Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good as a holiday read..., 7 Jun 2010
This review is from: Twisted Wing (Paperback)
When I read the blurb of Twisted Wing in the shop, I thought I was in for something along the lines of Lewis. You know, something a bit challenging with a smattering of intellectual references. However, that's not what I got.

First of all, I'll focus on the book's good points. The storyline is great - someone is going around killing female undergraduates (who belong to a particular group of friends) at Cambridge University, and doing so in quite a horrific way. DCI Weathers is called in and asks his old friend Matthew Denison - a psychologist - to help him out. At the last crime scene, Olivia Corscadden was found in a catatonic state and it is thought that she witnessed the murder. But when she wakes up she can't remember what happened. It is Denison's job to try and get her to recall the information. The story is non-linear as it is told through flashbacks as well as what's happening in the present.

So the problem for me wasn't the storyline, rather it was the way it was written. There was next to no characterisation - the notable exceptions being Denison and Olivia. I didn't feel as if I knew any of the other characters - even Weathers, and he was one of the main ones. There were two characters in particular I would have loved to have known more about - Denison's girlfriend Cass and Weathers' wife Sally Ames. However, they only seemed to be there to keep the plot ticking along, and to demonstrate that Denison and Weathers' weren't so obsessed with their work that they didn't have time for relationships. Nick, who is a central character, seemed 2-dimensional, and I never really felt as if he was an actual person.

The oddest thing about the book was that considering it opens up with the aftermath of June's murder, the police seem more interested in focusing on Amanda's death, and as such, June becomes almost an after-thought. In fact, it's absolutely bizarre that as she's considered to be friends with Olivia and Nick, she's never at the bar with them or even spoken about during the flashback narrative. I started to wonder who on earth she was. It was about two thirds through the book by the time she came in to it properly.

There were too many unnecessary characters for my liking as well. What was the point in Danny? He was supposed to be a member of the main group of friends, yet the police never seemed to suspect him (why?) and he was barely in the narrative. Cass was also unnecessary. I knew absolutely nothing about her, other than that she and Denison had originally met at the cinema, and she was just someone for Denison to talk to after work.

Considering it was set at Cambridge University I was expecting a bit more intellectual content. Instead, I got cliches (yes, there's even a clairvoyant) and stereotypes.

Having said all that though, it was an oddly compulsive read. Even though I'd worked out who did it after the first thirty pages, I felt I had to know what happened at the end. And to be fair, the ending is amazing. I agree with Lone Voice (gave the book 1 star) that the author seemed to get into her stride in the final few chapters, and afterwards I just sat there thinking 'Wow!'. In fact, it's the ending which saves the book for me.

So, in conclusion, the book is badly written and constructed in a really confusing way, yet it would be great for a holiday read. It doesn't require much effort and it doesn't challenge anyone's thoughts or opinions greatly. The ending is great. It's worth reading just for that.
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