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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Twenty

Major Crimes #2

Narrator: Matthew Lloyd Davies

Dreamscape Media

ISBN: 9781639102563

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: 05/02/2023

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

A tense novel from a fast-rising star, Sam Holland, The Twenty fuses a chilling race-against-time with blood-curdling crime fiction. For fans of Harlan Coben and Thomas Harris, Sam Holland offers readers a page-turning serial killer thriller with “echoes of Lisa Gardner” (AJ Finn, #1 NYT bestselling author, on The Echo Man).

When DCI Adam Bishop arrives at the crime scene in the dead of night, the sight of the body is bad enough—but what Adam notices next chills him to his core. More bodies surface. And the spray-painted numbers daubed above the corpses reveal the horrific truth: the killer is counting down. But to what end?

Adam has no idea—until Dr. Romilly Cole knocks on his door with damning evidence pointing to a series of murders fifteen years earlier—a case she knows intimately from her past. Now, it’s personal—and the next knock on his door could be fatal.

Sam Holland’s gripping debut novel, The Echo Man, riveted readers and critics alike with its raw and brutal depiction of the unthinkable depredations of a serial killer. With The Twenty, Holland kicks her depraved milieu into even higher gear with a page-turning, up-all-night read that left us breathless.

My Review

Sam Holland returns from her smashing debut, The Echo Man (Major Crimes #1), with THE TWENTY (Major Crimes #2)—a dark, disturbing, chilling spine-tingler crime thriller/cop procedural in a race-against-time.

DCI Adam Bishop (whom we met in the prior book) arrives at the crime scene to a brutal crime scene. Spray-painted Roman numerals inscribed above the corpses reveal a message: the killer is counting down. But to what end?

More bodies surface. What does this mean? A gruesome serial killer is on the loose. Who will be next?

Adam has no idea—until Dr. Romilly Cole (his ex-wife) says there is a connection to a series of murders 15 yrs earlier. A case she knows intimately from her past. But that person is in prison. Can they be responsible for these new deaths or a copycat? Or is he controlling this from prison?

Cara Elliott from The Echo Man makes a cameo appearance, but she's not a main character and can be read as a standalone. Holland skillfully gets into the head of the killer and of DCI Bishop.

Compulsive, complex, intense, and emotional. Nature vs. nurture. Jamie and Adam's personalities provide a nice contrast to one another.

THE TWENTY is a gritty, dark, violent, horrifying, graphic, and twisty crime novel—a blend of crime thriller, cop procedural, serial killer, and psychosocial thriller. You are in the right place if you like your crime thrillers dark and gruesome.

Thank you to #CrookedLaneBooks for a gifted e-ARC via #NetGalley for review purposes.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

My Rating: 4 Stars


A wild ride . . . for fans of serial homicide.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Some authors spook you. Some authors unnerve me. Very few authors frighten you—but very few authors are Sam Holland. The Twenty is smart and brooding, icepick-sharp and shadow-dark.”

—AJ Finn, New York Times bestselling author

“Disturbing and gripping . . . Lots of fun in a very nightmarish way.”

—Harriet Tyce, Sunday Times bestselling author

“A wonderfully dark and gruesome serial killer story that isn't afraid to put its protagonists through the wringer.”

—Tariq Ashkanani, author of the award-winning Welcome to Cooper

“Relentless, twisted, terrifying; like its killer, The Twenty stalks readers as prey.”

—Dominic Nolan, author of Vine Street

“The Twenty gripped me right from page one—superbly written, beautifully plotted, with a cast of fantastic characters. I inhaled it.”

—LV Matthews, author of The Prank

“A truly gripping page-turner that will make your veins pump and your fingers curl.”

—Heather Critchlow, author of Unsolved

“The Twenty has the pace of a rocket! . . . Sam Holland delivers and then some.”

—Rachael Blok, author of Into the Fire

“Sharp as a razor and jam-packed with heart-in-mouth moments that’ll leave you reeling.”

—Robert Scragg, author of End of the Line

“Compulsive, complex, and utterly brilliant!”

—Marion Todd, author of See Them Run

“A sharp, visceral, fast-paced novel that you won’t be able to put down—not one for the faint-hearted! Sam Holland is fast becoming the master of the serial killer thriller.”

—Niki Mackay, author of The Lies We Tell

“Clever and addictive . . . The killer’s crimes are gory, the investigators’ relationships are messy, and the narrative’s twists are shocking—but the prose is often lovely.”

—Jo Furniss, author of All The Little Children

“Unrelentingly dark and masterfully plotted.”

—Cressida McLaughlin, author of The Staycation

“Dark and unflinching . . . The characters are so real and well drawn you feel their pain and urgency as if it were your own.”

—Steph Sowden, author of After Everything You Did

“Fast and furious, Sam Holland doesn’t take her foot off the pedal for a second.”

—Victoria Selman, author of Truly Darkly Deeply

“Spine-chilling . . . [A] brilliantly written thriller.”

—Karen Hamilton, author of The Perfect Girlfriend

“So dark you almost have to look away yet so compelling you can’t stop turning the next page.”

—Tim Glister, author of Red Corona

About the Author

Having always been fascinated with the dark and macabre, Sam Holland studied psychology at university then spent the next few years working in HR, before quitting for a full-time career in writing. A self-confessed serial killer nerd, her debut novel, The Echo Man, shocked and enthralled readers and reviewers alike with its sinister depiction of a serial killer copying notorious real-life murderers of the past. The Twenty is her second novel.

Sam can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @samhollandbooks







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