113 of 124 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great "beach" read, right Sawyer?
You've crashed on a mysterious island, filled with polar bears, strange people, and mysterious hatches, that apparently all add up to something, but what it is, you just don't know. So, to spend your time, while hiding the island's weaponry, you read what you happen to find in the wreckage. That being, a mystery book, written by one Gary Troup (whose name, mysteriously,...
Published on May 8, 2006 by James Hiller
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jack Did Sawyer a Favor when He Threw this One into the Fire
"Bad Twin" is billed as the final work of author Gary Troup, who is missing and feared dead after the disappearance of Oceanic flight 815. Of course, anyone familiar with the magnificent TV drama "Lost" will recognize that this setup itself is part of the storyline. So the real question is whether the book is an important piece in that show's intriguing mythology or...
Published on May 23, 2006 by D. R. Jeanclerc
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113 of 124 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great "beach" read, right Sawyer?,
You've crashed on a mysterious island, filled with polar bears, strange people, and mysterious hatches, that apparently all add up to something, but what it is, you just don't know. So, to spend your time, while hiding the island's weaponry, you read what you happen to find in the wreckage. That being, a mystery book, written by one Gary Troup (whose name, mysteriously, anagrams into "purgatory"). Fortunately, prior to his disappearance on that fateful Oceanic flight, he submitted his manuscript for this mystery novel, and thus, we get a chance to read the book, discovered by Hurley and so infatuated Sawyer, "Bad Twin".
"Bad Twin" tells the story of Paul Artisan, a private eye with a penchant for tracking down insurance scammers and cheating spouses. He meets up with one Cliff Widmore, a rich businessman, who hires Artisan to find his long lost identical twin brother Zander. Adventure ensues as Paul island hops from New York to Key West to Cuba, and meets up with the usual suspects; beautiful women, naked gurus, crusty sailors with secrets to hide. As a stand alone mystery, the book is fairly solid if not overly challenging.
Those of us who are Lost fans, however, the book layers in a second meaning. As Paul returns home, and checks in with his own personal guru, a retired professor named Manny, we learn snippets of information that may or may not relate to the show. Discussions of King Lear, redemption, and yes, the philosopher John Locke, pepper the plot between the action scenes. Throw in a trip to Australia on board Oceanic Airlines, and other little surprises (like the twins birthdays), it was enough to whet the whistle of this Lost fan.
So, find some airplane wreckage, curl up on a beach with some borrow glasses, and enjoy this fun little romp through the mysterious world of Paul Artisan and the even more mysterious world of Lost. It's too bad they put Gary Troup on the plane though. It would have been nice to read another mystery by him!
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I know what POSTMODERN means!,
For years, in book reviews and stuff about pop culture, I've seen the word "postmodern"--but I never knew exactly what it meant, other than hip, brainy, and strange. After reading--okay, inhaling--Bad Twin, I think I finally get it. This is a book that toys with everything we think we know about fiction, reality, and how storytelling works. It grabs the reader on a lot of different levels, and is...well, hip, brainy, and strange!
On one level, Bad Twin is an old-fashioned, straight-ahead detective story--and a really good one, with vivid characters, snappy dialogue, plenty of twists and turns, and even a sexy little love story thrown in. It's so tidy that I wouldn't be surprised if the real author--just a guess--was an old master like Elmore Leonard.
But wait, that's just the first level. Here's where it gets weird...
The supposed "author", Gary Troup, is himself a fictional character from the fictional universe of LOST. So which world does the story of Bad Twin belong to? Our world or the world of the Island? So now we have a fiction within a fiction, a mystery within a mystery. Is the detective only trying solve a murder?--or is he also--consciously or otherwise--following clues about the Island? And if the fictional Troup perished in the crash, is it just coincidence that the book echoes so many of the themes of the show? All those twins and mirror-images: Truth and fiction; coincidence and fate; suffering and redemption...
This book is a total page-turner the first time through, and probably complex enough to deserve a second reading.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun for "Lostralians",
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a fast and easy read. I admit that I wouldn't have bought it if not for the Lost connections, but I'm glad I did. The protagonist is a likeable man whose surname, Artisan, comes from the Basque word for "shepherd," a Lost connection. The twins were born 23 minutes apart near midnight, so the birthday of one is 8/15 and the other 8/16 (8, 15, 16, and 23 are four of the six Lost numbers). Of course there are the Widmore and Hanso connections found here as well as a character named Shannon, who sounds like the woman that the island's Shannon might have become had she not crashed on the island. Cindy, the flight attendant who was the last "tailie" captured by The Others, is a minor character in the book as well as "Gary Troup's" fiancee. Lost fans, the price is right on Amazon, so go ahead and buy it. You'll enjoy it.
