Twisted by Robin Roughley
4.5/5 stars. A compelling series with strong, sharply drawn characters, an evocative setting with a seedy underbelly, dark humour, and plots that drag you all over the place and back again.
Would you stop a Good Samaritan from killing a killer?
When Sarah Palmer is attacked on her way home, she knows she is seconds from death. That is until a passing stranger miraculously appears out of the darkness to save her, before vanishing into the downpour.
All his life he has heard voices, his mother used to call them his imaginary friends. Now, he can hear only one, and it’s telling him to do bad things.
Amidst so much horror and death DS Lasser finds himself hunting a killer who has no moral compass, but when the true nature of the murderer is revealed, Lasser is forced to acknowledge that someone else sowed the seeds that bloomed into insanity.
As the killer runs amok, Lasser and the team must try to second-guess his intentions before more innocents are slaughtered. Though he soon comes to realise it’s not only the police hunting the killer, someone else has a stake in putting an end to his reign of terror. Someone who literally has nothing left to live for.
Twisted is the fourth DS Lasser novel and like its predecessors it’s fast paced, tense and thrilling in equal measures, though it seemed more violent and graphic.
While you could read this as a standalone, you’d miss the development of the characters and the relationships that add colour and humour to the gritty storylines. The fractious relationship between Lasser and Bannister, his boss, is a joy at times, picking up from where they left off in the previous novel. Lasser’s relationship with Medea is also a delight, especially when it exposes his self-doubt and hang ups.
With plenty of twists and turns, the story alternates between Lasser and the killer. The author always manages to get inside the minds of his characters, so you know and understand them quickly. His portrayal of the killer is chilling, but tempered with empathy as the tragic reasons that created him are revealed.
Lasser is bolshie, driven and relentless in his pursuit of killers, and almost perpetually soaked to the skin in this novel as the rain over Wigan never lets up. But that’s what makes this series compelling – the strong, sharply drawn characters, the evocative setting with its seedy underbelly, the dark humour, and plots that drag you all over the place and back again. The story started to drag a little towards the end, perhaps because of one too many twists, but it remains another enjoyable and compulsive read.
Looking forward to the next in the series.