I love a gritty novel with more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing. But I'm also pretty impatient when it comes to getting to the pinnacle of a story, which is perhaps why I enjoyed volume one of Twisted Dark: a collection of short stories, each with no shortage of 'I-can't-put-it-down' moments.
Deep, dark and twisted – every story builds in a way that gives you a rich, character-building context; yet you're still left with no idea of what's to come in those final pages. And fortunately for impatient moi, you're not left wondering for long. Quite an art, if you ask me.
If you think the novel sounds like it could be all too heavy-going for you, no fear. I myself have often muttered the line "It was a great read, but I've got to pick up something a little more light-hearted next." I think it's the juxtaposition of dark and inspirational in this volume of Twisted Dark that really did it for me.
Take Asbjorn and his son Koll in Routine, who play out a happy-on-the-surface father and son relationship. While Koll's childhood was plagued by the violence of his alcoholic father, we see that Asbjorn deeply regrets his old ways and adores his son more than anything in the world. It's only when Koll is tasked with hunting for dinner in the forest do we realise the true damage of his father's actions: he runs away, never to be seen again. A sad story.
We follow Rajeev's journey to carve out a better life for himself but it takes some unfortunate turns, like being tricked into a work camp with appalling conditions. But it's Rajeev's drive to "make the best of a situation" that eventually turns his life around.
After the camp's living conditions hit an all-time low, Rajeev decides to do something about it. Confronting the camp owner only causes him to get fired. So he organises a protest among the other camps that drives the morning rush-hour to a halt, quickly catching the attention of the media and the government. His actions changed the lives of his fellow workers forever, and his new-found power is just the start of things to come.
Sound like your kinda thing? Don't just take my work for it. Pick up a copy of Twisted Dark and enjoy those edge-of-your-seat moments – without having to wait too long for the climax.