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jack Did Sawyer a Favor when He Threw this One into the Fire,
"Bad Twin" is billed as the final work of author Gary Troup, who is missing and feared dead after the disappearance of Oceanic flight 815. Of course, anyone familiar with the magnificent TV drama "Lost" will recognize that this setup itself is part of the storyline. So the real question is whether the book is an important piece in that show's intriguing mythology or just a shameless cash grab aimed at the show's cult following?
Unfortunately, the book quickly reveals itself to be the latter. The "Lost" connection (such as it is - more on that later) notwithstanding, "Bad Twin" is simply an awful piece of crime fiction. The story packs in every pulp cliche imaginable: the down-on-his-luck private eye, the seductive femme fatale who could be ally or assassin, the conflicted client with secrets to keep. All of them bumble into each other's lives solely for the purpose of spouting ridiculous dialogue (just wait until you get to the "seduction" scenes - it's comedy at its finest).
The plot feels completely linear, i.e. throughout the entire book you pretty much know how the story is going to play out, right up until the very end. This is accomplished through the most ham-handed of exposition from the protagonist's mentor, a character who shows up from time to time to completely explain everything and offer "a vs. b" options for what will happen until his next appearance. After a while, this becomes annoying because the author is obviously condescending to the reader with this overdone explanation. "Don't read much, TV viewer? Here - let me help you." The book wraps up with the crown jewel of lazy writing: the chapter where all surviving good guys get together to just say out loud the means and motives of all of the story's mysteries. It's about as gripping as a below-average episode of "Scooby-Doo".
Alright, alright - so it's not exactly Dashiell Hammett or Michael Connelly. But what's in it for the "Lost" devotee? Regrettably, very little. There are passing references to the Hanso Foundation, the numbers, and even quotes from the philosopher John Locke (get it?!? like the character on the show!). But all of it seems cut-and-pasted into the story for the sake of selling this dog to the show's rabid fanbase. Themes of faith, redemption and purgatory (an anagram of the author's name, by the way) are hammered into the reader's head with the artlessness that is the trademark of everything else in the book. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that this had been a rejected manuscript that the publishers bought back on the cheap and so that an intern could sprinkle it with "Lost" tidbits before rushing it off to press.
I had reservations as soon as I saw "Bad Twin" on the shelf, but just couldn't help myself. Save your money and save your time (that's one good thing - you can probably read the entire book in a day) and just keep watching the show. Falling for these sorts of cross-marketing gimmicks ultimately end up cheapening the experience of the show itself, which is a shame.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 Books in One,
If you haven't bought this book yet, buy it, and read it, NOW. Whoever actually wrote this (Steven King? Elmore Leonard? A surprise guest like John Grisham or Scott Turow?) is a storytelling wizard. Bad Twin is really four books in one.
The first story is the search for the twin -- a taut and clever yarn that follows all the rules of the detective genre. The second book consists of all of the "Easter eggs" -- some of them quite obvious, others pretty subtle, that refer to things that have been seen on LOST.
The third book -- pretty intriguing! -- is made up of thoughts and coincidenses that seem to belong to the universe of LOST, but haven't actually been seen on the show. Are they clues to things that will happen? Are they peices of the puzzle/game that's now heating up on the Web?
The fourth book is the one that weaves together all the others, in ways that range from the sly to the definately spooky. This is a fun read and a real brain tickler. I absolutely loved it and I can't wait to read everyting else this author, whoever he or she is, has in print!
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great mystery even if you DON'T watch "Lost",
I read Bad Twin initially for its connections to ABC's hit TV show, Lost. For those of you who don't watch the show, author "Gary Troup" was a passenger on Oceanic Flight 815, the flight that crashed in the pilot episode. He is supposedly among the dead in that crash, and one of the characters found the manuscript of his final novel in the wreckage. Now Hyperion (a printing arm of ABC's parent company, Disney) has published this posthumous lost novel. No pun intended.
Read on its own merits, Bad Twin is a really engaging mystery novel. Paul Artisan is a private detective hired by a wealthy young man to track down his misanthrope twin brother. As he begins a cross-country and, eventually, cross-planet search. The things he uncovers causes Artisan to question which of the men is truly the "bad twin," the nature of good and evil and how perception plays into reality. While it's not quite as high-falootin' as some of the advance hype would suggest, it's a gripping read that keeps you interested and reading right through to the final twist at the end.
Read in the context of the Lost universe, the book is even better. The book makes extensive use of the Widmore family and the Hanso Foundation, real entities in the world of Lost, where this book is allegedly fiction. Furthermore, as a sort of in-joke, much of the novel takes place on various islands, and there is heavy discussion about the concept of purgatory -- even Gary Troup's name is an anagram for "purgatory." Many fans of the show have postulated that the characters have died and are in purgatory, and although the producers have repeatedly denied that is the case (and I believe them), I think there is merit in comparing the idea to the situation of the television series in a metaphorical sense rather than a literal one.
