Eighteen-year-old Twist doesn't have much. No money, no home and no family. All he has is his reputation as one of the most daring street artists in London - whose unique skills are matched only by his infamous talent as a climber and freerunner.
But when he finds himself on the run from the police, he knows that he could be about to lose the last thing he has left - his freedom. Until he is saved by the mysterious Dodge. When Dodge introduces him to con artist and art 'collector' Cornelius Faginescu, Twist realises that he finally has the chance to be part of something. All that he has to do is put aside his moral objections and learn to steal...
A modern retelling of the original Dickens classic, Twist is a compelling and action packed story plunging readers into the imagined criminal underworld created by Tom Grass. Gripping from the start, the opening scene sees Harry, a thief, betrayed by the gang he runs with, leaving a hole in the organisation.
Red is a beautiful, intelligent and athletic member of the group, yet when curiosity gets the better of her and she accidentally stumbles into the world of prostitution and sex trafficking, she is at the mercy of the Russian mafia. Fortunately, Bill Sykes is able to strike a deal with the Russians where the gang must steal rare art works. Fagan, the leader and father figure of this gang of thieves, requires an extra thief and it is here where Twist, a young orphan, on the run from the police is coerced into their plan. From here it’s a fast paced, intelligent read with edge of your seat car chases and parkour across the vivid London landscape. Tom Grass paints a dark and gritty picture of London and its underground crime organisations and this, along with his cinematic style of writing, makes for a realistic and easily imagined, thrilling read.
Twist boasts a list of memorable characters such as the Fagin, Dodger, Red and the menacing Bill Sykes, all of which were compelling. I was a little disappointed not to find out more about each of their back stories especially Fagin’s which seemed promising but was only touched upon when mentioning his background, probably to keep in line with enigmatic original character. Twist on the other hand was a well-developed and defined character with a troubled past and Grass was able to make me care about his success, both in terms of his infatuation for Red and in achieving his dream of going to art school. An individual with great artistic talent and also physical prowess, all of which will be needed and tested in order to succeed.
The story itself was interesting and in most places was fast paced and action packed. Grass was able to paint a believable image of both the art world and criminal underworld and this added to the realism of the planning and actual heists execution. Throughout specifics of the way in which Fagin’s group operated were described in detail, using a mix of technology, sleight of hand and deception, all of which was enthralling.
I liked this book, it was a fun and exciting story plus a great ending. If you like fast paced reads, reimagined classics or stories involving crafty plans and heist then you will definitely enjoy this book.