked to most of the characters in this novel and some become part of the bigger mystery and some don’t. This meant that I never felt that I completely knew which characters were trustworthy, and I was never quite sure whether I even liked any of these people. I could never get a grip of who the good guys and who the bad guys were but it all added to the unsettling nature of the novel and worked very well for me.
This is a gripping, nerve-jangling thriller of a novel and I loved it. I rated this novel 4.5 out of 5 and recommend it.
Twisted River is out now and available from Amazon.
I recently interviewed Siobhan MacDonald as part of the blog tour for Twisted River, you can read that Q&A here.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.