Twisted River by Siobhan Macdonald ~Goodreads~
Published by Penguin Books 2016
Paperback edition 272 pages ~Book Depository~
I was sent this book from ED Public Relations for an honest review.
“She would never have fit as neatly into the trunk of his own car.” Limerick, Ireland: the O’Brien family’s driveway. American Oscar Harvey opens the trunk of his hosts’ car and finds the body of a woman, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning.
Kate and Mannix O’Brien live by Curragower Falls in Limerick, in a lovely house they can barely afford. Their son Fergus is bullied at school, and their daughter Izzy blames herself, wishing she could protect him. Kate decides that her family needs a vacation, and is convinced her luck’s about to change when she spots a gorgeous Manhattan apartment on a home-exchange website.
Hazel and Oscar Harvey and their two children live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful and happy, Hazel has mysterious bruises, and Oscar is hiding things about his dental practice. They, too, need a change of pace. Hazel has always wanted her children to see her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe two troubled marriages. But this will be anything but a perfect vacation. And the body in the trunk is just the beginning.
I do love a gritty psychological suspense novel and Siobhan did a great job on creating enough of this suspense to keep me reading, despite it being a slow start.
The plot deals with an international house swap between two families from Ireland and America, and is told in third person from each of the family members- the O’Briens and the Harveys.
With books such as this its hard not to give anything away, so all I can say is this book throws several twists that I certainly didn’t see coming and my decision on who the killer was changed several times but the revelation wasn’t as mysterious as I got closer to the end which was a shame because I love being wrong about the outcome to these kinds of books.
However, the situation the families were in and their motivations were believable and grounded which made the read far less far-fetched than some books I have read within this genre- except murder of course. Some plots can get a bit over the top but this one remained realistic and therefore a good read.
I enjoyed reading the descriptions of both the American and Irish locations- I’m guessing the writer has visited both locations herself which again makes this book interesting and believable because of the great detail.
As for the characters, I couldn’t hate Oscar more if I tried at first but as the story progresses you do feel sorry for him and his wife Hazel. Mannix didn’t redeem himself for me, and I felt Kate was the strongest character throughout. She was a great mother and mother’s instinct is to protect their children and she did that brilliantly. Izzy was for me that kind of irritatingly smart mature eleven year old who appeared a little too mature for her age, a bit like kids today!
Praise to Siobhan, I will definitely be on the look-out for what she writes next.