Today my review is of The Other Twin by Lucy V Hay.
Recently published by Orenda Books, The Other Twin is described as an ‘up-to-the-minute thriller about the social-media world’
The Other Twin tells the story of a young lady called India whose tragic and untimely death reveals a seedier side to life in the party scene of Brighton.
Please do read on for my thoughts….
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.
‘I awake, ravenous, in the early evening. Winter darkness forms at the window. Head banging, I sit up. I’m in a tangle of sheets on the floor; I’ve rolled off my grubby futon. As I reach for my phone, a sharp pain shoots down my neck and through my shoulders. Getting too old for this shit’
This is the day that life changes for Poppy. Somewhat estranged from her family for a number of years, Poppy awakes, severely hung-over, in a shabby flat in London to an alarming number of missed messages on her mobile. It’s her mother, with the life-shattering news that India, Poppy’s younger sister, is dead.
Poppy immediately returns home to Brighton, a place she hasn’t ventured to for a number of years. Brighton holds many memories for Poppy. She left under circumstances that don’t become clear until the book progresses. From the beginning, Poppy is unwilling to accept the verdict for India’s death. The official line is that India chose to jump off a bridge, committing suicide but Poppy knows her sister and is convinced that there is something more sinister involved.
Poppy makes the decision to search out for herself the reason for India’s untimely death, which leads her into a different world, the underbelly of a Brighton she no longer recognises.
There is a very menacing element to The Other Twin, with the ever present narrative of a male character whose story is slowly revealed. He appears to be dominated by a very strong, dare I say, frightening woman. Their relationship is very unclear throughout the book until the latter pages and, to be honest, I had absolutely no idea where that story was heading. Lucy V Hay introduces a very strong psychological aspect to the book through the use of this narrative. There is slow build up to quite a shocking climax, unveiling some very twisted personalities, with a disquieting story to tell.
Brighton has changed for Poppy. India was a blogger and Poppy soon starts to unravel clues from recent blog posts that India had published in the lead up to her tragic death. As Poppy searches for answers she comes in contact with people with very sad stories to tell, people who feel constantly challenged by the world we now live in. The harmful impact of social media is a very relevant topic today, making The Other Twin a very pertinent read. The book is laid out in short snappy chapters, making it a fast paced novel, with online conversations played out on the pages.
I really wanted to be by Poppy’s side as she figured out what happened to India, but I just found myself getting a little irritated by her actions and attitude. There was an immaturity in some of her behaviour that belied her age. As she is the main character in the novel, my lack of connection with her affected my overall view of the book. I do honestly think that this is a book I would position in the Young Adult genre, with the very relevant themes of social media and identity/gender/sexuality running throughout the storyline.
The Other Twin is a book garnering very positive reviews across the reading and writing world, with crime writer Peter James quoted as saying ~ ‘Sharp, confident writing, as dark and twisty as the Brighton Lanes.’ With a multitude of 4* and 5* reviews notched up, I have no doubt that this is a novel that will do very well indeed.
I have an extract from the novel which you can read HERE from my stop on the tour a few weeks back and to buy….
Purchase Link ~ The Other Twin
Meet 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, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays.
She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.
Website ~ http://www.lucyvhayauthor.com/
Twitter ~ @LucyVHayAuthor