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A Twist at The End Mass Market Paperback – Dec 9 2001


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (Dec 9 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312980663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312980665
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 10.5 x 17 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,856,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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WILLIAM Pendleton Gaines, publisher and editor of the Austin Statesman, took a sip of scalding coffee and stepped onto his balcony. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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By A Customer on May 14 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Based on what I have read from majority of the prior reviewers, I have discovered a trend. All of the reviewers were fans of the Roma Sub Rosa series, and obviously were looking for more. I had not heard of Steven Saylor (as I am not a "Roman Reader") until an interview on this very book on NPR. The next day I carried a hard cover out of Book People and had finished it within 24 hours, happy to have found a great new author to enjoy. Saylor's has a great ability to bring fact and fiction together, both with his characters and the environment in which he surrounds them, he completely emerges the reader in the events of the time. Afterwards I proceeded to purchase the Roma Sub Rosa series, as I wanted more of Saylor, and I enjoyed each one as much as this book, and also hope there will be more, but I will always be glad my first Saylor novel was "A Twist at the End". I believe every author needs to branch out and try new interests, but it shows here how loyal fans can easily turn on a great writer.
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By mec on May 6 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
His research in the Sub Rosa Series paints a very believable picture of life at the end of the Republic. Likewise, his excavation of late 19th Century Central Texas is both accurate and verifiable. Lady liberty of the State Capitol building is every bit as ugly faced as he describes and no Texas City would have survived without a tenderloin district like "Guy Town." ( In Waco, we called it " The Reservation" and it lasted right up until Prohibition and other such noble experiments did so much to unravel the moral fiber of the nation).
William Sydney Porter really did live in Austin and San Antonio in the time frame of the novel and no doubt traveled the region on the extensive rail system that then extended all over the fifty-year-old fifedom of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston.
By 1888, The Texas Capitol plaza was lighted by electric arc lights
The actions and nature of Saylor's characters are real- or real enough to let the reader suspend disbelief and he unravels a true century-old mystery in a most believable and satisfactory manner.
The title " A Twist at the End" is more of a bow to the trademark of the main character than a synopsis of the book. That the reader is able to sort out the mystery well before Mr. Porter learns the whole truth, in no way detracts from the satisfing nature of this story.
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By A Customer on April 3 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The negative reviews here are pretty much on target. Long, slow, no reason to really care about the characters, and no mystery. At its core, I think Saylor has a personal interest in Austin, TX and his publisher was willing to let him experiment given that I assume lots of money has been made on the sub rosa series. As a Texan, it is interesting to get a flavor for the place and times. In the end, though, this is supposed to a novel and very little of that works. Given the length of the book, it makes the disappointment a little more costly.
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By A Customer on Jan. 28 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Oh, how I love Saylor's ancient Roman murder mysteries! That's where his heart lies and that's where the talent really is. I have a passing acquaintamce with Saylor and was thrilled to learn from him that he'd written a novel set in Texas in the late 18th/early 20th century. In fact, I ran to the store that day and purchased a copy. From page 1 something bothered me about the story, the narrative, the book. It took me about 20 pages to discern that what bothered me was that it was all written in the present tense. Example (not from Saylor's book): "By this time, I'm hungry. I go to a sandwich shop and get a nice fat ham and cheese. I eat it so fast that I dribble mustard on my shirt. I run to get some water to clean it..." This drove me batty and I couldn't, despite many further attempts, finish this creaky, ill-conceived disaster. Again, let me state for all time what a genius Saylor is with his Roman work -- everyone should read them; they're all real page-turners. But let me also caution Mr. Saylor that, next time I meet you, I'd like to say how wonderful your last book was instead of what I think of this one.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Steven Saylor is known for his fine (Roman) historical detective series. However with the unfortunately titled 'Twist at the End' (..known as 'Honour the Dead' in Britain) Saylor spins a mystery fable based in his home town of Austin (Texas), circa 1885. He has cleverly recontructed a story surrounding a series of true crimes: the brutal murders of young women over a two year period (..in fact these crimes were never solved). Saylor makes use of some infamous/notorious late 19th century Austin residents to embellish his story. Sadly, these embellishments completely ruin any sense of believability; this is a major "no-no" with any piece of historical fiction. And as other reviewers noted, despite its title no one will find a "twist at the end" here.
But all is not lost. The prose flows very well, and the characterizations have some depth to them. I actually enjoyed 'Twist at the End' for its snapshot of 1880s Austin life. Folks interested in Texas history will appreciate the author's obvious detailed research.
Bottom line: certainly a half-baked mystery novel. But the overall writing talents of the author and historical perspectives make 'Twist a the End' a surprisingly decent read.
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