Reviewed by D. Donovan, Senior eBook Reviewer, MBR
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PLAYMATES (Wilde Twins, Book #1)
by Jess C Scott
Playmates is the first book in the ‘Wilde Twins’ trilogy — a psychological thriller about abused siblings who turn into a serial killing team.
The story opens with a bang: the bang of children seeking to escape, and the bang of family violence that dominates their lives: “My birthday wish was simple: run away with my twin sister….(sic) There was a loud yell from the living room then — Dad’s voice — and the familiar violent jolt of the sound of glass shattering. Someone had once again broken a bottle on the wall just outside our room.”
Because their parents inflict psychological and physical pain upon each other and their children, Tania and her twin Trevor learn that violence and pain are normal everyday events inside a house where, to the outer world, their parents are respectable citizens: “I would see him nicely dressed in the morning for work, looking every bit the studious professor he was. Black rectangular glasses, trimmed beard, ironed shirt, nice shoes…He was all smiles at his workplace, with a pleasant face and greeted all around by smiley faces. He was happy during the drive back home too…”
Because they live in fear of the alcohol and violence which dominates their lives, the twins have never had a normal, happy childhood. Their mother only wanted one child (a son) and takes out her frustrations on daughter Tania; and this is where Tania learns that humans are selfish by nature. Most people, she perceives, don’t care about children. Add her mother’s prostitution when their father is away and you have a frightening home filled with secrets, violence, and extraordinary measures required for survival.
But Playmates isn’t just about survival: it’s about how these early lessons take root in a child and themselves beget warped human nature. Tania discovers the only person she can really count on is her twin … and so begins a relationship born of a survival instinct and reaction to danger (“That was when I first realized Trevor was always there for me when I needed him. He was the only person I could trust with anything. He was my best friend. He was my everything”) which evolves into something more sinister.
Unlike The Bad Seed and other classic novels of psychopathic behaviors, Playmates delves into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the evolutionary process. The children absorb their parents’ violence and insecurities like sponges, then find themselves attracted to the power and compulsion of violence in their own lives — first with small things (such as ants); later with victims more their size.
Games revolving around violence, television documentaries of killers and psychopaths, and an emotionally charged home environment filled with abuse on different levels (emotionally, physical, and sexual) all conspire to cultivate the seeds of homicide, rage, and (ultimately) empowerment.
Playmates provides alternating viewpoints between twins who share experiences and build their own conjoined perceptions of murder, violence, and power. From warped views of justice to ideas of safety and violence, the story line delves into the winding mental processes of each twin and provides riveting perceptions: “I needed to do that first one — murder — so I’d be able to compare that with Rick and Dad doing “what they did” to me. That way I could compare sex and murder directly. I might learn something. I loved the idea. It helped create a sense of justice in my view on this silly little thing called life.”
Events progress to a crescendo — and offer no predictable conclusion. This means readers should be prepared for the second installment of a slowly-building psychological thriller of the emergence of evil and sociopathic responses to an impossible life.
Review Posted: October 2013
MORE INFO: jessINK.com/playmates.htm