Twisted Venom is about a medical professional, Claudia, who has a bizarre sexual encounter while at a conference. She enlists the help of her cousin, Dru, to uncover those who were behind her strange experience. As Claudia keeps digging, she gets closer to the medical mastermind who gave her the night she could barely remember.
The synopsis of Twisted Venom sounded much more harrowing than the actual experience of reading it. The author, VW Raynes, is a physician in real life. One thing I noticed after a few chapters was the close attention to medical details the author paid to the narrative. Blood draws, bone marrow biopsies, and tests for leukemia were conducted in very fine detail, down to the chemicals used and the evidence that was found that would support a diagnosis of any medical condition.
For example, close to the end, one of the important characters starts exhibiting the signs of having leukemia and must undergo chemotherapy. Instead of saying this character’s treatment was going well, Raynes says “[Character] did well over the next few weeks, with the chemotherapy killing off the blasts and [character’s] bone marrow gradually repopulating with normal cells until [character] needed no more blood transfusions.” On one hand, the details made the author’s work very credible. On the other, it was difficult to pay attention throughout scene after scene of technobabble. The book would have felt fast-paced if it weren’t for the in-depth accounts of medical procedures. If you know a doctor who is into mysteries and thrillers, this is the book is the perfect gift.
The main characters, Claudia and Dru, were an entertaining pair, with wayward, edgy, free-spirited Dru acting as a foil for industrious, somewhat-uptight Claudia. Claudia was an intelligent and outgoing character. I was rooting for her as she tried to bounce back from her traumatic experience. I would have liked to see more of Dru, though. Claudia’s avant-garde cousin seemed to have more of an adventure, but I only got to hear it after the fact. It was one of the drawbacks to having the story written entirely in first person. I hope Raynes decides to write a second thriller with Dru as a main character. Although Dru was unstable, she was so full of life and ended the book as my favorite character.
Grab Twisted Venom for a densely technical mystery story. It’s one you won’t forget.
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller