Twisted Threads

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
379 Pages
Reviewed on 10/28/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Kaylin McFarren has received more than 60 national literary awards, in addition to a prestigious Golden Heart Award nomination for FLAHERTY'S CROSSING - a book she and her oldest daughter, New York Times/USA Today best-selling author Kristina McMorris, co-wrote in 2008. Prior to embarking on her writing journey and developing the popular THREADS psychological thriller series, she poured her passion for creativity into her work as the director of a fine art gallery in the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon; she also served as a governor–appointed member of the Oregon Arts Commission.

When she's not traveling or spoiling her two pups and three grandsons, she enjoys giving back to her community through participation and support of various charitable, medical and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest. Her latest time-travel adventure, HIGH FLYING, asks challenging questions that will linger long after the final twists are revealed. Recently jumping to the supernatural thriller genre, Kaylin's clever GEHENNA series leads readers into the pit of Hell, through the mechanisms of secret societies, and across the earth's crust, ever raising the stakes for her leading duo—a wicked demon and a saintly angel with secret earth-shattering agendas. With each story she writes, this author delivers unexpected twists and turns and keeps her readers on the edge of their seats, leaving them guessing and thoroughly entertained.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Alma Boucher for Readers' Favorite

Twisted Threads is a psychological thriller written by Kaylin McFarren. Akira used to be a geisha, but is forced to be an assassin working for the Yakuza boss. She hates herself for what she is doing. She is ordered to board a cruise ship to determine who killed her boss’s sister. A couple named Paul and Sara Lyons is under suspicion. One of them is the murderer and Akira must investigate to determine which one. If she succeeds, she can start a new life, but if she fails her mother will be killed. The Lyons couple is accompanied by their nephew, Devon Lyons. Akira befriends Devon to get information about his aunt and uncle. She realized she was starting to trust Devon. They work together to solve the murder and find themselves fighting for their lives.

I was captivated and intrigued by Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren. There is a lot of action in the story, and it is fast-paced. There are unexpected twists and turns in the plot I did not see coming. It is suspenseful and nail-biting from the beginning. I just kept reading until the finish because I had to know how it ended. The violence was descriptive and left nothing to the imagination. The characters were complicated and complex. They were authentic and I loved them. My favorite character is Akira. She is strong and well-trained and sometimes needs protection. Twisted Threads is well-written and developed. This mystery brings the themes of murder, revenge, and loyalty together. I guarantee that the ending will be a big surprise.

Trisha Dawn

In Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren, Akira Sato has just been given her final assignment. If she does it right, she will be granted her freedom from Zakura-kai, the Yakuza she has been serving for a while. All she has to do is board a cruise ship along with Takashi, a ‘cleaner’ from their clan, and avenge the death of Keiko, the Yakuza family leader’s sister. Paul and Sara Lyons, who were involved in Keiko’s death, will be on board and one of them is the suspected killer. While on the cruise ship, Akira gets to meet the Lyons' nephew, Devon, and she decides to use him to confirm who Keiko’s murderer really is. However, she did not plan on falling in love with him. To add to the growing complication, there seems to be another killer on the loose.

Twisted Threads is intoxicating! As Kaylin McFarren promised, the characters were three dimensional, close to being as humanly real as possible. Although Akira lives in a more dangerous world, there are a lot of relatable things about her. You can’t help but feel what she felt, most especially during the times when she thought she was strong and nothing could break her. But at the end of the day, she loved and got hurt, too. Devon, meanwhile, is the kind of guy everyone wants to end up with. He may be dreamy, but he also had a short temper, which kept his character realistic. Sara Lyons was outstanding. She reminds you of a lot of people nowadays, despite her biggest flaw. Paul, on the other hand, will remind you of your family members – caring, careful and ever patient. The supporting characters also had their own personas, which made the plot as solid as a rock.

