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Ill Will Audiobook

Ill Will: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

Two sensational unsolved crimes - one in the past, another in the present - are linked by one man's memory and self-deception in this chilling novel of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon.

"We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves." This is one of the little mantras Dustin Tillman likes to share with his patients, and it's meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?

A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his 40s when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin's parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to epitomize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.

Meanwhile, one of Dustin's patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses his patient's suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but as the two embark on an amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there's more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries - and putting his own family in harm's way.

From one of today's most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon's nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.

©2017 Dan Chaon (P)2017 Random House Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (220 )
5 star
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3.3 (207 )
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4.1 (206 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 03-23-17
    cristina Somerville, MA, United States 03-23-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2949
    ratings
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    316
    274
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    Story
    "Not for those who like rosy things"

    This is a very dark book which accounts for the disparate reviews. If you like uplifting stories of triumph over adversity, this is not for you. If you like brilliant writing and unusual characters, give it a try. It is totally unexpected and I am already listening to another one by the same author (equally dark...Mr. Chaon is not a happy man). Yes, the ending could have been different, but I didn't find it as jarring as some of the other reviewers. In fact, it almost had to be so. And the performances are stellar. Ballerini has always been one of my favorite narrators but all of the others do a great job as well.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    justin day Erlanger, Ky 03-17-17
    justin day Erlanger, Ky 03-17-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    3
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    "A Certain Kind"

    This is a certain kind of book for a certain kind of person. It's going to divide people. To read it is to take a chance. If you are going to take that chance, don't spoil it by reading tons of reviews. Just dive in.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 05-08-17
    Susan 05-08-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed every sentence"

    I love Don Chaon's tragic, yet darkly humorous books and short stories. His similes and metaphors are the best.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Kramer Paoli, Pa. United States 04-01-17
    M. Kramer Paoli, Pa. United States 04-01-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Tense"

    A great story. Well written and very well read. The readers did a great job.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ilene 03-13-17
    ilene 03-13-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    70
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    "Disappointed"

    After spending 3 days listening to a book I absolutely could not put down- an extremely unsatisfying ending. The narration for the most part was impeccable- except for 2 small sections where a female narrator took over. I have never heard a more irritating raspy abrasive voice- I actually had to skip those parts since it was so grating! How she was chosen is baffling. Again, other than that, the entire book was amazing on every level -therefore I trusted the author to bring it to an exceptional conclusion. I was extremely let down at the end so after all this, I cannot recommend it.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 07-23-17
    Linda 07-23-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "STRANGE"

    This is one weird book. Many characters, disjointed,convoluted!
    A story about a totally disfunctional family. The characters are depressing and unlikeable.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johnny Kibler 07-14-17 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "At the top of his game"

    Chaon takes you on an amazing ride. He never disappoints but this one is incredibly and overwhelming dark, personal and engaging. The multiple perspectives and overall time and place are brilliantly evoked. Terrific!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Xero Hax 07-02-17
    Xero Hax 07-02-17
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No resolution."

    Nothing gets resolved. The writer purposefully leaves almost all questions unanswered. Fantastic narration.

    Really good writing, too.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Minneapolis, MN, United States 06-15-17
    Adam Minneapolis, MN, United States 06-15-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterfully Written and Read"

    THIS is what brilliant literary fiction should aspire to. Complex, unflinching, vivid.

    Each character is a sharp, distinct personality with aspirations and anxieties ranging from profound to petty. The plot is knotty and intricate yet never confusing or muddled. Chaon's insights into people and modern America are profound.

    One of the greatest strengths of the book is Chaon's mastery of character POV: His shifts in point of view are deft and each character's "voice" is distinct. Best of all is the way Chaon gives you multiple views of a character, ranging from their own interior view of themselves to the ways other characters think of them. A masterful demonstration of characters brought to life through contradictory perspectives.

    Yes, the subject matter is dark. If you're OK with that, this book is hugely rewarding. I'm so excited about it that I don't want to say more -- one of the joys of this book is discovering its twists and subtleties for yourself.

    The cast is equally superb. The fact that this book has a cast rather than a reader is an indicator of how good it is and how much others believe in it.

    Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The Dark Side 03-14-17 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worst waste of time!"

    Ill Will is horrible! Im just mad i listened to the whole thing. Okay at first, then got dumber and dumber.
    You don't know if its schizo, a dream, or delusion. Definitely psychiatric problems. The narration was actually very good. Only reason i kept listened, plus i thought just maybe that it would come together finally. Nope ! I never read reviews before i write mine. If someone enjoyed it,, I'm glad.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
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  • joanjava
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    3/26/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dark and deliberate."

    Interesting twists in p.o.v. Growly voiced narration pitch perfect. Prose self conscious at times. Good listen. Recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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