Lola Smirnova's Twisted is an adult suspense thriller that is written by a former sex worker. The book is packed with action, and starts off in the midst of a sex scene. In this way, the stage is immediately set for how the rest of the book will play out. The main character’s name is Julia, whose two sisters Natalia and Lena have moved to Luxembourg in search of making money as cabaret workers. Julia is the youngest and sees the lifestyle as a way to get out of the squalid life she is living and to try to escape from a meaningless future. She is joins her sisters in Luxembourg to become prostitutes in Luxemburg city. Along the way, Julia realizes that the lifestyle comes along with much more than she signed up for.
The story is written in first person and delves deep inside the lives of those who live and work in the sex industry. It is an interesting opportunity for the reader to be able to understand the social and economic circumstances that made Julia, and perhaps real-life workers in the business, consent to becoming a sex worker. Julia cannot not see the difference between people who stay in relationships for reasons other than attraction or love and those who honestly name their own price for sex. At the same time, she describes her workplace as a champagne slaughterhouse, and within a few chapters, it is easy to see why.
Anyone who reads Twisted will see an exceptionally raw, dirty depiction of the sex industry, unabashedly recounted by Julia. Julia’s life is traumatic and saddening, filled with sibling fights and rivalries, fetishes, psychotic customers, drug overdoses, rape, betrayal, and poverty. There is no sugar-coating here, and yet this is not the narrator preaching against her lifestyle. She simply presents it the way it is, and provides commentary for how she feels about her experiences along the way. I would recommend this book for adults who want a realistic, explicit story about a prostitute’s harrowing experiences and her fight for triumph.