Speaking of plot, there was never a boring moment. There was always something to look forward to every time you turned to the next page. What’s really impressive is that no matter how many story threads there were, it didn’t become confusing. It just raised the bar for all the other novels out there. One minute it is sizzling hot; the next it is heart racing. These story lines really did allow the characters to remain believable, but also enabled them to evolve, thus making all parts harmonious until the flow reached the end. Kaylin McFarren truly has a best seller on her hands. She’s a gifted writer who can affect people’s emotions with just a word or two. Her ability to come up with great stories and to put them in writing so that readers can become immersed easily is a gift so rare these days. Don't miss reading Twisted Threads.

Ruffina Oserio

Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren is a book that combines powerful elements from different genres into an exhilarating ride — great romance, adventure, and suspense. The story begins with the “Watcher” and then the reader is quickly introduced to a compelling cast of characters. Akira Hamada is a coldblooded killer fashioned by a ruthless man, Yakuza; the man who alienated her from her family and transformed her into a killing machine. But when Akira meets Devon Lyons, she begins to see things differently; she is learning to love, hence to be human. Ordered to kill the aunt and uncle of the man she is beginning to love, Akira finds herself in a very delicate position. On a Caribbean cruise, she must make very crucial choices, but how can she fulfill her mission without betraying the love of a man like Devon? The stakes are high because she isn’t the only passenger with a mission to kill.

Kaylin McFarren is an exceptional storyteller and she knows how to create scenes that are captivating and focused. The pacing is fast and the entire narrative is filled with action. The characters are real and each is imbued with a rare sense of humanity, broken in some way but relatable. Twisted Threads is packed with a lot of surprises, and the author masterfully uses suspense to keep the reader absorbed in the story, turning the pages and guessing where the ride will lead. It’s nonstop action, electrifying and emotionally charged. I also loved the deft handling of conflict and how the author uses it to deepen and move the plot forward. Twisted Threads is gratifying, an explosive thriller!

Rabia Tanveer

Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren is the story of how a woman who is forced to become a killer finally finds out what it is like to live and love freely. This is the story of a Japanese woman named Akira Hamada who is forced to become an assassin for Yakuza boss Kaito Mitsu, who makes her lose contact with everyone she loves just to serve the purpose he has designed for her. Akira thought it was yet another mission when Mitsu tells her to get on board a cruise ship to kill the murderer of his sister.

She knows that her target is either Paul or Sara Lyons, but she does not know the identity of the killer between the two. To get the information she needs to do her job, she decides to get close to their nephew Devon, flirt with him and seduce him to find the truth. Devon has nothing to do with the Yakuza or the murder, but there is something about him that just beckons to her heart. There is nothing that she can do to stop the attraction and, by the time she realizes what is happening, it is too late. What will she do? Can she find out who the real killer is in time? Can she really trust anyone but herself?

This thrilling and twisted tale of a woman’s journey to find her freedom is brilliantly composed. Akira is a strong character who knows what she wants and she is not afraid to take actions that will get her what she wants. Desperation and determination ruled her mind, but that did not stop her from keeping a strong head and ensuring that she did what she was supposed to do. She is smart, decisive and commanding. I enjoyed how she took charge of the situation and did not wait around for someone to resolve her issue. This was a really well thought out, brilliant and entertaining novel.

K.J. Simmill

Akira Hamada has a debt. It is one she fears will never be paid, and one she dare not run away from. So when she is offered the chance of one final assassination to balance the books and earn her freedom, she is both optimistic and suspicious. More so because, for this job, she will not be travelling alone. Her targets are suspects in a murder, and her task is simple - if she can’t identify the killer, she is to erase the whole family. The job didn’t sit right with her. She wanted to be sure of their guilt, and to isolate the guilty person she needed to get close to them. The easiest way in was via Devon, the handsome young nephew, or at least she had thought it would be the easy way in. Akira was used to being in control, but there is nothing more unpredictable than love.

Kaylin McFarren spins a complex tale at a suitable pace to keep the reader engrossed from beginning to end. While the story being set on a cruise gives access to some great settings, along with a wide cast of characters, the plot focuses mainly on those integral to the story, and by doing so gives them great depth and personality. Filler characters are used to flesh out events, but are written in a way that does not seem two-dimensional. An extra string of suspicious deaths and missing people bring more to the already tense scenario of Akira's mission. Then the mysterious watcher enters ... and you’ll enjoy trying to figure out this person’s identity. If you’re looking for an engrossing read that has action, thrills, romance and intrigue, then Twisted Threads may very well be the book for you.

Divine Zape

Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren is a blend of mystery and murder that succeeds on multiple levels, a character-driven story with surprising plot twists. The title brilliantly communicates what awaits readers in this tale. The key character, Akira Hamada, is a woman who lives to kill. Hired and transformed into a murder weapon by the Yakuza boss, a cold-blooded crime lord, she is on a mission to eliminate the man who killed her boss’s sister.

But on the cruise ship, she will have to decide which of the Lyons is the actual killer — Sara or Paul — and to obtain that knowledge, she gets close to their nephew, Devon Lyons. But this innocent man quickly wins her trust and awakens a humanity in her that has been buried by a life of crime. With another killer lurking on the ship, she’ll find herself in great danger. To protect herself and the man she’s beginning to care about, there can be only one path — unveiling her real identity to Devon.

Kaylin McFarren is one of those rare authors with the gift of mesmerizing readers with intelligent plots and multi-dimensional characters. The surprises in this story are many, and at times it’s hard to avoid the dizziness that accompanies the ride. Akira is well-developed, a woman who’s been deeply hurt and who is driven by the strength of that hurt, but it is interesting to notice the hidden depths of her humanity, her emotions that awaken at the touch of a man. Twisted Threads is the kind of novel that you can’t put down. It is as emotionally charged and as laden with surprises as it is satisfying.

K.C. Finn

Twisted Threads is a work of fiction in the mystery, murder, and suspense subgenres. It is intended for the adult reading audience owing to scenes of graphic violence, sexual situations, and the use of explicit language throughout, and was penned by author Kaylin McFarren. In the fourth book in the thrilling Threads novel series, we are reunited with Yakuza assassin Akira Hamada when she is tasked with boarding a cruise ship to track down a murderer. Meanwhile, the young and innocent Devon Lyons has boarded the same ship with his aunt and uncle, Sara and Paul Lyons, for a happy holiday. Little does he know what role Sara and Paul play in the wider dispute, or that the charming Akira is after more than just his handsome looks.

Author Kaylin McFarren has a wonderful way of weaving plot-relevant reminders into her work so that readers who are unfamiliar with the rest of the series – or indeed, simply a little forgetful – can dive right in and get to the action with all the necessary intel as to who is who and what they’re up to. This made Twisted Threads thrilling and action-packed from the off, with a developing web of complexities that grows at the same pace as its steamy romantic elements. Fans of mysteries and romantic suspense novels will both find common ground here in this enthralling story, which is balanced well between its grisly, cut-throat elements and its emotional core. Akira’s yearning for redemption was a powerful force to be reckoned with, and her journey is what truly makes Twisted Threads a high-quality suspense novel that you can’t afford to miss.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren is the fourth book in the Threads series. Two years ago, Akira Hamada could have killed Kaito Mitsui, her biggest enemy. She didn’t and now she works for him as an assassin. As each day passes, Akira begins to loathe what she has become but she is about to face her greatest test yet, one that could be her redemption. Mitsui's sister was murdered and her killer is on the Starfish cruise ship. Matsui wants Akira to finish him off. Devon Lyons is on an innocent cruise with his aunt and uncle, Sara and Paul. They meet a Japanese tourist on board but have no idea that Sara and Paul are his targets. Akira can't work out whether the killer is Paul or Sara and plans to seduce Devon to get closer. But things take a strange turn and soon Devon and Akira are fighting for their survival. Will Akira go through with her assignment? Or is saving her own and Devon's lives now her true intention?

Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren is part of the Threads series but could be read as a standalone novel. However, it does bring back characters from a previous novel so the series is best read in order. A warning upfront - there is quite a bit of graphic violence in this story but I don't feel it was any more than the plot warrants. This is an action-packed novel from start to finish and one thing's for sure - it will keep you guessing. There are plenty of twists and turns and lots of clues along the way - if you know where to find them - all leading neatly to the surprising ending. The main plot is accompanied by several subplots but it is so cleverly written that you cannot lose your way in it. It's not just a mystery story; it has elements of a thriller, romance, and plenty of adventure, too. The characters are amazingly well-developed and likable people who fit the fast-paced story perfectly. This is highly recommended to anyone who loves an intense, action-packed story but do read the whole series.

Jamie Michele

Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren is a contemporary mystery romance and the fourth book in the Thread series, preceded by book one, Severed Threads, book two, Buried Threads, and book three, Banished Threads. The main character Akira Hamada has a debt to pay and a job to do: the former geisha turned assassin must eliminate the person suspected of murdering her boss's sister. Her boss is a horrible gangster, for the record. She boards a cruise ship with a decoy father, passing herself off as a normal nobody on the same vessel her target is on. Devon Lyons is the nephew of Sarah and Paul. Devon is the brother of Rachel who was held for ransom in Severed Threads, and who is in line to be collateral damage because Akira's hit is either Sarah or Paul. If she cannot figure it out through her fake-but-maybe-not-fake relationship that she forms with Devon, all three will become her mission. The problem is that Devon is growing on Akira and, as with everything else in her life, nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems.

It has been a long time since I read book one in the Threads series, and having Devon Lyons appear on the pages of Twisted Threads was almost surreal. I had not read books two and three so the “walk-on role” had me wanting to rush up and say, “Devon! Devonnnn! What's up, man?! How you been?” In a style that is quintessentially Kaylin McFarren, the writing of this book is superb. McFarren is skilled at creating memorable characters and fleshing them out with layered emotions and so many skeletons in the closet that there is hardly any room for the cruise staff who keep winding up dead. The sizzle is fantastic but I'm not sure I'd classify it as erotic. Steamy? Yes. Incredible? You betcha. Gratuitous? Not even a little. Shifting points of view allow us to see the story from several angles and the Love Boat-esque backdrop is just plain fun. Really bloody and scary and with lots of dead people...but FUN. There is nothing about this book or series that can be faulted, and now I will be boarding my time machine to catch up on the middle of the series. Very highly recommended.

Asher Syed

The ticket out of a life debt to a gang leader for Akira Hamada is a ticket on a cruise ship in Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren, the fourth book in the new adult suspense Threads series. Akira's boss Mitsui wants the person who murdered his sister Keiko to pay, and once she has eliminated the target she is free. Ready to finish her final mission. Akira boards the Starfish with her trusted cleaner playing the role of her father, perfecting the Japanese tourist disguise necessary to gain access to Sara and Paul Lyons. Akira is a former geisha, a geiko, and charm is a skill she knows well. The Lyons' nephew Devon is the key to getting enough information to determine if the murderer is Sara or Paul. From the outset, the mission looks simple enough, but once onboard and with Devon in Akira's bed, the path to freedom is a lot less clear and a lot more dangerous.

There is a cute cooking class scene on the cruise ship in Twisted Threads that very nearly convinces a reader that the way to a man's heart really is with food. Nearly. Kaylin McFarren has shown us that the fine art of sizzle, while fun whipping up yummy food, is still better when it happens on a stateroom balcony. McFarren wastes no time faffing about and hits the ground running with Akira covered in blood and, perhaps, bits of human head chunks. The pace never lets up and readers are instantly immersed in this cat and mouse game that continues to add unexpected elements, twists, and people as soon as we think we might be starting to figure the whodunit out. The heat and mystery are the best parts but the bronze goes to the hilarious dialogue exchanged between Paul Lyons and his wife's psychiatrist, Dr. Bradshaw. You did not misread that. Sarah Lyons travels with a psychiatrist. With that perfect little nugget of wonderfulness, we can comfortably wrap up this review, and sprinkle it with five extra shiny gold stars.

