THE OTHER TWIN by LUCY V HAY
Published by Orenda 3rd July 2017
I think I physically stopped breathing for a moment when I saw the front cover for this novel. That and the fact it is published by Orenda who are super talented at publishing fantastic books and from whom I know I am always going to get a book that is well written and original. And, as if that wasn't enough, it's Lucy Hay - super talented author, script editor, blogger and also pretty impressive at chairing panel events from what I saw at Crime Fest. Phew. Highly anticipated read? Just a little!
The Other Twin is about Poppy, returning to Brighton for the first time in years following the news of the death of her sister India. Dying from a fall from a railway bridge, Poppy is not convinced by this official explanation about India's death. She digs deeper and deeper in search for the truth but as she does, she finds herself uncovering secrets that have been very deeply buried. Just who is involved in India's death? Who is Jenny and what part did she play in her sister's life or death? And is Poppy prepared for the journey her search for truth will take her on?
I think the most important and obvious thing to say about this novel is that it is possibly the most contemporary and relevant novel I have read for a while. Hay's ability to capture the complexities within society, between social groups both online and real, is utterly authentic. I am impressed with how she creates characters who are diverse, recognisable, flawed, interesting and always so real that every line feels completely believable. Hay doesn't give you a chance to settle into the story gently, the reader is thrown in from the first line as if jumping on the train at the last minute just before the doors shut and having to quickly work out who else is in the carriage, where they are sitting and how they relate to each other.
I think she just wants to ensure that you don't draw breath at any point in the book and miss your stop because you are so fascinated by the story that is unfolding in front of you, layer by layer by layer. I must admit to feeling a sense of confusion at the beginning of the book but actually, I'm sure it's deliberate to unsettle me, to transport me out of my comfort zone, to challenge me and to make me turn the pages with real, genuine interest as to where this story might go and where the characters were taking me next.
The novel is set in Brighton and this is the perfect location for the issues and themes explored in this book. I have been to Brighton several times and although my experience is much more tame compared with the Brighton Hay captures, her writing is very evocative. The way she captures the sense of place exaggerates the sense of time and that this story is set in the absolute up-to-the-minute present day.
The incorporation of social media was also very effective. I am really intrigued to see how authors are beginning to incorporate the online world into their novels. The inclusion of India's blog posts is recreated with specific detail including the comments from the followers. The detail not only makes it very authentic but also adds more tension to the plot. Poppy's use of India's laptop and her investigation and searching of emails is not there as a token nod to the modern day world, it's there to add to the grim and gritty reality of the story. It's used cleverly and with thought. It generates more tension and suspense.
This book is complex, multilayered, full of dynamic characters and Hay's writing is excellent yet intense. It was an impressive debut and quite stunning really in all it achieves. The exploration of issues such as siblings, identity, social media and truth are thoroughly tested. The Other Twin is a novel that is fresh, original, bursting with energy, vitality, truth and raw honesty.
As others have said, this thriller is compulsive, addictive, fascinating and inventive. I recommend!
But don't just take my word for it! Follow the Blog Tour and see what all these other fantastic bloggers are saying about The Other Twin!
LUCY V HAY
Lucy V. Hay 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. Lucy is also an author, writing both screenwriting books and crime fiction.
For more recommendations and reviews follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 or via my website bibliomaniacuk.co.uk