My review of Will Lavender's phenomenal thriller DOMINANCE appeared last week in Shelf Awareness. With their permission, I am reposting it here today. If it's not already, this one needs to be in your MUST READ pile!
First Line: "The Jasper College Faculty Board has approved a controversial night class on a vote of 5 to 4."
Alex Shipley is a professor at Harvard when she’s summoned back to her alma mater, Jasper College, for a murder investigation. Fifteen years earlier Alex and her classmates participated in a night class taught by Professor Richard Aldiss from his prison cell. Aldiss was convicted of murdering two college students, but through Alex’s investigations in the course of the class, she cleared Aldiss of murder. But now there’s another murder, could Aldiss have actually been guilty?
Will Lavender unfolds his puzzling thriller by alternating between 1994 and the present, telling the story through the limited third person perspective of Alex Shipley. By alternating the time periods, Lavender is able to build the suspense, creating cliffhangers and then switching back to the opposite time. He provides just enough information to lead the reader to the edge of the cliff and then throws in a twist.
By using Alex Shipley’s perspective, Lavender creates a tone of uncertainty. Alex believes her professor is innocent, but so much evidence points to the contrary. Her internal conflict ramps up the plot’s intensity. All of the characters are deceptively rich, filled with secrets and hidden layers.
Alex Shipley poses the question to her classmate, “what if you could read a book and treat it as a competition between you and its author?” Lavender is challenging his readers with DOMINANCE; can you defeat the master?
DOMINANCE is available from Simon & Schuster in hardcover (ISBN: 978-1451617290). It is also available in audiobook format from Simon & Schuster Audio (ISBN: 9781442341906). I read DOMINANCE in print, so I can't speak to the narration, but it is read by Christopher Evan Welch.
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