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Wednesday 27 September 2023

‘Twin Truths’ by Jacqueline Sutherland

Published by Point Blank,
6 April 2023.
978-0-861542405-9 (PBO)

It’s a simple fact of motherhood that no man is ever good enough for your daughter – but there’s also no doubt that some men are worse than others. Belle makes this painful discovery when her twin girls Kit and Jess come home from university for Christmas, accompanied by Ivo, with whom Kit is clearly besotted. There’s something familiar about him from the outset, and it becomes clear that he has an agenda which goes further than seducing Kit. When Belle realizes who he is, she sees that he has the ability to destroy her happy home life and begins a desperate struggle to keep the skeletons in her past firmly behind the cupboard door.

What ensues is a first-class example of a psychological thriller in the domestic noir sub-genre. Jacqueline Sutherland gives us a family with as many traits and flaws as our own: Belle herself, contented now, but with secrets she hoped were buried; her husband David, easy going to a fault, with eyes closed to things he doesn’t want to see; spiky mother-in-law Morag, who lives in the granny flat downstairs and sees more than she lets on; and the twin girls, quiet, bookish Jess, the one with the common sense, and restless, outgoing Kit who lives in the moment. And then there’s Ivo, who exudes a kind of dark glamour which Kit finds irresistible and makes Belle uneasy from the moment he arrives.

Sutherland’s descriptions of wild swimming in the depths of winter could be a distraction if they weren’t woven in so skilfully; as it stands, they add an extra dimension to the story – and are so vivid that I had to reach for an extra sweater. They play a large part in bringing the small seaside town to life and provide a contrast with the more urban and less picturesque locations which are equally lifelike.

Above all, the story is full of hold-your-breath moments as Belle’s secret is revealed in flashback and Ivo’s threat to reveal it draws closer and closer. What will Belle do? If her secret comes out, will it turn her comfortable home into a house of cards and bring it tumbling down? Or is the darkness in Ivo’s own world enough to keep that threat at bay? Read it and find out. You won’t regret it.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Jacqueline Sutherland lives in Guildford with her husband and four teenage boys where she has a reputation for watching horror films from behind cushions and never failing to burn garlic bread. Always a fan of words and with a career in PR and Marketing, she is an alumnus of the Faber Academy. Her debut novel, Her debut book The Coffin Club, was published 7 April 2022 by Point Blank.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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