The Twyford Code is Janice Hallett’s second book after The Appeal was very positively received. I absolutely adored The Appeal – I enjoyed the incredible way it was written and how, despite having the technicality of trying to write a book in that way, Hallett still managed to write great characters and a clever twist and crime story.
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The Twyford Code is similar to The Appeal in that it is written in a unique way. The Twyford Code uses dictated voice notes to present its story. These notes are taken by Steven Smith who is just out of prison and becomes obsessed with the idea of finding out about his missing school teacher who disappeared on a school trip when he was young after he found a random book and showed it to her.
The Twyford Code plot – 5/5
When Steven Smith gets out of prison he starts taking voice notes on his son’s iPhone 4 about the time he found a book on the bus as a kid, took it into school, and showed it to his English teacher who then told him the book was banned but began to read it to the class anyway. She then decided to take them on a trip to see the house where the author grew up and lived and supposedly wrote the books however Smith remembers her going missing that day.
What ensues is a very cleverly written book where you’re sometimes thrown around in different timeframes based on when voice notes were recorded (sometimes Smith will record situations live but more often than not he’ll record a diaried voice note of a situation). Smith becomes incredibly involved in the search to find The Twyford Code, apparently, a code left in a book written many years ago that could lead to any sort of treasures.
Janice Hallett has once again written such a clever book here. The ability to remember all the small nuances with voice recordings (sometimes the software picks up words wrong and so you have to work out what is meant to have been said) and then building this all into a satisfying story with a fantastic ending that only Hallett seems to have the intelligence to conjure up.
At times, I will admit, the pace dropped quite a bit. There were moments where it was slightly difficult to follow what exactly was happening and so I had to just fill in the blanks too, but other than these moments, as a whole, the story is fantastic and very well compiled.
The Twyford Code characters – 4.5/5
One of the most difficult things to do in a book is to write characters that all feel different from one another. How they react, how they speak, their intentions etc. Hallett, based on The Appeal and The Twyford Code appears to have a fantastic ability to be able to do this.
Steven Smith himself seems a paranoid, damaged individual who is trying to get his life back on track when he becomes obsessed with The Twyford Code and feels the need to pursue this over everything else. The people he meets along the way are well-defined, they’re either buoyed by his enthusiasm or nervous about following him into such dangerous areas.
All of the characters add something to the story – whether it’s someone to like, someone to dislike or just their passion for helping Smith makes you vouch for them. I don’t want to give away too much about the characters as it may spoil some of the story, but just believe me when I say they’re very well written.
The Twyford Code by Janice Hallett overall rating – 5/5
Janice Hallett has done it again. She’s written a book that is so wonderfully clever in how it is composed and also filled with intrigue and page-turning plot twists. As was true with The Appeal, Hallett has written The Twyford Code to keep you on your toes throughout, flipping through the pages at a rate of knots to find out the truth behind it all. And then, at the end, she throws a massive curveball your way that reshapes everything you’ve just read!