Monday, April 18, 2016
“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 autistic 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. -- Penguin
It sure seems like I'm reading a lot of psychological thrillers lately! These books have been hot ever since the success of GONE GIRL, and I'm always looking for new ones. The latest thriller I enjoyed was TWISTED RIVER by Siobhan MacDonald. This book had a great premise and I was impressed with the author's writing too!
TWISTED RIVER tells the story of two families, one in New York and one in Ireland, who decide to do a house swap for their family vacations. Mannix and Kate O'Brien live in a beautiful house in Limerick, and they are having a hard time making ends meet. In addition, their young autistic son is being bullied at school, and his sister is frustrated that she can't do more to help. Kate decides that a vacation is just what they need, and she is thrilled when she finds a luxury Manhattan apartment to "swap."
Meanwhile, Hazel and Oscar Harvey live on the Upper West Side in an amazing apartment. They seemingly have it all, but Hazel is hiding that her husband likes to take his frustrations out on her. Hazel decides that her children should see where she grew up in Limerick, so she thinks the O'Brien's house is perfect for their family. Needless to say, both families are hoping their vacations ease their troubles and get their lives back on track.
However, things take a tragic turn -- can't say much more than that because it would spoil the plot! Tensions build as secrets are revealed about both marriages, and the pace of the story gradually increases until the final shocking conclusion.
I enjoyed TWISTED RIVER quite a bit, although I can't say that it will go down as one of my favorite psychological suspense stories. The premise was pretty strong and the characters were interesting; however, there were times when I felt as if I were being manipulated by the author. Having said that, I do understand the choices she made in what she revealed and when because these surprises packed a powerful punch!
One thing I appreciated about this novel was how the story was told. The chapters not only alternated between families, but they also alternated between various characters in the story. I liked getting the different characters' viewpoints, and the way Ms. MacDonald wrote each of these chapters definitely helped build the story's suspense. By using the various characters to move along the story, the reader is continually surprised by what is revealed.
Probably my favorite parts of the novel were the ones that look place in Limerick. Maybe it's because I have visited Ireland, but I felt as if the author did a great job of bringing the area to life for readers. I also just felt as if the story seemed more real in these scenes, like maybe the author was more in her comfort zone when writing about the struggles that were occurring in Ireland.
Overall, TWISTED RIVER is an exciting suspense story with plenty of shocking twists. I most definitely recommend this novel to fans of psychological suspense stories.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.