Following on from Dark Angel (reviewed in BfK No.191),Twisted Heart is the second book in a trilogy. Tania, an ‘angel of light’, is locked in a titanic struggle with the dark angels, and she experiences nightmare visions: ‘Hell is always close to where I stand,’ she tells us. In the everyday world, Tania appears to suffer from little more than paranoia, particularly over the attentions that her boyfriend might be receiving while he is away.
As the book begins, Tania has returned from her film-studies course in Paris to her home near Denver. She becomes involved with the New Dawn Community, which has been created to open up young offenders ‘to a completely new beginning’ through a combination of outward-bound exploration and communing with the Native American spirit-world. Tania is impressed by the Community’s founder, Antony Amos, a director of films such as Evil Death, and is also attracted to some of the participants (the ‘Explorers’). But after one of the Explorers is drowned while taking part in a triathlon, a chain of events develops in which Tania’s visions place her ‘on the edge of a fantasy forest peopled by ghosts and nightmares’, and she comes to fear the ‘unnatural, mesmeric beauty’ of these ‘love thieves’.
Readers of Dark Angel will be ken to read this sequel, but it can also be appreciated as a stand alone title in its alternations between teenage American life and loves and the struggle between good and evil. Towards the end, it becomes an all-out adventure-story, with a series of convoluted plot reversals that run the risk of undermining much of what has gone before. This potential problem is countered by emphasising the ‘mind-games’ played by the Community’s members. With some references to teenage sex and the occasional use of swear-words, the book is best for those of 14 and over, and it will appeal particularly to female readers.