Twisted – Steve Cavanagh

IMAGINE if one of the world’s bestselling authors – up there with Stephen King and James Patterson – never give interviews or let people see his face.

Imagine you discovered the man you married was actually that author, and had kept the knowledge of his writing and his multimillionaire bank account secret from you.

Imagine further, that you discovered this novelist was so good at describing grisly murders because had carried them out in real life.

This is just two of several intriguing premises of Twisted, a novel that sets out to deliver the same blockbuster twists that the fictional murder-author is famed for.

In the first third of this thriller Cavanagh certainly does deliver, dragging us through the pages at breakneck pace, several small shocks followed by a mega-twist.

The problem is the rest of the book has nothing to match this, and what begins grippingly settles down into a story that – while entertaining enough for a crime novel – doesn’t fulfil our expectations and becomes increasingly far-fetched.

The story initially focuses on a husband-and-wife, happy in their beachside home, he spending a lot of time away at work while she potters around at home and embarks on an affair with a young stud from the country club.

The wife stumbles on her husband’s secret: he’s the world-famous, and highly secretive, novelist JT LeBeau.

Should she confront him? Run away with her lover? Or launch her own secret plan to gain control of her husband’s riches?

This is only the beginning of a story that sees several people killed, and asks us to switch our allegiance between varied protagonists without allowing us to really care for any of them.

There’s a great build-up, but after that mid-way twist the novel becomes a run-of-the-mill cat-and-mouse battle between the good and evil characters.

Another problem in Twisted, the reason why everything happened – a secret that keeps two opponents tightly entwined – just isn’t credible.

David Knights