Friday, October 14, 2011

Dominance - Will Lavender

It all started with Swapna's review.  She threw phrases around like "literary puzzle" and "thrill ride".  She was purposefully vague about a twisty plot with a wink and a nod to book lovers.  So the seed was planted.  Then, as books are wont to do, it hurled itself into my path at a Borders closeout sale at 70% off.  Who am I not to take a hint? 

The book was perfect for the RIP Challenge.  It just had the unfortunate luck to be in my hands when I went to SIBA, so I didn't have the preferred momentum when reading it.  But never mind.  Even in a distracted state of mind, this book did a number on me.

Synopsis:  A successful Harvard professor, Alex Shipley is called back to Jasper College, her alma mater, because one of her classmates has been brutally murdered.  The murder strangely resembles one that took place years ago that was presumably committed by literature professor Richard Aldiss.
 
When Alex attended Jasper, she and a group of other students attended a night class taught, via transmission from prison, by Aldiss.  The class focused on one author's works - an author whose existence and true identity was highly speculated and had become something of an urban legend.  For years students had enjoyed reenacting this ghostwriter's novels in something called "The Procedure", but the game had a reputation for turning violent. 

After this latest murder, however, it appears that someone may be playing "The Procedure" again.  Nobody can be trusted, and nobody is safe.

My thoughts:  I'm aware that my synopsis probably makes no sense and seems a little convoluted.  That is because the entire story is one big jigsaw puzzle and half the time I had no idea what was going on.  I began to have flashbacks to the movie "The Game" (have you seen this?) with Michael Douglas, where you never know what is real, or who can be trusted.  I've also seen this book compared to "The Silence of the Lambs", which I would agree with 100%.  Aldiss and Shipley have that Hannibal/Clarice vibe going on.   

I love "locked-door mysteries", and this story falls into that category.  The bad guy (or gal) has to be one of a finite number of people.  Total Agatha Christie, and so much fun.

Like Swapna, I've left out quite a bit of the plot, because reading it cold is like making your way through a funhouse with mirrors and false doors.  My warning to you, the reader, would be to read this story when you are awake and alert, don't drink a glass of wine, and read it quickly.  It would be easy to miss the whole point.  In fact, when I turned the last page, I was scratching my head and asking myself "Wha?  What just happened? Who is the evil-doer here?".  It probably could even use a re-read.  But I admire cleverness, and Will Lavender has it in spades.  It just may be a tad too clever for its own good.

4 out of 5 stars     

17 comments:

Kate@Midnight Book Girl said...

This has definitely been on my tbr list for awhile. I read Obedience over the summer (because that's the Will Lavender book I was able to get through paper back swap first) and enjoyed it, but Dominance is the book I really want to get my hands on. Great review, can't wait to read it!

Julie P. said...

Ooooh! I bet I'd love this one!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I started this, but couldn't figure out what the heck was going on, so I DNF'ed it.

reviewsbylola said...

I have this one on my wishlist but I am scared to read it. I don't like being kept in the dark for too long and it sounds like this one may be confusing.

caite said...

I read this...but I think I forgot to review it.
I did not like it as much as you did. It was pretty good, but I did not really like the basic premise...too much of a 'gimmick' for me.

Zibilee said...

I really want to read this one, but I can tell from your description and the way that you wrote your review that it's going to have to be a read that I really focus on and pay attention to. I think it sounds a lot like Mr. Peanut, which was also a scratch your head kind of book, but one that has a great premise as well. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this one. It sounds like a very thought provoking book.

Darlene said...

Hmmmm, not sure this one is for me. It sounds interesting enough but if I have to concentrate that hard to figure out what's going on I tend to get discouraged. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Jenny said...

Ack I'm afraid this one would go over my head!

bermudaonion said...

I remember you talking about this book at SIBA. I don't think I want to read it while Carl's out of town.

farmlanebooks said...

I haven't heard of this one, but I am a big fan of twisty plots - especially those that have extras for book lovers. I've added this to my list. Thank you!

Jenners said...

I read Lavender's book Obedience and it just didn't work for me … though the premise sounds somewhat similar. Doesn't sound like he got much better! And I remember just loving The Game!! I hadn't thought about that movie in ages!

Trisha said...

I like locked-door mysteries too, and that bloody ax is certainly attention grabbing. :)

Alyce said...

Between being too clever for its own good and that cover I'm not drawn to this book at all.

Kathleen said...

This sounds so good and I love the movie, The Game so if this book is anything like that I know I will love it.

Swapna said...

Yay, glad you finally made it through this one and you enjoyed it!!!

Gavin said...

This one sounds fabulous! I am adding to my list.

Melissa said...

I must have missed Swapna's review, but this one is one my list now!