The Other Twin by L.V. Hay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Let me state an interest here; I accompanied Lucy on a recce of Brighton for this book and have listened to the evolution of it over the last two years. Even though I knew the nature of the twist, it still came as a shock. No spoilers here, however! Suffice to say that the nature of it drags crime fiction firmly into the 21st century for this reviewer.
I grew very fond of Poppy, the contradictory protagonist, in her guilt-filled search to find out the truth but also to atone for her own behaviour in the past. I could totally relate to her desire for her ex, even as she manipulates the situation to get closer to the truth. But more than anything, what resonated with me was the fucked-up family dynamic. Secrets are dangerous things and skeletons do indeed tumble out of the cupboard, whatever the attempt to keep them concealed. There’s a warning to us all, here.
Poppy is a heroine for our times; flawed, yes, but with courage and resolve and eventual self-knowledge. The character of India inhabits every page, much like Rebecca in the film of the same name. I liked the diversity of the characters in The Other Twin, this isn’t some antiquated cliché-ridden white middle-class milieu, this is the modem world. It rings true and possible in a world governed for the young by social media. It’s entirely plausible that Poppy takes on the search for India’s real fate herself: the police can only act on the facts. Poppy is self-contained and utterly lacking in self-pity, using the peculiar energy of grief to propel her forward despite the danger to herself. She’s very much in the mould of Smilla in Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow (one of my fave thrillers). She has autonomy, complexity and isn’t that bothered about pleasing others, and that’s so refreshing. More please.
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