All The Books I Can Read

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Review: The Twisted Knot by J.M. Peace

on July 5, 2016

Twisted KnotThe Twisted Knot (Constable Sammi Willis #2)
J.M. Peace
Pan Macmillan AUS
2016, 320p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

A marked man. A damaged cop. A town full of secrets.

After her abduction and near death at the hands of a sadistic killer, Constable Samantha Willis is back in the uniform. Despite being on desk duty, rumours reach Sammi that someone in Angel’s Crossing has been hurting little girls, and before long a mob is gathering to make sure justice is served.

So when a man is found hanging in his shed, the locals assume the pedophile has finally given into his guilt. That is, until Sammi delves further into the death and uncovers a dark family secret, an unsolved crime and a town desperate for vengeance.

This is Australian police officer J.M. Peace’s second novel featuring Constable Sammi Willis after last year’s A Time To Run. After the traumatic experiences of that novel, Sammi is back at work – but she’s been on desk duty since her return, not quite ready to take that step of strapping on her gun belt and getting into a police car. Her colleagues are mostly supportive of her – her boss in particular but there are officers that believe Sammi should no longer be a cop if she can’t do all facets of the job, including having someone’s back in a sticky situation.

The station receives an anonymous note alerting them to the fact that a man suspected of being a pedophile some years ago, is now abusing someone else. The residents of the small town of Angel’s Crossing are fired up – the police couldn’t make any charges come to fruition last time and the victim was left suffering as a result. The town is determined that not happen again – either the police do their jobs or the town will do it for them. And it won’t be pretty.

It was good to see that Sammi is still struggling with what happened to her – both with her work and also at home too. Things with her boyfriend, although they’re still together and he’s supported her through her ordeal and the aftermath, are not the same. Sammi goes to work but she spends her days behind the desk, assisting when a member of the public comes in to make a complaint or inquiry that requires a police officer. Even thinking about putting on her gun belt is almost enough to send her into a panic but she still feels that she will get there, one day.

The story is an emotional one – a member of the small town was accused of horrific things years earlier but it was difficult to gather enough evidence for charges. Understandably there were many people who were furious and not just the victim’s family. It’s a terrible thing to think that a predator might be living in the town, especially in one as small as Angel’s Crossing. Now years later, there are rumours that the offender is at it again but unless there’s a victim that comes forward, willing to make a statement, the police are restricted by what they can do, something that the town doesn’t take too well.

As a parent, it’s easy to sympathise with the family of the victim and understand how the people would want the threat removed from their town. But the police are struggling because they can only work within the constraints of the law. Sometimes it means they can’t do anything at all, sometimes it means that they have to do things they don’t want to do. Sammi and her boyfriend have several discussions involving this and how as a police officer in a small town, you not only have to sometimes ignore the gossip surrounding a suspicious character but you also have to ignore what you know about someone as a friend. You have to approach everything as a police officer looking at the evidence, not as a mate knowing someone or by rumours and gossip. It’s an interesting dilemma, exploring what it’s like to investigate people you know personally or that people you are close to know personally.

The first book was about Sammi desperately fighting for her life. Her life is not in danger in this book so it’s obviously slower paced. I think it’s more about Sammi’s healing from that event, about her getting her confidence back to do her job to the best of her ability. She needed something to give her a bit of a kick to get her to actually leave the station and become a fully operational cop again, not just one who was chained to a desk. She was taking her time, not going to go back out until she was ready but I’m not sure that day would ever have come without some motivation and also, a bit of necessity. Sammi’s mind still works like a police officer’s and she knows that there are things she has to do and overcoming the fear of leaving the station and being out there where there could potentially be a situation she might freeze in is a big mental thing for her.

A point is made in the book a few times that being a cop isn’t all fun stuff – it’s not all car chases and beers with the boys after work. There’s paperwork (lots of paperwork apparently) and there’s also the message that something can happen every time you step out the door to do your job. You have to be ready for that, even in a small town like Angel’s Crossing. This for me, was a more thoughtful police procedural, giving the reader a bit of an insight into the ins and outs of day to day policing, not just the big crime solving stuff. I liked that.

A very polished second installment.


Book #138 of 2016

AWWC2016The Twisted Knot is the 31st book read this year for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016

This review is a part of the blog tour for The Twisted Knot. Check out author J.M. Peace’s website for the other spots on the tour and make sure you visit!

3 responses to “Review: The Twisted Knot by J.M. Peace

  1. an_aussie_bookworm says:

    Great review on the blog tour! 🙂

  2. Deborah says:

    Great review – I particularly liked the fact that ‘Jay’ made it clear that policing wasn’t all fun and games. And I also loved the time it was taking Sammi to feel like she could go into the field again!

  3. […] Extensive review at All The Books I Can Read here. […]

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