Blog Tour/Review: The Other Twin by L V Hay

I’m thrilled to co-host today’s stop on the blog tour for The Other Twin by L V Hay and bring you my review of this enthralling contemporary psychological thriller. Be sure to check out the post of my co-host, The P.Turners Book Blog.

TheOtherTwinAbout the Book

When India falls to her death from a bridge over a railway, her sister, Poppy, returns home to Brighton for the first time in years. Unconvinced by official explanations, Poppy begins her own investigation into India’s death. But the deeper she digs, the closer she comes to uncovering deeply buried secrets. 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 find out about her? Taking the reader on a breathless ride through the winding lanes of Brighton, into its vibrant party scene and inside the homes of its well-heeled families, The Other Twin is a startling and up-to-the-minute thriller about the social media world, where resentments and accusations are played out online, where identities are made and remade, and where there is no such thing as truth.

Praise for The Other Twin:

‘Superb, up-to-the-minute thriller and an amazing crime debut. Prepare to be seriously disturbed’ (Paul Finch)

‘Hays’ impressive debut is a complex, twisty, disorienting tale that truly keeps readers guessing until the very end’ (Karen Dionne)

‘A cracker of a debut! I couldn’t put it down’ (Paula Daly)

‘The writing shines from every page of this twisted tale … debuts don’t come sharper than this’ (Ruth Dugdall)

‘This chilling claustrophobic tale set in Brighton introduces an original, fresh new voice in crime fiction’ (Cal Moriarty)

‘Wonderfully layered and gripping, I had to take breaks just to catch my breath’ (Jendella Benson)

‘A fresh and raw thrill-ride through Brighton´s underbelly. What an enjoyable read!’ (Lilja Sigurðardóttir)

‘Slick and compulsive’ (Random Things through My Letterbox)

‘A propulsive, inventive and purely addictive psychological thriller for the social media age’ (Crime by the Book)

‘Delightfully disorientating’ (Chapter in My Life)

This will stay with me forever’ (Emma the Little Bookworm)

‘A whirlwind of secrets and emotional turmoil’ (Cheryl M-M)

‘Rolls along at a heart-pounding pace!’ (Ronnie Turner)

‘A contemporary thriller with a heart of darkness … terrific’ (Live & Deadly)

‘Blinding, surprising and simply magnificent’ (Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles)

Format: Paperback Publisher: Orenda Books Pages: 300
Publication: 1st Jul 2017 Genre: Thriller

Purchase Links* ǀ
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Other Twin on Goodreads

My Review

The apparent suicide of her younger sister, India, forces Poppy to return to her hometown of Brighton to support her devastated family. Despite what everyone else says, Poppy is convinced India would never have committed suicide. Embarking on her own private investigation, Poppy attempts to piece together the events in the months leading up to her sister’s death using posts from India’s blog, online chat exchanges and social media contacts. Alongside these very contemporary sources, Poppy also tries to question the people who knew India – including the mysterious Jenny – but comes up against either obfuscation or downright hostility.

‘Confusion clouds my mind.  Every time I think I have the thread of a revelation, it unravels on me again and pulls me even deeper into its tangled web.’

As events unfold and Poppy gets closer to the truth of what happened – uncomfortably close from the point of view of those involved – she realises she may be placing herself in danger as well as she begins to wonder whether there is anyone she can trust.

‘And now, it’s as if I’m standing back, taking in the entire picture, comprehending, at last, how each piece fits together.’

It turns out there are some family secrets that people will do anything to keep hidden.   The reader gets a sense of this early on as the story of Poppy’s investigation is interspersed with scenes between an unidentified man and woman that have a disturbing undercurrent of aggression, misogyny and coercion. The backdrop to the story is Brighton with the pristine houses of the well-to-do juxtaposed with the much seedier, rundown side of the town. It’s a far cry from Poppy’s childhood memories of arcades and funfairs.

The standout element of the book for me was not so much the unravelling of the mystery of what happened to India, although this was well-plotted and satisfyingly resolved, but the character of Poppy. Not that she’s easy to like with her messy personal life of alcohol-fuelled one night stands and failed relationships, untidy flat and money worries following redundancy from what was only a supply teaching contract not a permanent job. (I would have to say the one wrong note is that Poppy seems a very unlikely teacher.) The author skilfully creates a believable picture of a troubled young woman with her own personal demons.  Whereas India comes across as a free spirit, Poppy seems more like a lost soul, still acting like she’s eighteen although she’s actually thirty-one.

As we learn more about Poppy’s past it appears her obsession with finding out the truth about her sister’s death is partly driven by guilt – guilt at her estrangement from her family, guilt at abandoning her ex-boyfriend, Matthew, at a time when he needed her most.  In her move to London, it seems not only did Poppy attempt to separate herself geographically from her unhappy memories but psychologically as well. Ironically, as Poppy delves deeper into the circumstances around her sister’s death, the family she relied on to be a refuge is revealed to be much less secure and cohesive than first appeared. Secrets and lies are everywhere and Poppy is finally forced to confront the bad decisions of the past.

I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Orenda Books, in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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In three words: Dark, unsettling, suspenseful

Try something similar…Exquisite by Sarah Stovell (click here to read my review)

LucyHayAbout the Author

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, and its follow-up, Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

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