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REVIEW: Twisted by Laura Griffin

Dear Ms. Griffin:

I picked up one book of yours after reading a slew of reviews by Jayne. Jayne’s not a romantic suspense reader and the fact that she liked several of your books was enough to push me to buy one of your books. One book was all it took to get me hooked. Now when the ARCs arrive at my house, I sneak off to read them before sending them on to Jayne. She mentioned that Twisted looked well read. We thumb wrestled over who would review this book and Jayne graciously allowed me the privilege.

Twisted Laura GriffinTwisted is a class Griffin book featuring a good mystery, competent detectives and slow unwinding romance.  New Detective Allison Doyle likes the look of FBI Special Agent Mark Wolfe despite their embarrassing first meeting when the two interrupt a convenience story burglary.  Mark is chasing down a possible serial killer.  Mark thinks that a recent killing in Doyle’s district is the work of this serial killer and not a traditional suspect.

Allison helps to convince her department that the recent killing is connected to another attempted murder and possibly to these other killings, all occurring in October.

Allison emanates an interesting duality. In some ways, particularly paired with Mark who has 16 years of experience on her, she shows a vulnerability and lack of surety (Allison knew better than to let all that alpha-male confidence have an effect on her, but it did).  But she’s bent on deserving the detective badge she had earned and her pugnaciousness and earnest attitude lends her a capable air.  She came off as a young, smart detective who was clearly destined to be great at her job.

Mark’s world weary demeanor wasn’t overplayed but provided the reader hints on how the emotional conflict would be resolved.  I also appreciated that two individuals whose training and job was to notice details, read body language also used those skills when interacting. Mark, in particular, was a profiler and Allison recognized his ability to read her non verbal communication but she also knew when he was lying:

“I have a federal badge. I wield influence in all kinds of law enforcement circles, including your task force. You’re a rookie detective.”

“So?”

“So, a sexual relationship between us would be totally inappropriate.”

“Inappropriate.”

“Yes.”

“That’s why you don’t want to sleep with me.”

He hesitated. It was only an instant, but it was enough. “No.”

She tipped her head to the side. “What is it, then?”

“You’re not my type.” She gazed at him across the car, and she knew—with certainty—that he was lying his ass off.

The serial killer suspense portion of the book is standard and probably the weakest point in the book. It’s not that it wast well thought out and that meticulous police work rather than crazy hijinks solves the mystery but rather there are so many serial killers in books that even the mention of one seems a little tired on matter how well done.

The blend of romance and suspense was good and the emotional conflict between Allison and Mark was multilayered but most of it relied upon Mark’s issues regarding his inability to stop working, his belief he was too old for Allison, and his conviction he would only end up hurting her.  Fortunately, Allison is persistent in pursuing what she wants – evidence to apprehend a killer and getting her man.

Despite this book being an entry into a longtime series (The Tracers) I think a reader would be able to start with this book without many issues.  The two main characters rarely appear in previous books and the mystery is self contained within this story.  B

Best regards,

Jae

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

12 Comments

  1. becca
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 14:35:59

    I very much enjoy Laura Griffin in general (although one of her books was a wall-banger for me, but that’s because it tripped a personal issue), and liked this one too. The resolution of the mystery was a bit weak, and depended a bit too much on coincidence rather than solid police work, but not enough for it to bother me. My only complaint is that I wish that Griffin wrote faster, so I’d have more of her books to read!

  2. Jane
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 14:39:00

    @becca – yes, all the meticulous police work kind of undone by the ending but par for the serial killer course. Definitely the weak spot in the story.

  3. Willa
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 16:33:16

    I really enjoyed this one . . . not my favourite in the Tracer’s series but still a B+/A- read for me. There were certain issues that were raised that weren’t totally addressed – the age gap and the question of children, which was a factor in the breakup of Mark’s marriage, but these were only things that popped into my mind after finishing the book – whilst reading it I was totally along for the ride ?

    I think a reader would be able to start with this book without many issues. The two main characters rarely appear in previous books

    Allison first appeared in Snapped – Aug 2011, the last book before Twisted, as a background character helping with the investigation and Mark has never appeared before.

  4. Jayne
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 16:33:49

    I knew that spine looked suspiciously creased when I got the arc! I just started this one this afternoon and am already knee deep in the case and only coming up for air due to hunger pains.

  5. Darlynne
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 16:45:00

    Jane, I don’t read romantic suspense for a host of reasons. That you and Jayne think so highly of this series tells me I should investigate further. Does Griffin include the serial killer’s POV in her stories? It’s a no-go for me and I will skip entire sections of books that read from that perspective. Weird, I know, for a lifelong mystery reader, but there it is.

  6. Jane
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 16:50:23

    @Darlynne: I this book I don’t recall there being serial killer POVs but there are scenes of a victim with the serial killer.

  7. Liz
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 20:05:37

    I normally really enjoy Laura Griffin, but I really couldn’t stand the characters in this one. Alison in particular annoyed the hell out of me. She comments repeatedly that she’s the only female in her squad and that it makes life difficult, but as shown in the quote above, she doesn’t think for a second about how sleeping with a co-worker would impact her career. She also doesn’t hesitate to to have personal arguments at work or in front of other squad members. Although she isn’t perfect professionally (yea! for a heroine who isn’t super woman!), she rarely takes full responsibility for her mistakes, and the other characters, i.e. Mark, don’t hold her responsible either. There is an interview scene where this is especially apparent; the interview is crucial to solving the case, and she’s a rookie detective who doesn’t have the experience to do it right. When she forces her way in, rather than comment on that, Mark says he doesn’t want the interviewee looking at her. In the middle of the interview she “realizes the complicated dynamic” she created by insisting on participating. And by the end she’s made another major mistake. But no blame is placed on her at all, and she never realizes what’s she’s done wrong. Hubris makes a character more realistic, but without correction, without growth, you end up with a character who’s annoying, rather than engaging.
    This is the first Laura Griffin I haven’t read in one sitting, and I must admit, I didn’t even read the last 30 or so pages of the book. I’m really hoping I’m not the only one who had some problems with the book. Anyone else?

  8. Liz
    Apr 23, 2012 @ 20:06:50

    @Liz: Whoops, forgot to add- all that said, I’m really looking forward to her next one. Kelsey is one of my favorite characters in the series.

  9. Willa
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 04:25:47

    @Liz:

    There is an interview scene where this is especially apparent; the interview is crucial to solving the case, and she’s a rookie detective who doesn’t have the experience to do it right. When she forces her way in . .

    This marked a crucial turning point in the story . . it pushed Mark’s emotions to the limit and made him realise how much he cared about Allison . . with her being put in that position. She didn’t force her way in .. . . as Mark said

    You were . . on an assignment your idiot lieutenant sent you on alone

    Also, the interview had the potential to solve the case but seeing as the subject was related to someone they were looking for it was pretty obvious he wasn’t going to deal . . and he didn’t.

  10. eggs
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 07:11:08

    This sounds good! The kind of book I would enjoy reading but, TBH, I would never have picked it up in a bookstore because the cover made me think it was YA PNR. The only thing slightly out of place is that she’s wearing pants instead of a prom dress in silhouette. I don’t know what the Next Big Thing in covers will be, but this misty-wisty silhouette girl and her birds are everywhere now.

  11. Jayne
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:02:30

    @Liz: See my review that just posted.

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