Recent Reads | The Twyford Code and Kill for Me, Kill for You

Posted March 28, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments

Recent Reads | The Twyford Code and Kill for Me, Kill for YouThe Twyford Code by Janice Hallett
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Atria Books on January 13, 2022
Also by this author: The Appeal, The Christmas Appeal , The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels
Format: Audiobook, eBook, Hardcover (336 pages) • Source: Everand, Library
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four-stars

The mysterious connection between a teacher’s disappearance and an unsolved code in a children’s book is explored in this fresh novel from the author of the novel The Appeal.

Forty years ago, Steven “Smithy” Smith found a copy of a famous children’s book by disgraced author Edith Twyford, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. When he showed it to his remedial English teacher Miss Iles, she believed that it was part of a secret code that ran through all of Twyford’s novels. And when she disappeared on a class field trip, Smithy became convinced that she had been right.

Now, out of prison after a long stretch, Smithy decides to investigate the mystery that has haunted him for decades. In a series of voice recordings on an old iPhone from his estranged son, Smithy alternates between visiting the people of his childhood and looking back on the events that later landed him in prison.

But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn’t just a writer of forgotten children’s stories. The Twyford Code holds a great secret, and Smithy may just have the key.

Janice Hallett has constructed a fiendishly clever, maddeningly original crime novel for lovers of word games, puzzles, and stories of redemption.

Janice Hallett has continued to cement herself as a favorite author. Even though this was technically my least favorite of her books, she still managed to pull one over on me and keep me engaged when I was doubting it.

THE TWYFORD CODE centers around Smithy, recently released from prison, recording audio files on his son’s old iPhone. The book begins with the transcript being sent over for interpretation. Smithy tries to find out what happened to his missing teacher from when he was a kid and how her disappearance may be connected to Twyford’s books. Is there a secret code in there? Intermixed in his investigation, he’s talking about his young life and how he ended up in a gang.

I was really intrigued by the initial investigation and the format – the story reads as if you’re literally reading the transcripts of audio files. I love a mixed media novel but this has less of the same vibe. Kind of reads like a sort of real novel, compared to her other books with emails, texts, and articles.

I lost interest a little bit toward the end but as usual, she brought me right back in with the twists! I thought the reveals were a bit lame until they weren’t 😉 Hallett knows how to write a layered and intriguing mystery. When you think you have it figured out, she finds a way to surprise you. I’m so sad to be caught up on all of her books!!

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Recent Reads | The Twyford Code and Kill for Me, Kill for YouKill for Me, Kill for You by Steve Cavanagh
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Atria Books on July 20, 2023
Format: Audio/eARC (333 pages) • Source: Publisher, Spotify Audiobooks
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five-stars

For fans of The Silent Patient and Gone Girl, a razor-sharp and Hitchcock-inspired psychological thriller about two ordinary women who make a dangerous pact to take revenge for each other after being pushed to the brink.

One dark evening on New York City’s Upper West Side, two strangers meet by chance. Over drinks, Amanda and Wendy realize they have much in common, especially loneliness and an intense desire for revenge against the men who destroyed their families. As they talk into the night, they come up with the perfect if you kill for me, I’ll kill for you.

In another part of the city, Ruth is home alone when the beautiful brownstone she shares with her husband, Scott, is invaded. She’s attacked by a man with piercing blue eyes, who disappears into the night. Will she ever be able to feel safe again while the blue-eyed stranger is out there?

Intricate, heart-racing, and from an author who “is the real deal” (Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Kill for Me, Kill for You will keep you breathless until the final page.

Phew, this book really took me by pleasant surprise! I was on the fence about reading it based on the premise. While the whole Strangers on a Train thing is cool, it’s not usually up my alley to read books from the POV of potential or actual killers. I like my mystery/thrillers to be about solving crimes rather than the MCs being the one committing them. (Maybe I have to rethink that a little bit and finally read THE KIND WORTH KILLING…)

As I said, I really wasn’t planning on reading this… and then the buzz got to me. I decided I was in the mood for another thriller this month and it totally hit the spot. The premise involves two women who meet in a support group and eventually decide to kill each other’s target. Both of their daughters were killed by predators who got off too easy. Doing it for each other ensures there’s no connection between the person who actually wants them dead and the person who did the killing. There’s also another woman in a separate storyline that has the reader wondering what the connection is; she was assaulted in her home when her husband was away for the night.

There are four POVs: one of the women (Amanda), the woman who was assaulted (Ruth) and her husband (Scott), and a detective working on the cases (Farrow). I really enjoyed reading all of them honestly and kept wondering what the hell the connection was between Ruth’s story and everyone else’s.

The reason this is a five-star thriller for me is because it was truly unpredictable. I did figure out one major thing but had no idea how or why it connected to everything else. There were just the right amount of twists and turns through the end without being overwhelming. I love how the author tied everything together and the timing of the reveals. The four points of view really added to the story, with two of them appearing a bit more than the others, and helped bring together all of the events in a fun way.

This book really made me think about humanity, revenge, and punishment. I think it goes beyond a traditional thriller in many ways because there are so many gray lines about these topics. You put yourself in their situation and try to figure out how you would react. Overall, such a great book with solid writing and twists!

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