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Dominance: A Novel Hardcover – July 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451617291
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451617290
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The self-reflective process of literary criticism known as 'deconstructing the text' becomes a diabolical game of murder in Dominance, 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. . . . Dominance is quick and complicated, in a wishfully Da Vinci Code way. 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 academia.”San Antonio Express-News

“With Dominance, Will Lavender has written a fascinating novel. If you like puzzles you will enjoy this book. If you are a fan of twists you will like this book. If you like both puzzles AND twists then you will probably flip over this book. It will have you guessing until the final page.”Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Dominance is a twisting, tilting, hall-of-mirrors funhouse of a book . . . [the plot] unfolds like origami with razor-sharp edges . . . [Lavender] plays fair with the evidence, but he treats his readers as intelligent beings, allowing each of us to puzzle out the answer without spoon-feeding the solution or killing the mystery with excessive foreshadowing as many page-turner authors often do. . . . Dominance reveals its secret stealthily, maintaining the mystery and suspense of the present while divulging the secrets of the past. That is a tricky tightrope, and it is marvelously executed.”Louisville Courier-Journal

“If anyone out there is looking for a good summer book, maybe a beach read, instead of reading something frivolous and light, why not try something that will actually make you think? Will Lavender writes puzzle books: half mystery, half thriller, with a literary twist thrown in for good measure. His newest book, Dominance, will make you think. A lot.”Fort Worth Fiction

“If you enjoy puzzling twists and turns, and suspense that doesn’t let up even on the last page, you should delve into Dominance.”Bowling Green Daily News

“[A] taut second standalone. . . . Full-bodied characters, an effective gothic atmosphere, and a deliciously creepy, unpredictable finale.”Publishers Weekly

“Lavender is Houdini-level dexterous at the sleight-of-verb necessary to keep the reader guessing, doubting, perplexed and attentive throughout the book. Characters lie, memories lie, senses lie, and underpinning it all is the game-that’s-not-a-game, this enigmatic Procedure, that pulls like an uncontrollable undertow from beyond the grave. Who is Paul Fallows? Maybe the students in Dominance would have been better off never knowing the answer, but Lavender’s readers will be abundantly rewarded.”Bookpage

The Silence of the Lambs meets And Then There Were None . . . a terrific premise.”—Booklist

"Lavender's exciting second literary thriller (after Obedience) pulls readers right into the hunt. Aldiss reminds us of a sexy Hannibal Lecter, and the mystery of the reclusive author Paul Fallows and his connection to the class is riveting. Well-drawn characters, excellent plot, good use of flashbacks, and many red herrings will keep the pages turning to the very end."Library Journal

"Lavender takes on another puzzle-within-a-thriller . . . Twisty and turny, with all kinds of side roads . . . [He] manages to maintain the novel’s taut, sinister atmosphere from the first page to the last. . . . Readers who loved Lavender’s first book will doubtless delight in this one."Kirkus Reviews

“With nods to Christie, Poe and Lovecraft, Lavender crafts a deadly game of obsession, full of riddles, subterfuge, grim revelation and red herrings galore.”Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)


"A brilliant concept, brilliantly executed. Dominance soars to the top of the thriller genre by infusing its rapid-fire plot with the mysteries of literature and authorship and offering cutting-edge (so to speak) psychological insights into minds both noble and horrifically demented. You'll never look at professors, authors or, well, books the same again. Oh, and that last page . . . "—Jeffery Deaver, #1 international bestselling author of Edge and The Burning Wire

“Will Lavender constructs plots with the expertise of a Parisian baker, masterfully layering mystery on top of mystery until, just when you think the whole thing might topple over, he sets it all together into a dangerously delectable mille-feuille of storytelling. Do save room for seconds.”—Graham Moore, New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian

Dominance is a twisting, intriguing and compelling psychological thriller of the first order. Will Lavender has created a clever maze of a plot, fraught with dark corridors and deadly ends. With this novel in your hands, you'll be voraciously turning the pages late into the night, maybe thinking you're a step ahead, until you realize you've always been a step behind—right up until the stunning final scene.”—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Fragile

“Will Lavender has laid out a rich feast for fans of psychological thrillers—at the heart of it all is a weird, addictive game that’s far more dangerous than anyone realizes. This intricately layered story of murders past and present generates plenty of chilling twists and turns, right up to the final sentence.”—John Verdon, bestselling author of Think of a Number and Shut Your Eyes Tight

About the Author

WILL LAVENDER is the author of two previous novels, Obedience (which was a New York Times and international bestseller and was translated into fourteen languages) and Dominance. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Customer Reviews

I don't think he wanted any readers chuckling at this suspenseful moment, but I just couldn't help it.
Gary Taylor
DOMINANCE keeps a reader on the edge of the seat with twists and turns to keep one guessing until the very shocking end.
D. Merrimon Crawford
For sheer page turning fun, make you think excitement, and suspense, Lavender has created quite a good novel.
S. King Fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By SD VINE VOICE on July 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When I first read the summary of Dominance by Will Lavender, I immediately wanted it. A literary mystery, phantom authors, novels as riddles - what could be more exciting?

