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Dominance

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Dominance Cover

ISBN13: 9781451617290
ISBN10: 1451617291
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

THE PROCEDURE HAS BEGUN . . .

Fifteen years earlier. Jasper College is buzzing with the news that famed literature professor Richard Aldiss will be teaching a special night class called Unraveling a Literary Mystery—from a video feed in his prison cell. In 1982, Aldiss was convicted of the murders of two female grad students; the women were killed with axe blows and their bodies decorated with the novels of notoriously reclusive author Paul Fallows. Even the most obsessive Fallows scholars have never seen him. He is like a ghost. Aldiss entreats the students of his night class to solve the Fallows riddle once and for all. The author’s two published novels, The Coil and The Golden Silence, are considered maps to finding Fallows’s true identity. And the only way in is to master them through a game called the Procedure. You may not know when the game has begun, but when you receive an invitation to play, it is an invitation to join the elite ranks of Fallows scholars. Failure, in these circles, is a fate worse than death. Soon, members of the night class will be invited to play along . . .

Present day. Harvard professor Alex Shipley made her name as a member of Aldiss’s night class. She not only exposed the truth of Paul Fallows’s identity, but in the process uncovered information that acquitted Aldiss of the heinous 1982 crimes. But when one of her fellow night class alums is murdered— the body chopped up with an axe and surrounded by Fallows novels—can she use what she knows about Fallows and the Procedure to stop a killer before each of her former classmates is picked off, one by one?

Review:

"A college campus, as it did in Lavender's debut, Obedience, provides the backdrop for the author's taut second stand-alone. In 1994, as an undergrad at Vermont's Jasper College, Alex Shipley was part of a controversial night class, Unraveling a Literary Mystery, taught from prison by literature professor Richard Aldiss, who was serving a life sentence for murdering two female grad students 12 years before. The class's mission: to learn the identity of reclusive author Paul Fallows, whose two novels were clues to his identity and were best understood by playing a game called the Procedure. Alex's investigation not only uncovered Fallows's identity and a masterful literary hoax but also exonerated Aldiss of the murders. Now a Harvard professor, Alex returns to Jasper after her classmates in Unraveling a Literary Mystery start turning up murdered, their bodies arranged the same way the two grad students were. Full-bodied characters, an effective gothic atmosphere, and a deliciously creepy, unpredictable finale will please fans of academic thrillers. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Obedience comes a new puzzle thriller that will keep you guessing until the final terrifying moments.

About the Author

WILL LAVENDER is the author of two previous novels, Obedience (which was a New York Times and international bestseller and was translated into fourteen languages) and Dominance. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Mels Musings, August 8, 2011 (view all comments by Mels Musings)
What a ride!

The tale takes place in the past and the present, slipping from one plot line to the other easily.
There are many similarities in the stories, and both focus on the intelligent Alex and the sinister but even more intelligent Richard Aldiss, her mentor and teacher.
In the past she takes his night class and works on a puzzle to exonerate her professor of the murder charges that keep him in prison. The night class is taught by Richard from prison, making those scenes very tense and mysterious.
In the present her old classmates join her to mourn the death of one of their own and the mystery continues as the now free, but still creepy, Dr. Aldiss, insists that someone from the night class committed the murder.

Well-written and fast-paced, it's an intelligent mystery.
As the book goes on, the chapters get shorter and shorter, creating a sense of urgency as Alex is in danger in both the past and present.

I would recommend the novel highly.
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The Loopy Librarian, July 20, 2011 (view all comments by The Loopy Librarian)
Dominance is not what I expected it to be. I was afraid I’d be reading a gruesome tale of an ax-murdering serial killer, but that’s not really what this book is about. It’s about a game, specifically literature as a game. It’s a game based on the works of a writer whose identity is unknown. When a literature class is brought together to study the works of this unknown author, their assignment is to use clues from the books to discover the writer’s identity. Their professor is a convicted killer whose guilt is also called into question during the course of the class. The game continues long after the class is over, and just as some mysteries appear to be solved, others begin. What are intriguing about this book are its intricacies and puzzles. It reminded me somewhat of the Da Vinci code because of the embedding of codes, clues and maps throughout. Even when I figured out the whodunit part of the story, I learned I didn’t really know what I thought I did. The book’s ending leaves the reader questioning everything they thought they knew about the characters. How many of them were still playing the game and will the game ever really end? Although it starts a little slow, Dominance is a fascinating novel that the reader will still be pondering long after reading the last page.
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Tammy Dotts, July 12, 2011 (view all comments by Tammy Dotts)
In 1994, nine English majors met for a night class at Jasper College. What made the night class special was its professor: Richard Aldiss, a convicted murderer. The nine students are given the task of discovering the identity of reclusive, renowned author Paul Fallows.

