Book Review | The Twisted Knot | JM Peace

I remember when I first met Sammi Willis – in JM Peace’s debut novel, A Time to Run (my review here) – and thought to myself how refreshing it was to be reading about a woman police officer, in Queensland (my home State), being the target of a deranged killer. What struck me the most though, was Jay’s obvious passion for her job which seeps through the pages.

With its moody cover and tautly told story, The Twisted Knot not only confirms that her passion is real but that, as an Australian crime author, her first-hand experience in policing sets her apart from others in the genre.

It’s been approximately a year since Sammi Willis survived a dangerous battle of cat and mouse with a sadistic killer and, despite the painful memories that continue to haunt her, she’s back at the Angel’s Crossing police station albeit in a slightly different capacity – working behind the counter tending to complaints.

When an anonymous note is delivered to the police station averring that a known paedophile from the area has claimed another victim and, thereafter being faced with a mob of people demanding action be taken, Sammi’s conscience prickles and she feels herself being drawn back into the investigation side of things hoping that the matter can be properly dealt with - before the unrest spirals out of control and the townsfolk take matters into their own hands.

Following the investigation step-by-step with Sammi pulls the reader in and creates a sense of immediacy as the situation throws up more questions than answers. Despite her own frame of mind and the personal issues she is experiencing with her partner Gavin, Sammi’s determination to uncover the truth is admirable while the portrayal of Jay’s secondary characters and the town of Angel’s Crossing are convincingly Australian, both in the dialogue and the setting.

They’re an entertaining bunch who all have something to offer the story (like parking illegally themselves and then issuing parking tickets to residents, the usual office politics and the daily camaraderie and strain between workmates and friends) with Jay making great use of small town hostilities that create a sense of foreboding which, in turn, drives the tension.

Jay’s storytelling ability is of an impressive quality and she presents things using an authentic policing and investigative perspective rather than trying to create drama, thus delivering this story of secrets, lies, revenge, malice and loyalty with passion and conviction.

Touching on paedophilia, The Twisted Knot is a well-written novel with a moderate but believable pace, unflinching descriptions, a continually tense atmosphere and fabulous scene setting. With plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engrossed, it is the final tug of the knot that will have you gasping out loud!

If this is your first foray into one of Jay’s novels, it’s an introduction that will definitely whet your appetite for more from an author who has a wealth of personal experience in her field to draw from.

I wish to thank Pan MacMillan Australia for providing me with a hard copy ARC of this novel.

About the Author

J. M. Peace is a serving police officer who would rather be writing about policing. Over the past 15 years, she has served throughout south-east Queensland in a variety of different capacities. Her voice of authority shines through in her debut crime thriller, A Time to Run. Jay has also written various short stories, blogs regularly about policing and writing. She blogs at

She lives on the Sunshine Coast, juggling writing and police work with raising two kids along with her partner.

About the Book

A marked man. A damaged cop. A town full of secrets.

After her abduction and near death at the hands of a sadistic killer, Constable Samantha Willis is back in the uniform. Despite being on desk duty, rumours reach Sammi that Someone in Angel's Crossing has been hurting little girls, and before long a mob is gathering to make sure justice is served.

So when a man is found hanging in his shed, the locals assume the pedophile has finally given in to his guilt. That is, until Sammi delves further into the death and uncovers a dark family secret, an unsolved crime and a town desperate for vengeance.

Look out for a Q & A here, with Jay, next Thursday (28th July) as part of the Blog Tour being hosted by Pan MacMillan.

In the meanwhile, HERE's a list of blogs taking part in that tour.


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