Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

The clue’s in the title…

😀 😀 😀 😀

JT LeBeau is a hugely successful author who specialises in the twist. He, or could it be she, hides his or her identity from the world, and this mystique of course only adds to the hype around her or his books. She, or is it he, will do anything to keep his or her secret…

OK, every review I’ve read of this has started in basically the same way and now I’m adding to it – this is one that’s impossible to say much about without giving away too much, so this review will be short and not very informative!

It’s all in the title – this is a book full of twists about an author who writes books full of twists. It’s clever and amusing and a bit self-referential, in that it’s lightly mocking what it itself is. Cavanagh has fun with the twists and plays with the idea of authors using secret identities, not shying away from referencing the likes of JK Rowling, aka Robert Galbraith.

It’s very well written and the plot holds together pretty well despite the twists. However, it’s light on characterisation – it has to be really, so we can continually be surprised. This makes it a light read despite some dark moments. There’s no feeling of depth, nor does the reader get the opportunity to care much about the characters. The only one I built up any kind of feeling for was the local Sheriff who was investigating the… oh, sorry, can’t tell you what he was investigating. And not surprisingly, as twist piles on twist, credibility is the chief victim.

Steve Cavanagh

One minor irritation is that Cavanagh, clearly feeling that constant repetition of he/she, her/his, etc., would be irritating, chooses to use they/their instead – grammatically tooth-drilling to my pedantic soul. We really need to create a gender-neutral word. So, since the fault lies with the inadequacy of our language, I bit the bullet and forgave the author. Just.

Overall, I found it a fast-paced page-turner that kept me amused while reading, and will almost instantly be forgotten. That’s fine, though – sometimes entertainment is all that’s wanted, and this delivers well on that score. Recommended as a well written bit of fun.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Orion.

Amazon UK Link
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42 thoughts on “Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

  1. I started to read this a little while ago but for some reason it didn’t grab me. I’v Loved previous books so will give it another go. I did enjoy your review though 😁

  2. You’ve quite clearly had a much better experience with this one than I did. I felt it all became about the twists (I know, clue was in the title) and just ended up being utterly confusing. I think I even discovered a plot hole or two, though I can’t remember what those were now because as you say, not exactly memorable.

    • Ha! I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there plot holes and I just missed them! Definitely all about the twists, and if I’d been looking for something with a bit more depth I’d have been disappointed. But at that moment I was quite happy just to be entertained for a few hours, so it was a case of the right book at the right time… 😀

    • Thank you! 😀 I enjoyed the way he was kind of gently mocking exactly the type of book he was writing. I hope there aren’t many authors out there who behave like JT LeBeau though… 😱😉

  3. I have the same thing with using the plural pronoun, FictionFan! It’s very hard to work out what to do in these cases, and you’re right that we need a gender-neutral pronoun. But until we get one, I really do notice it – a lot! – when I see that. My poor students….

    At any rate, about the book…it sounds like an interesting experiment with plotting, and I can certainly see how that would appeal. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Haha! Your students will thank you one day when they publish their first books and reviewers comment on how good a grasp of grammar they have! 😉 Yeah, it’s odd that we don’t have a neutral word – it makes it very awkward especially now that we no longer feel comfortable just using the masculine when we’re generalising…

  4. You make me want to read the book, despite the lack of character depth. Great restraint on your part, since the book is full of twists, yet you avoided spoilers.

    • Haha – thank you! It’s not easy reviewing a book when you don’t want to say anything that might give it all away! 😉 Yes, the characterisation had to be flimsy so we could keep being surprised by the twists, so I forgave him for it…

  5. I have no problem with ‘they’ as a gender neutral pronoun; as Wikipedia reminds us, “singular they had emerged by the 14th century, about a century after plural they. It has been commonly employed in everyday English ever since then, though it has become the target of criticism since the late-19th century.” It can become wearing, I agree, but my take on it is Why reinvent a 700 year old ‘wheel’? But if a less clumsy solution than s/he is suggested I’d be happy to use it.

    I liked your heading for this review, Twisted by Steve Cavanagh, makes him sound like a ropemaker or similar! When my partner had her book published her then publisher rushed out publicity and catalogues advertising Help! I’m Being Bullied by Dr Emily Lovegrove…

    • Now that’s fascinating! I had no idea it had once been accepted – I’ve been complaining about it since about the late 19th century myself, so it might have been me that started the whole thing… 😉 I do find the whole he/she thing remarkably clumsy but I still hate “they” more. I think we should create something entirely new… like Gni – Gender Neutral Individual… 😉

      Ha! I did think this was a good title – in general I’m a fan of titles that give some indication of what the book will be like. After all, the title and cover are the first things we see, even before we read the blurb. Help! I’m Being Bullied is a great title too – gives a real idea of who the book is aimed at!

    • Hahaha! Yes, it’s not a book that inspires articulateness (eh? that can’t possibly be a word! *googles* It is! How appropriately inarticulate-sounding… 😉 )

  6. I have a copy on my shelves and you definitely made me curious about the twists now… I’m hoping to pick it up next month or so. Fab review!

  7. Whether I ever get around to this one or not (it does sound fun), I certainly enjoyed your review!

    Sadly, much of what I read is soon, if not instantly, forgotten. 🙄

  8. I’ve been meaning to read this book for so long! I love those books where you go in blind and completely unaware of what you’re about to experience, just like it seems most people did with this one. Your review has made me really excited to read it now!

    • This is one where it’s definitely better to know as little as possible going in, and since it starts twisting almost straight away it’s almost impossible to say anything about it without spoiling the fun! Hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

      Thanks for popping in and commenting! 😀

  9. I think you did a great job of giving us a taste of the book without spoilers! Not sure this one appeals to me – too many twists to keep up with – but I feel like I’ve still got a sense of it despite the fact that you can’t give much away.

    • Thank you! 😀 Yes, this is one you’d have to be in the right mood for – the twists are what makes it, even though he’s gently mocking the whole trend for twisty books.

  10. Hmm interesting. I read his book before this and liked it, but it was the character of the lawyer and ex-gambler guy that I liked (the one with the ex-wife he’s still in love with)-is that character in this one? Doesn’t sound like it…

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