Years later, after the class resulted in Aldiss’ acquittal and the revelation of Fallows’ identity, the students reunite at a funeral. One of their classmates was murdered in an eerie imitation of the crimes of which Aldiss was accused.

Dominance by Will Lavender keeps both timelines in the air smoothly by focusing on Alex Shipley. In 1994, she’s the student responsible for solving the 1994 mysteries. In present day, she’s a Harvard professor. The reputation from her student days lead the police and Jasper officials to ask her to help solve the current crime.

That should be the signal that Dominance is not a piece of literature, that it’s nothing more than a Lifetime movie in book form. How Lavender juggles the two stories, however, makes it a little more than that, requiring a little more from readers expecting a James-Patterson-esque mystery to leave behind on the airplane or forget after reading. The final twist of Dominance makes it a novel readers won’t soon forget.

In 1994, the students don’t know what’s about to happen to them. In the present, they’ve all lived through it and don’t need to discuss it in detail. Lavender cleverly avoids exposition traps by doling out information almost on a need-to-know basis.

For example, the night class introduces the students to a game known as the Procedure. They refer to it in the present day setting as well. The rules of the game or how the students are involved remain unclear for a good while. Lavender explains it at exactly the right time, when readers are just about to give up caring about the game out of frustration. Granted, the game is odd and it’s hard to picture anyone taking it as seriously as its proponents, but, at the same time, it’s popular on college campuses where young adults may be more indulgent. That is, it’s popular on Lavender’s fictional campuses, although it’s not far fetched to see it catching on in reality.

The biggest problem with the game is its dependence on Fallows. Although the author is a central part of the mysteries, Lavender doesn’t do much to establish why he carries such importance in modern literature and why his works would captivate students so.

Aside from Alex and Aldiss (who although innocent of murder seems capable of everything else and more of which he’s accused), many of the characters blend into each other. The grieving widow, herself a former member of the class, appears on scene only to cry and serve as a brief red herring. That’s not a spoiler; it’s evident she’s never really a suspect. Another classmate appears to serve only as a sexual diversion. Alex’s former boyfriend is a little more fleshed out, but not fully enough to prevent some contradictions. Oddly, the minor character who does stand out is Daniel Hayden, one of the students. Hayden dies between 1994 and the current story, but his behavior in 1994 makes him someone Lavender should used as an example for how to create the remaining characters.

These flaws don’t matter all that much. Dominance remains an entertaining and suspenseful read. Lavender builds tension, increasing the stakes as the novel progresses. Readers can’t sit back and wait for the answers to the novel’s central mysteries to be handed to them. As Alex investigates each time’s mystery, every piece of information leads to the next, with clues intertwining across time. Sometimes the characters miss obvious connections, but there’s plenty for the reader to have to work to figure out. Much like Aldiss points his students in the right direction (or occasional wrong direction) and leaves it to them to identify and answer the correct question, Dominance expects its readers to do the same.

Not all answers readers come up with turn out to be correct. And the last pages of Dominance have the potential to cast the previous pages in a new light. A re-read promises a new experience.

Dominance is an above-average summer read. Pages will turn quickly.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451617290
Author:
Lavender, Will
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20110731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Sale Books
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Dominance Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781451617290 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A college campus, as it did in Lavender's debut, Obedience, provides the backdrop for the author's taut second stand-alone. In 1994, as an undergrad at Vermont's Jasper College, Alex Shipley was part of a controversial night class, Unraveling a Literary Mystery, taught from prison by literature professor Richard Aldiss, who was serving a life sentence for murdering two female grad students 12 years before. The class's mission: to learn the identity of reclusive author Paul Fallows, whose two novels were clues to his identity and were best understood by playing a game called the Procedure. Alex's investigation not only uncovered Fallows's identity and a masterful literary hoax but also exonerated Aldiss of the murders. Now a Harvard professor, Alex returns to Jasper after her classmates in Unraveling a Literary Mystery start turning up murdered, their bodies arranged the same way the two grad students were. Full-bodied characters, an effective gothic atmosphere, and a deliciously creepy, unpredictable finale will please fans of academic thrillers. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , From the New York Times bestselling author of Obedience comes a new puzzle thriller that will keep you guessing until the final terrifying moments.
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