Twisted – Hannah Jayne – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 5 July 2016
When her father is accused of being a serial killer, Bex becomes the ultimate bait in this game of cat and mouse
Bex is ready to start a new life in foster care. There, she won’t be known as a serial killer’s daughter. Though her father was never tried for the murders attributed to “The Wife Collector,” he disappeared after questioning. And Bex struggles with the guilt that she provided the circumstantial evidence that convicted him in the public’s perception—and drove him to abandon her.
But when a body turns up in her new hometown, all signs point to the Wife Collector. Bex’s old life isn’t ready to let her go. The police want to use Bex to lure in her father. But is she baiting a serial killer or endangering an innocent man?
Twisted is a novel full of suspense and is downright creepy, but the plot and characters did not live up to the expectations I had for this book.
Bex has a lot to contend with. She has just moved to a new town after the death of the grandmother who raised her for the past ten years. A new town, new school, new home, new foster parents. With this new start she is trying to finally burry the old Beth Anne, daughter of an alleged serial killer. But keeping the secret of who she really is has her on edge. Does someone know? Will they find out? And then there are the odd phone calls and the notes and gifts being left for her. When she and her new friends find the body of fellow school girl Darla, Bex is scared that her father is back. But she’s not even sure he is the notorious Wife Collector serial killer…
This book’s focus is Bex’s ability to understand and cope with her father’s alleged guilt. There are plenty of flashbacks that fill in the details of Beth Ann’s childhood and the arrest of her father, the trial and his disappearance, interspaced with Bex settling into her new home and worrying about her secret being uncovered. Bex wrestles with a mix of guilt for being the one to turn her father in, anger at the whole situation, sadness for the women who lost their lives and the tiniest seed of hope that her father may have been innocent. The suspense and mystery start early on in the book, but I got a lot more invested in the story at the halfway point. Unfortunately I did not enjoy the ending and thought the last third of the book could have been wrapped up a little quicker and the suspense was effectively wasted.
Bex is not the strongest of characters, nor the wisest. She spends the majority of the book crying, worrying, freaking out, running away or vomiting. Understandable, as the whole thing is pretty scary, but still. She is also happy to let other people rescue her, while being ‘brave’ and running off into dangerous situations. This kept the suspense high but her choices grew annoying. I really felt for Bex and thought her situation was certainly worthy of being told, I just couldn’t connect to her.
The whole book’s internal focus on Bex meant the other characters remained two dimensional. Michael and Denise are Bex’s foster parents and they offer the only comedic relief in this tense novel. They are both laid back and supportive of Bex. I did not like Bex’s relationship with Trevor. At all. For starters he, like many of the characters are flat and I really didn’t learn anything about him or Bex’s new school friends at any point in the book. And then there is the fact that it seems like he and Bex have only just met when he declares that she is his girlfriend (thanks for asking?) and she has no problem with his assumption or high-handedess. Add to this that any time they are together Bex is completely focused on herself and her problems and it seems like he is just a convenient warm body to have nearby. Not the most romantic of relationships.
Overall, this book had plenty of tense moments and gory descriptions worthy of any horror film, but the mystery while at first intriguing did not evolve into anything nearly as exciting as I expected.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Themes: Family, fathers, foster parents, murder, serial killers, police
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Violence, descriptions of murder, death and injury.
Published: 5 July 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. 304 pages.