The one problem I really have is that the real author of the book, at present, is unknown. I've heard several rumors, including James Patterson, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, but whoever it is, I like to give credit where credit is due. This is an excellent mystery novel even if you don't watch Lost, and it is only fair that the writer get to take a bow.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable,
I prepurchased because of hype of Lost, but didn't expect all that much. It's great. I read it in one sitting. Couldn't put it down. The are a few references to people, places, etc. that you recognize from Lost, but just enough to tie it to the fictional author. There have been suggestions on the internet as to who might actually have authored it and for those of you who have seen them, as a fan of his, I believe it to be true.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's call a duck a duck, and a mediocre book a mediocre book.,
I'll be honest, I found nothing outstanding about this book aside from the fact that it would have made me feel outstandingly bad had I actually spent money on it.
I recently got a chance to listen to Bad Twin in its entirety as an audio book. I'll say straight off the bat, that if you are looking for all the answers to LOST and/or The Lost Experience webmaze, you will not find them in this book. It is simply not worth paying money for as a book of "clues".
Despite the heavy marketing, this is pretty mediocre fiction, and not heavily tied into the plot of LOST. There are some cute areas of crossover and some (likely small) hints thrown throughout the book, but the story is a different one altogether.
The story is of small-time detective Paul Artisan, who is hired by tycoon Cliff Widmore to find his identical twin Zander. Along the way, he finds a mystery of growing complexity in which he himself may be in danger -- in a world where every person and every thing could potentially have a dual and opposing "mirror."
Generally, I found the audio book to be entertaining enough for passing a long roadtrip. The characters, however, were basically stereotyped and formuleic. The mystery itself had a turn or two, but was not anything I found particularly original. I left feeling I had read this book before, except it was better written when Agatha Christie did it (though with less mention of twins). The book was stuffed to the brim with literary references, but most seemed rather contrived - metaphors placed to bring it more pseudointellectual recogntion on par with "literature" of a different class. The plot flowed nicely enough; not what I'd call "gripping", but with a pace that kept the pages turning.
All in all, I probably would have been a little kinder on the book had they not pushed so hard with its marketing. It's difficult not to see it as overrated, like a bloated Hollywood blockbuster-wannabe that spends 90% of its budgeting on ads. That being said, as a mystery, this book is not entirely without merits or substance, but it is tough to see through the hype.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't help myself,
I am an obsessive "Lost" fan - I admit it. I follow the message boards, I get the "Lost" magazine, I even add my two cents on the message boards from time to time. Just when I was wondering HOW I could survive a summer without "Lost", my pre-ordered copy of "Bad Twin" arrived in the mail (then I left it on a plane, and I actually bought another copy! It's pitiful - I know).
I didn't really have high hopes for this book - I was really just looking for a summer "Lost" fix, but it turned out to be a not so bad mystery, and it was fun to pick out some of the subtle and not so subtle "Lost" references.
All in all, I would give it a C+ or B-. I've read far better mysteries, and I probably would never have read it if it weren't for the "Lost" tie-in, but I do think the book is a mostly decent read. If you are looking for an exceptional mystery novel, I would pass on this book, but as a "Lost" fix, it did the job.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost Opportunity,
Lately, private detective Paul Artisan has been handling routine cases such as insurance fraud and medical malpractice. Artisan is surprised when Clifford Widmore hires him to find his missing twin brother, Zander - Widmore is from a wealth family and can certainly afford to hire a big firm to find Zander. But Widmore insists that Paul is the perfect guy for the job - a big firm would bring publicity, which is the last thing the Widmore family wants. Paul has doubts that he can do the job, Zander could be anywhere in the world, but he accepts the challenge. Little does he know that in trying to find Zander, Paul will find himself.
Although this book is connected to the TV show "Lost" (the "author" Gary Troup was a passenger on Oceanic Flight 815), you don't need to be a fan of the show to read "Bad Twin" nor do you need to read it for clues to the show if you are a fan but reluctant to buy this book. There's a few loose references to "Lost": the book is dedicated to Cindy who later was captured by the "Others"; the Hanso Foundation is mentioned; as is John Locke, the numbers, and Oceanic Airlines, but none of the mysteries on the TV show are solved.
"The Bad Twin" is an okay mystery. Much of the book is a cliché starting with Paul's friendship with the literary quoting professor Manny Weissman (although their sharing the elderly dog Argos is a cute touch). The wring is awkward; the author repeatedly refers to "the detective" rather than calling him Paul or Artisan. Much of the book is from Paul's viewpoint until the very end when it inexplicably changes to the viewpoint of another character. The plot does keep the reader turning pages but ultimately relies too much on coincidences: Paul just happens to be on the phone with someone as they are being murdered and later just happens to be in the right place to stop someone else from being murdered. And Paul must be quite a looker; virtually every woman in the book wants to have sex with him.
Fans of "Lost" may enjoy reading this book for the few references to the show, but it's okay to skip reading it and watch reruns of the show instead.
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Bad Twin (Hyperion) by Gary Troup (Hardcover - May 2, 2006)