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Dominance by Will Lavender


by Will Lavender

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While the premise of this book was interesting, I was confused. I thought this novel had no flow to it. I generally like stories that are told by alternate people or alternate periods, but it just didn't work for this one. I usually give books 50 pages and if I don't like it, I give up. (Too many books to read to waste time), but I kept going on this one thinking it had to get. I thought in the middle, it did get a bit more interesting but other than that, this was not a winner for me. There was not a single character that I could relate to or even liked. I would not classify this one as a thriller or suspense. I had high hopes for this one, but can't say much good about it. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Jun 17, 2017 |
Read this in one day because I could not *wait* to see what happened next. I find it a little implausible in places (beyond the usual serial killer thriller aspects) and the pacing is definitely off, but I definitely enjoyed it enough to read Lavender's other book. People who like Gone Girl will like this one, I think - not as deep psychologically, but just as twisty. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Mar 30, 2013 |
My advice? Skip it. The synopsis had me thinking this would be an epic psychological mystery. But Lavender never delivers. The book is all about the set up and never reaches the promise of the premise.

The characters are one-dimensional. The solution of the mysteries are disappointing. And the killer? Well he or she (no spoilers) could not possibly have committed any of the crimes given what we observe throughout the novel. Alex is physically with this person through many of the attacks. There is no way he or she could possibly have committed them.

Plus the writing. Ugh. I felt like I was reading a present day Downton Abby. But one that was devoid of any believable emotion. The narrator says the characters are feeling a particular emotion, but their actions and the events do not back up the alleged feelings. And when you find out exactly what "The Procedure" is ... you will realize just how dumb this book is. If playing the procedure is dangerous, than every actor in any horror movie is risking their life. And what exactly is so rewarding about playing the game? The thrill of having memorized lines? Woopdie do. How intellectually challenging (sarcasm).

Honestly, this book is all bark and no bite. And even the bark is pathetic. ( )
  snazz | Jan 6, 2013 |
This is another intensely riveting novel by Will Lavender. This story involves a group of students who are gathered some years after they took a specific college class. These students are 'used' to bring an end to a gripping mystery through the use of a game called Procedure. The twist, turns and challenges are mind boggling and keep the reader on the edge until the very end. Once again I am not crazy about the way the book ends, but if you enjoy a good mystery, then this book is for you. ( )
  CandyH | May 10, 2012 |
Dominance got my attention in the very first pages and hung on to it right to the end. It’s a book about a book with an author who may not even exist. It’s about the night class, taken a decade ago, and how it changed the lives of the students who took it. It’s about The Procedure, and the danger it represents. And it’s about a present-day murder and how it may change everything they thought they learned in the night class.

Back in 1994, tiny Jasper College offered a very special night class. It was taught by Richard Aldiss, a literary genius, and he would be teaching from his prison cell: Aldiss had been convicted of the brutal murders of two female graduate students at his former university. He is also an expert on author Paul Fallows, a recluse whose identity has never really been established. Aldiss challenges his students to discover Fallows’ identity and hints that in the process, they will uncover the real murderer.

In the present day, they have a new murder to solve: the death of a night classmate brings the students back to Jasper College. Alex Shipley, the star of the night class, has been asked to work with the local police — she solved the previous mystery and has at least some relationship with the genius professor. The former students congregate at the home of aged Dean Fisk for the funeral, while Alex and the police hunt for a murderer — and wonder if the night class turned one loose.

The pacing is what really draws you into the story. Writer Will Lavender doles out little nuggets of information, hints and tidbits that aren’t quite enough to really tell you what’s going on, but certainly make you keep reading. What is the Procedure, exactly? What happened in Iowa? What is the name of the man in the dark coat? What did Alex uncover in the night class?

The story has a bit of a locked-room feel to it, with all the students/suspects staying in the Dean’s home. That’s a bit of a stretch, but not completely improbable. Alex has to worry about whether there’s a murderer in the next room, plus she gets to wonder what’s going on amongst her old classmates while she is off working with the police or talking to her former professor. The story brings out Alex’s insecurities about what she discovered in the night class, about her position at Harvard, and the way she relates to her former professor and fellow students.

Dominance is a story full of juicy twists and turns. There are secrets, lies and unexpected revelations. You get enough information to keep you involved in the story, but not enough to know what it all means. I was curious at the start and every bit of revealed information fed the fires a little further. Definitely an intriguing read! ( )
  LisaLynne | Jan 1, 2012 |
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"The heart of the matter is that in this gentleman's article all people are divisible into 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary'. The ordinary must live obediently and have no right to transgress the law - because, you see, they're ordinary. The extraordinary, on the other hand, have the right to commit all kinds of crimes and to transgress the law in all kinds of ways, for the simple reason that they are extraordinary. That would seem to have been your argument, if I am not mistaken."
Raskolnikov smiled again.
Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
Oh, what we once thought we had, we didn't
And what we have now will never be that way again
So we call upon the author to explain

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, "We Call Upon the Author"
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The Jasper College Faculty Board has approved a controversial night class on a vote of 5 to 4.
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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 acquited 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 one of her former classmates is picked off, one by one?

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Attending a controversial literary mystery night class taught by a professor who has been convicted of murder, Alex Shipley unravels an elaborate literary hoax that acquits the teacher, only for her to be targeted years later by a determined killer.

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