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' 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' night class. She not only exposed the truth of Paul Fallows' 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?
©2011 Will Lavender (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"A brilliant concept, brilliantly executed. Dominance soars to the top of the thriller genre by infusing its rapid-fire plot with the mysteries of literature and authorship and offering cutting-edge (so to speak) psychological insights into minds both noble and horrifically demented. You'll never look at professors, authors or, well, books the same again. Oh, and that last page...." (Jeffery Deaver)
Mountain biking, surfing, skiing, literature, philosophy, psychology, theology and my ipod.
This is a smart murder mystery to the end (if such there is). Lavender does the dance of mystery--keeping the suspense going, not telling too much, while giving us just enough to keep guessing until the end (if such there is)--very well. Lesser writers fail at this cat and mouse game by doing stupid stuff. I thoroughly enjoyed this Stephen-King-like novel which never relied on any contrivances beyond reality or reason (a feat in itself). Can't wait now to enjoy his first novel, Obedience.
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