If The Good Twin were a movie, it would be the kind you could watch with your soap opera fan grandma for a good laugh, while feeling very smart and morally superior.
The Good Twin by Marti Green
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Published: 15th May, 2018 (expected)
Mallory Holcolm is an unfulfilled waitress and aspiring artist living in a Queens boardinghouse when she learns something astonishing about her past: she has an identical twin sister named Charly she never knew existed.
Charly is a Princeton graduate, a respected gallery owner, and an heiress married to her handsome college sweetheart, Ben. Charly got everything she ever wanted. Everything Mallory wanted, too. And now it might be easier than Mallory ever imagined. Because Ben has reasons of his own for wanting to help her.
It begins with his startling proposal. All Mallory has to do is say yes.
But as their devious plan falls into place, piece by piece, Mallory learns more about her sister and herself than she ever meant to—a discovery that comes with an unexpected twist. A chilling deception is about to become a dangerous double cross. And it’s going to change the rules of Ben and Mallory’s game to the very end.
The Good Twin is what I call a cutesy thriller; it has all the elements of a gripping suspense, like a villainous husband, a grandiose plan of deception and a morally grey accomplice, but lacks the grit, suspense and darkness one would expect from a story like this.
No person is ultimately good or bad in life, so it’s no wonder that Mallory and Ben make some questionable decisions every now and then. But if one cooks up a devious plan, one should not be dumb. Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of dumb people in reality and they usually get caught by the police pretty quickly, mainly because they fancy themselves really smart. Duh. But Ben was supposed to be this clever, aspiring lawyer, for crying out loud! Those aren’t stupid!
Mallory’s behavior changed with the weather, and her halfhearted attempt to convince herself she’s in the right was quite frankly disturbing. Which is good. Disturbing is good. Disturbing is what we what we want in a thriller. But it’s hard to believe a sweet young lady would turn into a ruthless conspirator overnight, at least without a very good reason.
The police gets involved at one point, but they are utterly incompetent and conveniently (for our bad guys) forgot how to police. The detective assigned to the case, whom we met first as a model in Mallory’s drawing class, is quite a looker, but considering what he does for a living, he should be more than a brainless buff dude. If you ask me, I would wager it’s probably not a good idea for a police officer to plan dangerous operations based on the opinions of a civilian, who basically just wants to do stuff because they just “want to see what would happen“.
Marti Green can write well, I have no doubt about that. The whole book felt like a movie and had a nice flow to it, which is awesome! But! When it comes to thrillers, I need them to be realistic. I can suspend my disbelief, sure: for unicorns, futuristic societies with body mods, ghosts that help investigations, oppressive governments pitting teenagers against each other for entertainment… I think you see where I’m going with this.
So, do tell, how can two people claim to be the same person, and not one single police officer raise an eyebrow over this scenario. You could probably pull this off in a story set in the 19th century, but nowadays we have this thing called fingerprint analysis, and while it does take some effort with all the sample collecting and elimination process, it’s surely a better way to decide who is who, and frankly, way more likely than “oh, sure, you are that person, ‘cuz you said it first“.
Or was I supposed to be under the impression that identical twins have identical fingerprints? Because again, that’s really not how any of this works…
I can overlook many things, including plot holes and a lot of weird shit, if I’m invested in the characters. But characters who change their whole personality, just to suit the plot? That grinds me the wrong way.
The author, Marti Green, has a degree in both psychology and law, so I’m sure she knows her stuff well. But as a reader, non-psychologist and non-laywer, I need an actual explanation if I’m expected to accept a certain turn of events that doesn’t ring any realistic bells.
A mildly entertaining, light suspense, The Good Twin is and exploration into nature vs. nurture, a story of sibling rivalry gone wrong.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but it did not influence my opinion.