The latest addition to her adventure/romance series shows award-winning author Kaylin McFarren once again mixing sensuous love and bloody terror.
The anti-heroine of Twisted Threads is Akira, a Japanese woman whose checkered past as geisha and gangster has led her down a path to murder, intrigue and the loss of all feeling for others, her only goal to free herself from the web of vengeance she is trapped in. She is given a last chance by mobster mogul Mitsui, who promises that the completion of just one more job will relieve her of her indebtedness to him and allow her to begin a new life—anywhere but in Japan. All she has to do is take a cruise and identify a killer.
Someone murdered Keiko, a female relative of Mitsui, on a previous cruise. That someone may be British art dealer Paul Lyons or Paul's wife, Sara. Both were known to have quarreled with Keiko, who died mysteriously soon afterwards. Akira will travel "chaperoned" by Mitsui’s man Takashi, who will pose as Akira’s father, observe her actions, "clean" the scene once Keiko’s killer is known, and give Akira the tools she will need to start life over. But Mitsui, Akira, and her faux-father do not count on the appearance of Devon. Traveling with the Lyons, he is a handsome thirty-something ne'er do well, disenchanted with life and definitely--like Akira herself--not looking for love. But Devon will find it with her. Using him at first to probe the Lyons' secrets, Akira slowly falls in love, their relationship clouding her purpose and causing Takashi to worry for the outcome of their mission.
The shipboard intrigue increases as we meet Peter Bradshaw, Sara's long-time physician, the two of them presenting an image of unfaithfulness right before her husband's eyes. Ship’s Captain Brice is another suspicious character, willing to do anything to keep scandal away from his vessel. Bradshaw disappears only to return under the shadow of an onshore crime, thus becoming the focus of Akira’s speculations. Meanwhile, she and Devon begin to recognize that they are linked by deep, all-consuming passion. But when Takashi is found brutally slaughtered, Akira’s focus shifts from the Lyons and her love for Devon to old hatreds that scream for her vindication, no matter what is lost in the process.
Fans of McFarren's fiction will be well satisfied by this spellbinding tale with its lush, lengthy scenes of tantalizing eroticism evolving into an apparently hopeless love, and murderous villainy that changes name and shape in nearly every chapter. The author deftly spins her tale: she shifts scenes swiftly; challenges motivations; provides, then transmutes, clues; reveals multiple possible perpetrators delineated in gory, sometimes salacious detail; and, throughout, explores the tormented conscience of a woman whose cold heart is just beginning to thaw.
An intelligent crime thriller infused with thwarted love and desperate desires, Twisted Threads makes a worthy new companion to McFarren's earlier creations Severed Threads, Buried Threads, and Banished Threads.