If there ever was a book so difficult to write a review for – this is it. I was hooked by The Appeal and wanted to see if the second novel lived it up to. It did, but in a completely different way, I was expecting the same and got something totally different and it blew me away!
A famous children’s book, a famous author; Edith Twyford. Left on a bus and found by Steve Smith. It is 1983 and Steve can’t read so he takes the book to school to Miss Isles and she reads it out. Miss Isles is enthralled, the book contains a code and that leads Steve and his remedial English class to Bournemouth. Miss Isles never returns from that trip. What happened?
40 years later Steve is still puzzled by the mystery of Miss Isles, the book and what really happened. Having lived a life mainly behind bars, lost his wife, alienated from his own family and no longer part of anything, Steve wants to get to the truth. Although estranged from his son, he is given an old phone from him and Steve although still not as educated and well read uses it to record all of his thoughts and understandings of what happened all those years ago.
All the recordings are transcribed and this is what forms the book and we get to find out what happened to Miss Isles but also Steve’s past and how he has come to have been in and out of prison and the circumstances that have led him to record his past.
This is a complex book but fascinating and it draws you in and you find yourself being pulled back into the recordings and the voice of Steve. I admit it took me longer to get used to this novel than it did her first, but once I slipped into the way of the writing and the voice I was intrigued as the truth become closer and closer.
There are twists and turns and when the book reaches it conclusion, it had me wanting to go back and read from the beginning, knowing the ending to see the clues. A true sign of a thoroughly cleverly constructed mystery novel and I am still puzzling the final mystery.
If you want to try something different, it you want to be challenged, if you love word games, puzzles and have an understanding of language then pick up this book, you will not be disappointed.
I cannot wait to see how the author tackles this genre in her third novel, I know she is going to blow us all away with it.
The Twyford Code is out now.
The publisher via netgalley gave me the opportunity to read this book. However, I went an purchased my own copy as I wanted to make sure I experienced it as it was printed and formatted and sometimes with advanced review copies the formatting can be a bit off and that can spoil the impact of the book.