Thursday, October 6, 2016

Strange Sisters Stranger Twins

I seem to be on a literary thriller kick lately because today I’m recommending another one, The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne. The novel features Lydia and Kirstie, two very identical monozygous little girl twins. The book describes them as “identical in every way.” They were so identical that their parents had to put different colored ribbons around their ankles when they were babies, so as not to mix them up. 

This little piece of information is important in the plot.

Here is the first sentence of the book:

Our chairs are placed precisely two years apart. And they are both facing the big desk, as if we are a couple having marital therapy; a feeling I know too well.’

And with that, we are introduced to Sarah and Angus, the couple who are moving from London to a solitary island off the Scottish coast that he inherited “to start over” after one of the twins falls to her death from a balcony.

Right off the bat, my “don’t go there” antenna is buzzing off the charts. This is a plot device used by many horror/thriller writers, and, really, it never gets old.

I’ve never been to an island like this, but I’ve watched enough Shetland
to know that it has to be cold, full of fog and is surrounded by unforgiving slate gray seas. And ghosts. There have to be ghosts.

When the surviving twin claims to be her dead sister, and that her parents “got it wrong”,  that's when the story really begins. I won’t go any further without spoiling the plot, but it almost delves into a Stephen King territory - a realm I LOVE in novels, by the way,

And there is a storm. Of course there is a storm. There has to be a storm. And even with all these plot devices that we’ve seen a million times, I found I could not put this well-written book down and kept swiping page after page on my Kobo.

There are many suggestions that these twins were special, so identical as to be eerie, and that science and doctors had been keenly interested in them. And then on the other hand we get sentences like this: 

He’d read the science: there was no such thing as twin telepathy, just the ordinary miracle of identical twins.

So, the reader is constantly back and forth. Which parent is telling the truth? Which of the three family members is spiralling down into insanity? Maybe none of them? Maybe it really is a ghost?

I think we all have a certain fascination with twins. What would it like if there were two of me? I’m sure we non-twinned singular people have wondered that every so often. Thing is, if you were a twin, it wouldn’t be two of you, it would be one of you and one of someone else. Twin novels so fascinating.

Yes, identical have the same DNA. (Which is a great plot device in modern mysteries, and yes, it has been used, but it’s still fun. I remember a CSI episode where not only were their twins, but triplets, all with the same DNA left at the crime scene.)

Identical twins, however, do not have the same fingerprints. That little fact of information is all over the internet, but in the case of this book, the dead twin has been cremated.

If you love literary thrillers, remote islands, lighthouses and gray seas, then I highly recommend this book.

And, if the book piques your interest in all things twins, fraternal or identical, the internet abounds with information.There are even conferences just for twins, all twins, fraternal and identical alike.

One of the more well known ones occurs each year in a place called Twinsburg, Ohio. I wasn’t able to find out which came first, the conference or the name of the city. I’m thinking the name of the city. 

There is also a fascinating Netflix documentary about twin South Korean girls separated at birth and adopted, one to the US and one to France. The girls “found” each other on Facebook. Twisters is on Netflix and is quite interesting. Here’s a Huffington Post article about the documentary.

Next Time: The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story


  1. I love Shetland too. Not a big fan of scary books, but you make it sound so tempting..

  2. Yes - it take a certain type of person to love this kind of psychological horror. :)