Twisted by Lynda La Plante

In brief: Amy Fulford disappears one weekend. As the police investigate, the life of the Fulfords is gradually revealed- and it’s not pretty. Is Amy a runaway or murder victim?

The good: There are some blind twists that I didn’t see coming.

The not-so-good: The first half of the book I found very slow.

Why I chose it: Have enjoyed several of Lynda La Plante’s books previously – thank you Simon & Schuster for this copy.

Year: 2014

Pages: 500

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Setting: England and some places you won’t expect…

My rating: 5.5 out of 10

I was really looking forward to a new book by Lynda La Plante. I’d gotten a bit sick of Anna Travis (the heroine of a number of her previous books), as she didn’t seem to be moving forward personally, even though the murders she investigated were interesting. (I haven’t read the last two books in her series though – please let me know if I’m missing out). Twisted is a new, standalone book focusing on the disappearance of teenager Amy Fulford. Is she a wilful runaway? Has someone murdered her?

The book focuses primarily on Amy’s parents initially, providing a different focus from the police investigation. Lena and Marcus are separated, but tell the police repeatedly that it’s ‘amicable’. In reality, it’s far from that, with Marcus engaging a top divorce lawyer to try to get what he believes is his share of Lena’s multiple businesses. Lena’s a very focused woman, primarily on her businesses, but Amy’s disappearance has left her bereft. Finding a diary that Marcus gave Amy opens another world to what she thought was her perfect teenager. Could Amy have been less than the perfect student?

The more the police investigate, the more confusing things seem to be. Amy’s room at Lena’s house is perfectly neat and organised. At her father’s flat, it’s chaos with more than a few unsavoury items amongst the mess. Who was Amy? Was she unwell? Did she disappear after cyberbullying attacks? Is she a student prostitute? DI Reid, leading the missing person investigation is really not sure. Then, people close to Amy start dying. Could Amy be the murderer?

This was a mixed book for me. I found the first half incredibly slow, focusing in immense detail what Lena wore, what Lena ate, what Lena did. DI Reid really wasn’t a strong enough character to tamper down Lena’s fixations and Marcus’s oddness. I felt like he didn’t have the leadership skills or the drive to hone in on the investigation. When the murder squad was brought in, he seemed to take their criticism lying down. He does redeem himself later, but I felt he just wasn’t deeply interested. The murder squad did speed up the plot, and I thought the discoveries around the diary and what it meant were the strongest parts. It was interesting, fast paced and I couldn’t get enough of it. Then the plot moved to another area entirely, and although it was useful for closure, I felt it was drawn out and slowed the previous momentum. I also found some of the dialogue clunky – Lena seemed to speak very correctly and precisely, but without the emotion I’d expect of someone whose daughter is missing and may be dead. DI Reid also sounded awkward in my mind as I was reading.

While the book as potentially an excellent storyline, I felt it was overly drawn out in some places which slowed the pace down. It’s disappointing, but I’d still be likely to try out the next book by Lynda La Plante to see if there’s an improvement.

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