Ammaarah Seboa

Kaylin McFarren has done it again! I don’t even know where to begin with Twisted Threads, but the beginning seems like a good place. Twisted Threads takes place about 8 years after Severed Threads and focuses on the story of Akira Sato and Devon Lyons. Akira Sato, geisha turned trained assassin for the Japanese Yakuza, is tasked with uncovering the killer of her boss’s daughter. Devon Lyons, Akira’s mark and treasure hunter, joined his uncle on a cruise. It pulls the reader into investigating the rise in strange deaths upon the ship as well as unmasking the killer Akira is after. What’s a good mystery without a few dead bodies and romance?

I loved Akira and the representation of a strong female lead, which ultimately is Devon’s weakness. After reading Twisted Threads and getting to know both characters a little better, it is clear to see that Devon’s type is a badass, boss lady woman. I might have been reading the wrong kind of books up until now, but it’s rare to come across a character such as Akira because those traits are usually reserved for male leads. I’m not complaining though; I loved the switch-up. I swear Kaylin McFarren is the queen of plot twists! I thought that I knew it all, but I stand corrected. The way each of these characters’ lives, old and new, was intertwined in this intricate web of secrets, lies, and betrayal was mind-blowing. The book was told from both characters’ POVs as well as a Mystery Man. I sat on the edge of my seat and was blown away when all was revealed; a definite five out of five stars!

Heather Osborne

Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren is the fourth book in the psychological thriller series, Threads. Akira, once a geisha, now is an assassin for a branch of the dreaded Yakuza. Ordered by her boss to avenge the death of his niece, she finds herself on the cruise ship, Starfish, with orders to kill Paul and Sara Lyons. However, Akira desires more, and to secure her freedom from the life of blood and murder, she decides to use their nephew, Devon, to execute her escape. What she doesn’t count on is falling for the handsome treasure seeker. Yet, there is more going on than meets the eye on the Starfish as people keep ending up dead. Will Akira and Devon make it out alive, or are they destined to go the same way as the hapless victims of a faceless murderer?

I thoroughly enjoyed Twisted Threads by Kaylin McFarren. I wish I had known it was the fourth in the series before reading, but it worked well as a standalone, and I am tempted to go back and read the previous three books for greater context on the storyline. I found the novel more akin to romantic suspense than a psychological thriller, with several steamy scenes between Devon and Akira. Again, though, it doesn’t detract from the plot. I loved the twists—appropriate with the title—and I found myself rooting for Akira. There are many different things going on, but McFarren does an exceptional job of making sure all the plot points are tied up. I would heartily recommend this novel to fans of romantic suspense and action, and I would definitely read other books by McFarren in the future.

Melanie Kennedy

Twisted Threads is another exciting romantic thriller in the Threads series by Kaylin McFarren. Akira Sato has to assume the identity of Akira Hamada as her employer, Kaito Mitsui, tasks her to find his sister’s killer on the cruise ship Starfish, and terminate him or her inconspicuously. Akira is a geisha turned assassin and if all goes well this will be the last task she needs to complete before gaining her freedom. Almost as soon as the Starfish sails, Akira meets Devon Lyons and cunningly decides to get closer to the carefree young man to spy on her real targets: his uncle and aunt. What Akira doesn’t bargain on is falling in love with her decoy. Soon her time on the cruise is running out and she needs to find the real killer, threatening any possible future with Devon as well as their lives.

Twisted Threads is a thrilling action adventure with a budding romance built in. Kaylin McFarren whisks us away on a cruise ship to enjoy danger on the high seas. The relatively short and passionate love affair between Akira and Devon is beautifully executed. The lovers even take a trip to Hell, which usually wouldn’t scream romantic date night, but the author knows it’s all about spending quality time with each other. Kaylin knows how to write a captivating story, as she had me on edge from the prologue, introducing the mysterious watcher. This is an irresistible story for anyone looking for a good helping of thrill and romance. I can’t wait to read other books in the Twisted series.