Twisted, by Steve Cavanagh

Eight stars

Wanting a little more of a Steve Cavanagh fix, I turned to this standalone novel that proves to be just as exciting as his Eddie Flynn series. Built on an interesting premise, the story takes the reader through a number of exciting twists, while watching the characters piece together what has been revealed through a tantalising narrative. During one of their afternoon trysts, Maria Cooper and her current beau discover a secret. Maria’s husband, Paul, is sitting on a massive fortune in an off-short bank account. However, there’s more that leave Maria and Daryl gobsmacked. Based on what they discover, it would appear that Paul Cooper is actually the famous (and highly secretive) bestselling author, J.T. LeBeau. Maria cannot believe that her husband, who keeps her on an allowance, has been writing some of the most talked about books and no one has yet identified him. Worried that they will be found out, Maria and Daryl concoct a fake robbery so that Paul is none the wiser to their breaking into his office. When the police become involved, the pressure’s on and Paul panics, fleeing the house before Maria learns the truth, something she has yet to reveal. At the same time, Maria and Daryl devise a plan to ensure that the end of the Cooper marriage does not leave them without a nest egg. Maria’s soon attacked and left for dead. The authorities are called to handle the attack and Paul Cooper is the prime suspect in his wife’s attempted murder. While Maria’s in a coma, Paul has fled out to sea and is rescued from near death by a mysterious fisherman, who helps him recover back on shore. It is only then that Paul discovers the truth about the man who saved him and some of the more sinister things that he’s done. It would seem that the truth about J.T. LeBeau is more complicated than first presumed, something the local police discover as they search for Paul Cooper. His secret is out and he’s wanted for a number of murders and disappearances over the past few years, but Paul remains on the lam. As the race for the truth takes many a turn, the reader learns just how twisted things can be when Cavanagh is at the helm. A wonderful mystery that permits the reader to play an omnipotent role, where truth is an ever-changing commodity. Recommended to those who love a great mystery filled with twists, as well as the reader who is a fan of Steve Cavanagh.

I stumbled upon the work of Steve Cavanagh early this year and have not been able to get enough. While Eddie Flynn is a wonderful protagonist, I enjoyed this standalone that permitted me to see a new and exciting side to this thrill writer. Cavanagh creates a wonderful story with a handful of basic characters, turning a simple reveal into a masterful game of cat and mouse. With a story in which the reader knows all and watches things play out, Cavanagh develops his narrative and takes it in many needed tangents before returning things for the final reveal. Cavanagh uses his strong characters and dialogue to pull the reader in, mixing short and longer chapters to create sustained interest. Once caught in the trap, all the reader can do is ‘read a little more’ to get their fix. I’m now a firm believer that Steve Cavanagh is one of those versatile authors who can turn any plot into a masterful novel. If only I did not have to wait so long for more!

Kudos, Mr. Cavanagh, for another winning book. I hope to gather some more interest in your work, for other readers to discover and add them to their respective tottering To Be Read piles.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: