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The Other Twin Paperback – Nov. 15 2017
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Could Matthew Temple, the boyfriend she abandoned, be involved? And what of his powerful and wealthy parents, and his twin sister, Ana? Enter the mysterious and ethereal Jenny: the girl Poppy discovers after hacking into India’s laptop. What is exactly is she hiding, and what did India discover…?
A twisty, dark and sexy debut thriller set in the winding lanes and underbelly of Brighton, centring around the social media world, where resentments and accusations are played out, identities made and remade, and there is no such thing as the truth.
‘Sharp, confident writing, as dark and twisty as the Brighton Lanes’ Peter James
‘Superb up-to-the-minute thriller. Prepare to be seriously disturbed’ Paul Finch
‘Crackles with tension’ Karen Dionne
‘This chilling, claustrophobic tale set in Brighton introduces an original, fresh new voice in crime fiction’ Cal Moriarty
‘The writing shines from every page of this twisted tale … debuts don’t come sharper than this’ Ruth Dugdall
‘A cracker of a debut! I couldn’t put it down’ Paula Daly
About the Author
- Publisher : Orenda Books (Nov. 15 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 300 pages
- ISBN-10 : 191063378X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1910633786
- Item weight : 260 g
- Dimensions : 12.7 x 2.03 x 19.69 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,532,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from other countries
On the whole I think the author was trying too hard to write a ‘sexy’ or seedy thriller, but there was nothing truly unique or disturbing in the book. The twists and turns of the book were okay and I hadn’t figured out who Jenny was (though I had figured out who the villains were), but it all felt a bit far fetched and it seemed like such a small thing to kill someone over. The psyches of the villains weren’t really explored; one is simply portrayed as a cowardly, homophobic man and the woman – ‘She Who Must Be Obeyed’ – is never given any kind of underlying motive or emotions. An easy book to read on a long train journey or on the beach, but I’ve read much better thrillers.
The Other Twin is wonderfully descriptive and places the reader in Brighton so effortlessly that I could almost smell the salty ocean air. The surreal and sometimes seedy atmosphere of this flamboyant seaside town has been skilfully captured. If you want a realistic read, you want The Other Twin.
This contemporary work of fiction almost feels like it’s based on a true story. If I didn’t know better, I would have searched online to find out if Poppy was a real person.
Poppy is trying to solve the mystery surrounding her sister’s suicide. She returns home to her parents in Brighton after hearing the news of her sister’s death, and to say coming back to her old life is awkward would be an understatement.
My favourite character was Matthew. Poppy’s old flame is unpredictable and mysterious and I found myself wanting him to show up as much as Poppy did. Poppy carries the entire story apart from a few chapters told from an unknown male perspective. I had no idea who this man was until the very end. This story was filled with so many twists and turns.
Speaking of twists… did I think I’d guess the plot? Yes, I thought I knew. Had I guessed it? NOPE! Not at all. I missed all the clues even though they were right there for the taking! I am someone who guesses everything. I accidentally ruined The Sixth Sense in the cinema for everyone when I blurted out the plot twist right at the very beginning. I hadn’t meant to say it so loudly. Anyway, I did not see the ending of The Other Twin coming. I don’t think anyone will.
I really loved being in Brighton and walking in Poppy’s shoes. I’m desperately hoping the book is made into a mini-series. I think viewers would love it. Please, please, I want to watch it!
Big fat five stars from me!
The Other Twin takes its central protagonist, Poppy, back to her home town of Brighton following the death of her younger sister India. But India’s apparent suicide doesn’t make sense. There are too many loose ends, too many things that don’t quite add up, and the more discrepancies Poppy stumbles across, the more determined she becomes to find out the truth.
