Review: Twisted River – Siobhán MacDonald

About the book

Published: 18th April 2016 (Canelo)Twisted River

A tense psychological thriller about two families in crisis and a house swap gone terribly wrong

Limerick, Ireland: Oscar Harvey finds the body of a woman in a car boot, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning…

Kate and Mannix O’Brien live in a lovely Limerick house they can barely afford. Their autistic son is bullied at school and their daughter Izzy wishes she could protect him. When Kate spots a gorgeous New York flat on a home-exchange website, she decides her family needs a holiday.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey, and their two children, live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful, Hazel has mysterious bruises and Oscar is hiding something.

Hazel is keen to revisit her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe both troubled marriages.

But this will be anything but a perfect break. And the body is just the beginning.

My review

In the interest of disclosure and honestly, I must confess that I thought I had this worked out right from the start….but boy was I wrong, big time!

This is a cleverly written and plotted out psychological/suspense thriller that will literally have you stunned! It is clear from the outset that both families are having issues; Kate and Mannix in Ireland are having to deal with the bullying of their 8-year-old son whilst their 11-year-old daughter is feeling left out. Also, Mannix is trying to build up to breaking something to Kate. Meanwhile in America, Oscar and Hazel are having issues of their own so Hazel decides that a trip to her homeland of Limerick will help – however they are not as wealthy as they once were so opt for a house swap with Kate and Mannix rather than the lavish hotels that they were once accustomed to.

It is an explosive start to the book:

‘She would never have fit as neatly into the trunk of his own car. He presses two fingers against her beautiful neck. Just in case’

Twisted River is told from alternating narratives between the four adults and it is clear that they all have secrets – I spent a lot of the book feeling like I had missed something but it eventually comes together during the last 20% of the book. After the shocking start, this is a bit of a slow burn, building the tension through unreliable narrators – at times I felt a little disjointed from the book as I didn’t particularly like the characters but there was something that kept me interested – the last 20% is fantastic, the pace steps up and everything slots into place, so much so I actually went back to sections to re-read with hindsight.

A wonderful debut novel which I would recommend to psychological thriller fans. MacDonald’s second book, The Blue Pool is out in August and after Twisted River, I look forward to reading the next book.

Thank you to Canelo for my copy of Twisted River.

About the author

Siobhan MacDonald

Siobhán MacDonald was born in Cork in the Republic of Ireland. She studied in Galway, and worked as a technical writer in Scotland for ten years, then in France, before returning to Ireland. She now lives in Limerick with her husband and two sons.

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One thought on “Review: Twisted River – Siobhán MacDonald

  1. Pingback: July’s Round Up

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