I haven't read a good crime novel for a while - that's not to say that there haven't been any good ones released lately but they don't seem to be landing on my "to be reviewed" pile at the moment - but after a few quirky, feel-good reads, I wanted something gritty, tense and unnerving to get my teeth into. I scoured my bookshelves and came across this copy of Twisted Wing by Ruth Newman, which was released in 2008. It was her debut novel but since then she has released a couple more novels and written or co-authored a wide and rather eclectic range of guides and self-help books.
But back to the novel at hand. I couldn't put this one down and raced through it in a couple of days, turning the pages way past my bedtime and almost missing my bus stop on several occasions because I was so engrossed !
The action takes place in the student halls of Ariel College in Cambridge where there appears to be a brutal serial killer on the loose. Nothing particularly innovative so far but the structure of the novel is what makes it original. The opening chapter takes us to the crime scene of the third victim, where a college student has been horrifically murdered and one of her friends, covered in blood, has been found catatonic in the corner of the room. Rather than following the police procedures (although they are going on in the background), the novel focuses on the work of forensic psychiatrist Matthew Denison, who is convinced that he can draw the identity of the killer out of the bloodsoaked witness's subconscious.
I don't really want to say much more about the plot because it will spoil it but be prepared for lots of twists and turns. A third of the way through the book, I was a bit disappointed to discover the identity of the killer. However, things are not always as they seem and several times, even as a seasoned crime fiction reader, everything I thought I knew or had deduced was blown out of the water. There were shock discoveries right up to the very end, which is why it was so unputdownable.
I've seen many reviewers mentioning the shocking violence but I didn't find it any more graphic than any other recent crime fiction that I've read, by the likes of Chris Carter or Chelsea Cain. It's certainly one of the better psychological thrillers that I've read lately.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6.99