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Book Talk: Downing, ‘Twisted Love Story’

I don’t read love stories. In 1970, I read Erich Segal’s “A Love Story” because it was the “talk of the year.” I hated it. So, if you know me, you should be surprised that I read Samantha Downing’s latest, “A Twisted Love Story” (2023, 400 pages in hardback). But — and you knew there had to be a “but” coming — I read Downing’s other three books and couldn’t wait for her newest.

Her debut novel, My Lovely Wife was about a husband and wife who are serial killers. Her second, He Started It, was about a cross-country road trip with Grandpa’s ashes and a lot of murder. The third, For Your Own Good, introduced us to Teddy, a psycho teacher at “Homicide High,” a ritzy private secondary school that earned its sobriquet. So, I wasn’t really expecting a typical love story.

Ms. Downing tells us about Wes and Ivy who are desperately in love. Therefore, it is something of a surprise that Ivy informs the police that Wes has been stalking her. She even delivers “proof” to the police station. As you might suspect, I chose the word “desperately” to describe their relationship after a good deal of consideration. Reading the ongoing saga is like seeing a fatal car crash, followed by a train derailment, and ending in an airplane’s nose-first meeting with the side of a mountain. Each event is a horribly tragic situation, but you just can’t look away. And that’s true of this book. I finished it in two days.



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