There is a lot to love about this book. The plot works perfectly; the mysteries, the blind alleys, the red herrings which have important truths in them, too. There are questions raised – there were plenty of moments when I found myself thinking “wouldn’t it be easier if she just asked?”; but every time, the book came through with a satisfactory answer. The secondary characters are well-drawn and wonderfully individual, and Poppy is both realistic and likeable, for all that she occasionally dislikes herself. But best of all, I think, is the way the book merges form and content so seamlessly: that narrative style, first one thing and then something different, those plot twists, which direct you first one way and then another, they work perfectly in a book which is, at its heart, about the fluidity of identity, about people who are ultimately more than their biology or genetics or race or the gender they were born into.
This is a remarkable debut from an author with a fresh, intriguing voice and a rare mastery of the art of storytelling.
Now this book does touch on some very sensitive subjects. We begin with the shocking announcement to Poppy that her younger sister India, who she hasn’t really spoken to in years, has chosen to take her own life. Drawing Poppy back to her home town of Brighton, she simply cannot accept that the young and vibrant girl she once knew would have changed so much that she would ever contemplate suicide. The impact upon Poppy’s family is heart wrenching, the emotion Hay captures on the page as she describes their mother’s slow descent into a mental breakdown is beautifully and poignantly captured. We are also faced with Poppy’s personal dilemma and conflicted feelings as one of the key reasons she stayed away from Brighton, her former lover Matthew, is brought back into her life in a most dramatic and emotionally challenging way. This re-acquaintance, this conflict, plays around with her emotions, threatening to derail her investigations when she has scarcely begun but she is determined and it is obvious she will not give up so easily or allow herself to become too distracted.
I have to be honest and say that I had mixed emotions about Poppy initially. I couldn’t figure her out. What was the big secret which kept her away from her home for all these years, the one which drove her and her sister apart? She is a strong character, with some likeable qualities for sure, but there was a secret there. Something which she was not sharing. Something which for whatever reason led to absolute mistrust and hatred from people she had once called friends. Did this make her an unreliable narrator? Maybe, maybe not. You’ll have to read and judge for yourself. I didn’t not trust her exactly, but I admit to having to keep an open mind. I did admire her tenacity and resolve though and for me Hay created a very believable and relatable character, very important as this is the character who needed to carry the whole book. The one we had to trust to lead us on our journey.
But although the story is told mainly from Poppy’s perspective as she navigates the labyrinth of lies which have been constructed around India’s death, there is a second party involved in the telling of this most twisted tale. An anonymous voice. A man whose voice is filled with poison and hatred towards anyone that he considers different. And in a place like Brighton, he can find different on every corner. The story is based heavily around the LGBTQIA community, something which our mystery voice clearly hates, a message – the prejudice, the disgust – which practically thrusts forth from the page as he watches them go about their lives. Whilst Brighton may pride itself as a very liberal and free city, not all of its residents agree, although the true root cause of this anger and hatred may not be as obvious as it seems.
And then there is the mysterious Jenny, India’s friend. It is apparent from Poppy’s brief meetings with Jenny that she knows more of what happened to India than she will say, and she also knows the truth of the blog which India used to run, one which is closed down just as Poppy starts to uncover some vital details pertaining to her sister’s final months. But just who this Jenny is and why she was meeting India in a Gay club is not quite so clear. And what of ‘The Other Twin’ that the title refers to? Well this will become clearer as you read on, because it is finding Jenny and solving this puzzle which will lead Poppy, and the reader, to the most startling discoveries of all.
It is very clear from reading the understanding the author has around the subjects of social media and blogging, and the impacts, both positive and negative that they can have upon a persons life. We are shown, perhaps too simply, that India used her blog to create tension and conflict, but as all things social media related, the story is never quite so black and white. And Hay’s characterisations, both of the LGBTQIA characters and the prejudices of those surrounding them, are very acutely observed.
This is more than simply a story about the effects of prejudice and suicide. There is a dark and twisted mystery at the heart, one which runs through it from first page to last. It is also a story of family, of separation and of loss. But most of all, it is an exploration of the devastating impact that lies, anger, control and deception can have on a family. The ending is poignant and moving, the sense of acceptance and overall of freedom which emanates from the page a truly beautiful thing.