Allie Daniels hasn't had much success in life. She and her grandmother move from town to town, wherever money can be made. Then she gets news that she's inherited property from an uncle she's never heard of, and because her luck has run out, she decides to see how much the property is worth. Even if the inheritance is bogus, she knows there is nothing left for her where they currently live, so itís a good time to move on once again.
Allie and her grandmother drive miles to a small town in Texas called Twisted Creek located almost in the middle of nowhere. What they find is discouraging, but it's all they have. Allie has inherited a rundown store that seems to be the main place where people in town get their supplies. The townspeople are aware that Allie will be taking over for her "uncle", so they help her get acquainted with the store and the people who live in town. Soon Allie is running the store and ordering and selling all sorts of supplies and products to any ne who needs it. With Nana in the kitchen doing what she does best Ė cook - they also begin serving meals to the local regulars, a group of misfits who come to see the cafe as a second home.
Luke is on a mission, but Allie and most of the townspeople don't know who he really is. He happens to be someone who knew Allie's "uncle", and part of his reason for sneaking into the vacated store the day Allie and Nana arrive in town is to find out who Allie is and whether she has hidden motives regarding the inheritance. She has never made an appearance in town until after her "uncle" has died, but Luke as well as the rest of the town is expecting her to show up because of what her ďuncleĒ willed to her. Luke isnít totally sure whether Allie is a suspect in the case he is investigating, but he needs to be sure.
Luke looks to Allie like a bum, a hippie, but his appearance is deceiving - which is what he has intended all along. But why he is in town, and who he really is, has to remain a mystery in order for him to accomplish what he was sent for. Allie doesn't trust him, but at the same time she is intrigued by and attracted to him.
I enjoyed Twisted Creek a lot more than I had expected. The writing is natural, the characters are well-drawn and likable, and the structure of the story is solid. The reader easily connects with Allie and her relationship with Nana, the woman who took care of her in place of the mother who was never there for her. The various minor characters are just as well-rounded and as interesting as the main characters, and enjoyable to read about, especially in the scenes in which they meet for dinner every night at the cafe. The only bothersome note is that the entire book would better have been told in the third-person, instead of switching to a first-person narrative when itís told in Allie's perspective. The chapters transition awkwardly and would have been much smoother if the author had kept to the third person the entire time.
There are two plotlines in the story, one that follows the mystery of the uncle who names Allie in his will, and the other the plotline that follows Luke's undercover mission. Both storylines are done well, and itís surprising how easily Luke's story fits in with Allieís. I would definitely read more by Jodi Thomas; she is a first-rate storyteller. Twisted Creek is recommended.