THE SLAUGHTER MAN, CASSANDRA PARKIN
When her identical twin Laurel dies, seventeen-year-old Willow’s life falls apart. With her parents’ marriage faltering, she finds escape at her uncle Joe’s cottage. But even as they begin to know each other, Willow is plagued with memories of her sister. Then, Lucas arrives in her life – troubled, angry and with a dangerous past.
Joe’s cottage is idyllic, but the forest is filled with secrets. What is Joe hiding from her? What events have brought Lucas to her door? And who is the Slaughter Man who steals through Willow’s sleep?
As the lines between dreams and reality become blurred, Willow’s torment deepens. It seems as if her only escape lies with the Slaughter Man.
A dark menace creeps through the beautiful, often-dream-like writing. This is an exploration of grief told in an almost fairy tale setting – but not the Disney kind, the ones of old that were filled with darkness and warnings… I really loved this book.
HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY, AUDREY NIFFENEGGER
Julia and Valentina Poole are normal American teenagers – normal, at least, for identical ‘mirror’ twins who have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cozy suburban home.
But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn’t know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London.
They feel that at last their own lives can begin … but have no idea that they’ve been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt’s mysterious and elusive lover who lives below them, and even to their aunt herself, who never got over her estrangement from the twins’ mother – and who can’t even seem to quite leave her flat….
This modern ghost story is a strange one, with odd characters at its heart. The ending definitely leaves readers divided.
THE ICE TWINS, SJ TREMAYNE
A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.
But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity – that she, in fact, is Lydia – their world comes crashing down once again.
As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past – what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?
If I tell you this is a book in which very little happens, it will sound boring. No one could accuse The Ice Twins of being boring. Absorbing, haunting, heartbreaking and disturbing…all of those things, most definitely, but boring it is not.
So much of the action, though, happens in your imagination, and that is what makes this so clever and so very powerful.
It works on many levels, too. Is it a psychological thriller? Is it a ghost story? Is it a gothic tale? Or the story of a domestic crime? Somehow, this intelligent and complex novel manages to be all those things, yet never feels confused.
Each page you turn is the turn of a screw slowly, very slowly, ramping up the tension, as the Moorcroft’s marriage falls apart. As Kirstie/Lydia changes from one moment to the next. As secrets are revealed and conclusions jumped to. Expectations are built up that make the reader believe they are being led in one direction, only for things to switch around. The Ice Twins contains enough twists and turns to give you whiplash.
And the ending…how I wish I could tell you about the ending. It will give you shivers, and stay with you for a very long time. But you won’t mind being haunted by this clever, psychological ghost story.
THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER, KIM EDWARDS
It should have been an ordinary birth, the start of an ordinary happy family. But the night Dr David Henry delivers his wife’s twins is a night that will haunt five lives for ever. For though David’s son is a healthy boy, his daughter has Down’s syndrome. And, in a shocking act of betrayal whose consequences only time will reveal, he tells his wife their daughter died while secretly entrusting her care to a nurse. As grief quietly tears apart David’s family, so a little girl must make her own way in the world as best she can. The repercussions for each of the children, and their parents, are profound.
THE GIRL IN THE MISSING POSTER, BARBARA COPPERTHWAITE
Stella Hawkins was studying for a degree in psychology when her life was shattered by the disappearance of her identical twin, Leila, then 19. The whole family and all their friends had been having fun at her dad’s 50th birthday party when, at the end of the night, Leila got into a taxi and was never seen again. From that moment, everyone’s life revolved around one thing: finding Leila.
While her parents fell apart with grief, Stella stepped up. She dropped out of university and became a conduit between her parents, the police, and the press. As the 25th anniversary of Leila’s disappearance approaches, Stella comes to realise that while the rest of the world has moved on, her life has become stuck. She still lives in the same house she grew up in, despite her parents’ deaths; she doesn’t trust people, has barely any friends, and definitely no romantic partner; she avoids looking in the mirror because she sees her face ageing and leaving her sister behind. Stella can’t move on until she solves the mystery of what happened to her identical twin.
24 June, 1994 – Nineteen-year-old Leila Hawkins runs from her father’s birthday party into the stormy night wearing her sister Stella’s long red coat. Some say she was crying, others swear they saw her get into a passing car. Nobody ever saw her again. Present – This time every year, on the anniversary of that fateful night, Stella decorates the small seaside town she grew up in with pictures of her identical twin. But after twenty-five years, is it even worth hoping someone will come forward? Perhaps the upcoming documentary will spark people’s memories by reuniting all the guests who were there the night Leila went missing. As old friends gather and long-buried secrets begin to surface, the last thing Stella ever expects is a direct response from someone claiming they took Leila. They want private details of Stella’s life in return for answers. But as the true events of the night of the party play out once again, who is lying? And who is next?
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Readers’ reaction to THE GIRL IN THE MISSING POSTER:
‘OMG… had me madly reading, hanging on to every word, frantically wanting to know what happened next. Boy oh boy, that ending!… Bloody brilliant!’ Nicki’s Book Blog, 5 stars ‘You MUST read this… mind-blowing… truly astonishing… captivating, engrossing and riveting.’ Blue Pink Books, 5 stars ‘Fantastic… I raced through it, desperate to know the truth. A brilliant and shocking thriller!’ Lauren North, author of The Perfect Betrayal ‘Blooming fantastic… superb… one hell of a rollercoaster ride.’ Beady Jans Books, 5 stars ‘OMG… gripping… will have you guessing until the very end… WOW…incredible… sure to have you on the edge of your seat.’ Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, 5 stars ‘Wow, and wow again. I really, really loved this… mind-blowing.’ Nicki’s Life of Crime, 5 stars ‘Hooked and completely gripped from the very first page to the unexpected twist that I definitely didn’t see coming.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars ‘OMG!!!!!… Awesome. I loved, loved, loved that ending… a head-banger of a twist.’ Blue Moon Blogger, 5 stars