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Book review: Dominance – Will Lavender

Donna Brown507 views
Fragmentary Thoughts
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About Dominance


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.

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Review: Dominance

This book started very promisingly. I love a good thriller or mystery and this seemed to provide a good mix of puzzles, mysteries and dangers.

The book revolves around a former professor (once convicted of murder, now acquitted), a current professor (once a student of the former professor), an author and a game called ‘The Procedure’, which seems to involve emulating the author’s works in real life. The aspects of the mystery surrounding the professor and author and murders that have taken place are very compelling, particularly as the book is told by jumping between the past and the present so you only learn a little bit at any one time.

Where the book falls down for me is ‘The Procedure’. Perhaps it’s a little too clever for me but I just couldn’t grasp the concept of people becoming so enamoured with ‘The Procedure’ that it led to ruined lives, hatred, mistrust and – ultimately – murder.

That notwithstanding it was a good read with some very interesting characters and a number of twists and turns that certainly kept me guessing, even if they did seem a little far-fetched at times!  

Verdict: 3/5

Source: Reviewer’s own copy

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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