THE TWISTED THREAD by Charlotte Bacon

Book Quote:

Then he decided Kayla deserved as close to the truth as he could get.

“Sometimes,” he said. “Some of them don’t deserve the education they’re getting. They think things will always go easily for them. That they’ll always get their way. Some of them have a lot of money, but they don’t have much more than that, especially parents who think twice about them. And some of them are nice kids, smart kids. I don’t know, Kayla. They’re a mixed bag, like people everywhere.”

Book Review:

Review by Katherine Petersen  SEP 3, 2011)

Voice, an Hyperion imprint, marketed Charlotte Bacon’s The Twisted Thread as a mystery, but it’s more a mainstream novel with elements of suspense. The action takes place at Armitage Academy, a prestigious boarding school for children of the rich and a few scholarship students from the surrounding, and much poorer, community. Much of the mystery surrounds the death of Claire Harkness, one of the most popular girls in the school. She is found, naked in her room, showing signs of recently giving birth. Not only had no one realized her pregnancy, but where is the missing baby? And why did she feel she had to keep it a secret in the first place?

These are the questions that fuel the storyline and about which there is much speculation. Two of the characters who play key roles in the investigation are detective Matt Corelli, a scholarship student at Armitage who broke the mold to enter the police force in Philadelphia but returned home in hopes of less grisly crime. And Madeline Christopher, an intern in Armitage’s English department, finds herself smack in the middle of the investigation because of her allegedly closer relationship to the students and her innate curiosity. Bacon gives life to her characters especially Madeline, whose faults —- she’s a bit of a klutz —- endears her to readers. Corelli, too, rings true with his ability to see both sides, having attended Armitage but who grew up locally. These characters, with their very humanness, lend credibility to Bacon’s story.

Although not part of the story per se, Bacon does a nice job of building Claire’s character, so we get to know her almost better than some of the fairly well-developed supporting cast members. Bacon uses multiple alternating viewpoints to tell her story, a method that introduces different voices but also gives us varying viewpoints.

The Twisted Thread has a number of layers. On the surface, it’s a murder at an elite boarding school, but the author delves deeper, giving social commentary on privilege and wealth as well as insight into hazing, secret societies and bullying that occur at boarding schools. Bacon’s story moves at a methodical pace as she drops clues here and there that ask as many questions as they answer. She deftly has the reader thinking one thing and then gives information to change direction. Bacon introduces a subplot, too, that while interesting, doesn’t add a whole lot to the story.

Rich with vivid descriptions and issues that serve as food-for-thought long after the book has been closed, I enjoyed Bacon’s tale. I found myself going back to read some paragraphs just for the sake of hearing how they sounded. The mystery is solved long before the end of the book, but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-3-5from 39 readers
PUBLISHER: Voice; Original edition (June 14, 2011)
REVIEWER: Katherine Petersen
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Charlotte Bacon
EXTRAS: Reading Guide and Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:


September 3, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense

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