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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

A Twisted Love Story

Narrator: Karissa Vacker

Penguin Audio

ISBN: 978-0593101001

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 07/18/2022

Format: Audiobook

My Rating: 4 Stars

From the bestselling author of My Lovely Wife comes a reckless, delicious thriller about a young couple that gives a whole new meaning to the dangers of modern dating.

Wes and Ivy are madly in love. They've never felt anything like it. It's the kind of romance people write stories about.

But what kind of story?

Because when it's good, it's great. Flowers. Grand gestures. Deep meaningful conversations where the whole world disappears.

When it's bad, it's really bad. Vengeful fights. Damaged property. Arrest warrants.

But their vicious cycle of catastrophic breakups and head-over-heels reconnections needs to end fast. Because suddenly, Wes and Ivy have a common enemy--and she's a detective.

There's something Wes and Ivy never talk about--in good times or bad. The night of their worst breakup, when one of them took things too far, and someone ended up dead.

If they can stick together, they can survive anything--even the tightening net of a police investigation.

Because one more breakup might just be their last…

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My Review

Samantha Downing returns following For Your Own Good with her latest, A TWISTED LOVE STORY —a very dark, twisted toxic relationship between a couple exploring all forms of love (good and bad) which define us in this twisty, addictive psychological thriller!

Obsession and love collide! Unreliable and unlikable characters.

Set in California near Sacramento. Meet Wes and Ivy. They are in love and have been together for ten years, meeting at University. They have had ups and downs, which turn nasty and violent, or the other extreme that is loving and caring. Emotions are running high.

When the relationship steers away from the honeymoon phase, they freak out. Their relationship is TOXIC to the point of obsession. From fighting, jealousy, manipulation, revenge, drama, impulsiveness, mind games, stalking, gaslighting, control, lies, games, and petty tactics. Back and forth—breakup and back together. (Gosh, they remind me of my girlfriend and her ex-husband, and I cannot be around them).

They seem to employ all the good and bad emotions, healthy and unhealthy. Mostly unhealthy. When it is good, it is fantastic. When it is bad, it is toxic, reckless, and dangerous. Something holds them together no matter what happens. After one of many breakups, Wes appears to be getting on with his life without Ivy.

She reports to the cops she is being stalked. She thinks it is fun, but the detective takes it seriously. . Detective Karen Colglazier knows domestic violence and wants to protect Ivy. She visits Wes at work, is suspicious, and starts digging into their past—a past they want to keep hidden.

The night of their worst breakup, when one takes things too far—someone winds up dead.

The book's first part sets the stage for the characters and a slow burn. The second focuses on a death—the who, how, and why— at a faster pace. They want to be sure no one connects it to them. What happened in the past? Secrets ruin everything.

The narration is told through 4-5 characters, Ivy, Wes, Abagail (assistant), Bianca (assistant office-nosy), and the detective, Karen. Also, his boss, Tanner, thinks Ivy is insane and threatens to ban her from their office. What a group!

A TWISTED LOVE STORY is a dark, twisty cat-and-mouse destructive game of obsession with unreliable narrators where LOVE is almost a character in itself—with a Bonnie and Clyde vibe.

We have all been there; relationships can change, define, and make us who we are. If we take a step back, we can see when relationships are toxic and unhealthy. However, most of the time, we are too close to the situation and too emotionally invested to see beyond the present. Our friends or family can see it. Too emotionally draining and dramatic for me! No thanks.

Wes and Ivy are destructive, toxic, and entertaining. The most enjoyable part was deciding which was victim/villain, predator/prey. One or both? Also was dying to figure out what happened in the past. The author is a pro at writing about dysfunctional and toxic families and relationships. A wild ride!

I did not enjoy this one as much as her last one, For Your Own Good; however, the audiobook was entertaining.

AUDIOBOOK: I listened to the audiobook narrated by Karissa Vacker (fav), delivering a highly entertaining performance for all voices.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: July 18, 2023

My Rating: 4 Stars


“A deliciously clever thriller. I love Samantha Downing's books...If you haven't experienced the pleasure of reading her work, don't wait."

—Sylvia Day, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Toxic relationships, dark deeds, and a cast of unreliable narrators. All the best ingredients for a deliciously disturbing read. Twisted indeed.”

—Alice Feeney, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Darker

"Samantha Downing’s writing is pure, twisted magic…will take you from the height of sexy, crashing-into-walls obsession to utter disbelief, loving every second."

—Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author

"Subtle, compelling, and clever. A Twisted Love Story will take you on a tense and emotional thrill ride that doesn't let up until the final page. Downing has crafted a complex, masterfully written tale that will have you rooting for the dysfunctional couple while simultaneously not trusting either of them."

—Jeneva Rose, New York Times bestselling author of You Shouldn’t Have Come Here

“This story about a toxic relationship spiralling out of control is dazzlingly, deliciously dark—and enormous fun.”

—JP Delaney, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before

“Wicked and wild, seductive and sinister. A Twisted Love Story is beach read fun, up all night gripping, disturbingly dark and satisfyingly clever.”

—Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin at the End

"I love Samantha Downing’s thrillers and this one is an absolute gem. Deliciously addictive, constantly surprising and, as the title would suggest, thoroughly twisted. You’ll devour it."

—B. P. Walter, bestselling author of The Dinner Guest

"Samantha Downing is one of those rare writers equally focused on character and plotting, and it shows in the twists and turns of her novels, as well as the genuine emotions they evoke in readers."


"No one does dark sophisticated psychological suspense like the oh-so-talented Samantha Downing! This page-turning risk-taking dive into tangled relationships and ultra-gaslighting is a dazzling look at emotional manipulation and addictive passion. What happens when love is so powerful that it turns deadly? Shocking, surprising, and super-twisty--with an ending that will haunt you."

—Hank Phillippi Ryan, USA Today bestselling author

“While A Twisted Love Story is a thriller about love, buckle up because it’s of the gnarly, twisted variety, and I tore through the pages…It takes great skill to make readers root for a couple like this, but Samantha Downing does so with ease.”

—Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of Never Coming Home

“The word ‘Twisted’ doesn’t do the title justice. A lightning fast read, this is a ‘one more chapter’ book that you’ll think about long after it’s finished. Downing blurs the line between love and toxicity so perfectly that you’ll be rooting for this messy couple without a second thought."

—Jaime Lynn Hendricks, bestselling author of Finding Tessa

About the Author

Samantha Downing is the author of the bestselling My Lovely Wife, nominated for the Edgar, ITW, Macavity awards in the US, the CWA award in the UK, and the winner of the Prix des Lectrices award in France.​

Her second book, He Started It, was released in 2020 and became an instant international bestseller.

Her third thriller, For Your Own Good, was released in the US on July 20, 2021. It has been optioned by Robert Downey Jr. and Greg Berlanti for HBO Max.

A Twisted Love Story will be released in the US on July 18, 2023







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