This mystery had me absorbed until the end. Part Silence of the Lambs part And Then There Were None, I loved the uncertainty of who was the "good guy" (and bad guys or girls)...and who was capable of murder.
However, I felt the ending was weak. I suspected part of the ending, but there's another part that's unexplained and muddled (for example, who would use one of the student's midlist novels to start a new "Procedure"? Why bother?).
Admittedly, the plot is a stretch: lit types, nationwide, would engaging in spontaneous role-playing games to test would-be scholars (students) of an enigmatic author (Paul Fallows). If you failed to play the scene from the book on cue, you were suddenly "cast out" of the Fallows scholars (like, how would they keep track?).
An ambitious, twisty book with solid prose, Dominance just got a bit too knotty (and unbelievable) at the end for me to call this a great book. With some tweaking, it may have been...
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
Janet Boyer (JanetBoyer)
Author of The Back in Time Tarot BookandTarot in Reverse. Co-creator of theSnowlandDeck. Amazon.com Hall ofFame/ VineReviewer; Freelance Writer/Reviewer; Blogger; Professional Tarot Reader/Teacher; Lover … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
"The self-reflective process of literary criticism known as 'deconstructing the text' becomes a diabolical game of murder inDominance, an academic mystery by Will Lavender that gleefully illustrates the dangers of losing yourself in a book. . . . Lavender has the devious skills to write a twisted puzzle mystery."—The New York Times Book Review
“Mr. Lavender should be able to write his third, fourth and fifth puzzle-crazy potboilers on the visceral strength of the first two. . . .Dominanceis quick and complicated, in a wishfullyDa Vinci Codeway. But it is also very narrow, À la Agatha Christie . . . Part of Mr. Lavender’s sleight of hand involves flattering the reader’s keen intelligence . . . His book is tightly edited, with a lot of choppy leaps between 1994 and the present, and with a lot of white space (À la James Patterson) to accompany them. And he writes with real enthusiasm . . . Yes, this book’s obsession with riddles and game playing is what one of its characters calls “high nerd,” . . . But it is sincere and not just a feat of cookie cutting.”—Janet Maslin,The New York Times
“Lavender's novel is a literary labyrinth, the kind made popular by Jorge Luis Borges, without ever losing the pace or the pleasure of a taut thriller.”—Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
"Silence of the Lambs, Agatha Christie, and maybe Pynchon are prerequisites for this thriller set in small-town ...