lørdag den 23. oktober 2010

Ruth Newman, Twisted Wing (2009)

This British debut takes place in Cambridge, or in Ariel College, to be precise – a college for the privileged few who for once get into trouble money cannot just conjure away.

Did you know that a twisted wing is a parasitical insect that takes over the abdomen of its host, e.g. a wasp? In this novel it is used as a symbol for one of the characters, and the title suits the story with all its twists and turns.

The novel begins near the end with the third murder committed by a serial killer who selects bright, female students and mutilates them horribly. What is different about the third crime is that the police find one of the male students, Nick Hardcastle, in a precarious situation with the body, and his girlfriend Olivia Corscadden next to it, too shocked to speak for weeks.

The rest of the story moves between flashbacks where we get to know the group of young students and the relations between them, and sections where we follow DCI Weathers and Matt Denison, the psychiatrist who treats Olivia during her stay in the institution Coldhill.

The academic setting is very well done by Newman who is a former Cambridge student herself. The story is exciting, and on the whole the characters are credible (though not all likeable), especially the young students. As other reviewers have mentioned, the two protagonists, Denison and Weathers, are not quite as rounded characters, and their friendship did not strike me as convincing either. Throughout their long friendship, they must have experienced the schism between Denison´s concern for his clients and Weathers´ agenda of bringing someone to trial before.

Well, one minor flaw in what is otherwise a well-written and very convincing debut. There are a few scenes which describe the mutilation of the victims, but the book as such did not strike me as off-putting or very graphic.

The book was a gift from Maxine whose review you can read here.

15 kommentarer:

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Oooh, an academic setting. That got my attention right away :-). And I'm intrigued by the timeline of the story. It's not always easy to create that kind of timeline where a story begins partway through the events, but it sounds as though Newman succeeded.

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: I can see that this must be one for you. Academic, but probably still different from your world. Maxine found the first third slow, but I didn´t mind.

Mason Canyon sagde ...

This sounds intriguing. I'll have to add this to my wish list.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Dorte H sagde ...

Mason: good idea. It is a great debut.

Kelly sagde ...

How fascinating!! Did you already know that about the insect or did it explain it in the novel?

I believe this one will go on my wish list. (which is now getting nearly as big as my TBR stack!)

Clarissa Draper sagde ...

THese are the types of books I prefer to read so thank you!

CD

Alyce sagde ...

I had no idea what a twisted wing was.

Dorte H sagde ...

Kelly: no, I learnt it in the book.

Clarissa: it is certainly also my kind of book!

Alyce: I also think that such titbits of information are fascinating.

Maxine sagde ...

Excellent review, Dorte, I am glad you enjoyed the book. Apparently her second novel is very good, I read somewhere.....

Dorte H sagde ...

Maxine: I think it was an excellent debut, thank you. And good to hear she is keeping it up.

pattinase (abbott) sagde ...

Love the cover and setting.

Dorte H sagde ...

Patti: me too, and in my opinion the cover suits the book.

....Petty Witter sagde ...

What a wonderful cover. A great review Dorte - it sounds like the author managed well with what sounds like a complicated timeline, not an easy thing to do, I wouldn't have thought.

Dorte H sagde ...

Tracy: I agree that the plot must be demanding. Considering that it is a debut, I think she has a very fine grip of the genre.

Beth F sagde ...

I too like the academic setting!