Unfortunately, Dominance fell short of its unique premise. I'm not sure if my expectations were too high but I think Dominance had all the elements to make it a great thriller yet for a multitude of reasons detailed below, it didn't quite get there.

The progression of the narrative was well done - Lavender kept the suspense meter amped up as the book alternated between 1994 and the present. Little by little we learn how Alex proved Richard Aldiss's innocence in 1994, as we simultaneously learn how she uncovers the murderer's identity in the present. This technique hooked me into the dual storylines and kept me turning the pages.

I also liked the way Lavender effectively depicted the competitiveness between the star students in 1994, as this was a crucial aspect of the plot.

The relationship between Alex Shipley, a Harvard professor and former student, and Richard Aldiss, the enigmatic professor whose innocence she proved in 1994, is derivative of that between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. I liked how Richard Aldiss's character is deliberately ambiguous - did he or didn't he do it? Is he or isn't he evil? However, his explanation of why he kept secret for 12 years a key piece of information which could have proven his innocence is just ridiculous. Being tight-lipped and coy when you're facing life in prison isn't the mark of an enigma, it's unrealistic.

And that's really what my dissatisfaction boils down to - the lack of logic. I expect red herrings in mysteries, but the ones used here did not make sense to me.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By PattyLouise VINE VOICE on July 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved Will Lavender's first book...Obedience. It was surprisingly suspenseful and masterfully written.
I love love love Will Lavender's second book...Dominance. It is as powerfully written as his first book. I think that you should read both in order to appreciate both of them fully.

The premise is this...students who were in this oddly unusual class years ago are back together again. Some students in the first class were murdered...ax murdered... and it appears to be beginning again with more murders of students...who are no longer students ten years later but have come together to try to find out who is behind the new murders. Whew...this is a complicated book to describe!!!
The characters involved in the first crime...are all old and withering and still rather secretive. I read this along with a friend and we both thought about the nurse for one of the characters as the perpetrator...and then changed our minds and then changed our minds again...but you will have follow your own path and make your own assumptions about a villain as you read this ever winding clever story.
I really think that this is all that I can share...there are too many ways to reveal the events happening within this story and you should not know anything that will reveal the masterful plot in this book.

There are some really odd and unusual characters...the oddest being the professor who was accused of the crimes years ago...everything revolves around him and finding out how to do something called The Procedure. I can't even tell you what that is because it would spoil this book...
totally...just keep in mind that The Procedure is essential to the plot of this book.
You really just have to trust me. If I were you...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By j.sicherman on August 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Imagine a parallel universe in which Hannibal Lecter rubs elbows with the gang from Scooby-Doo and you've got a glimpse into the world created by Will Lavender in this monumentally disappointing second effort. This is a world not subject to the laws of reality as we know them. Police detectives interview suspects at the scene of the crime after permitting them to congregate and chat freely with one another. Victims are murdered willy-nilly in the unlikeliest of ways, in some cases with no subsequent police investigation at all. Characters come and go like actors in a play, wandering onstage and exiting without cause or purpose. They speak like one another, say little that makes any sense, and inhabit a landscape which is vague, imprecise, and flat. Perhaps this is postmodernism, a kind of elaborate ruse on Lavender's part. Indeed, one of the characters in the novel insists at one point that literature is at its core a game. If that's so, score Lavender one, reader zero.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JCEagle32 on July 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am not a literature professor or a critic like a lot of the other reviewers, but as a casual reader, I thought this book was a THRILL. I have a tendency of getting about 100 pages into a book and losing interest, but with the speed and intrigue of this book I couldn't put it down. The book is really two intertwining stories with each story both clarifying and mystifying the other such that you are left guessing until the final page. The alternating of flashback and reality is an incredibly effective method of story telling that left me feeling like I was getting two books for the price of one. When reading these kinds of books there are a couple of things I look for to decide if I will share it with friends, and this mystery hit both. First, my prediction of who the killer was changed multiple times over the course of the book...and I was wrong with each guess. Second, when I finished the book I made a quick check to be sure my doors were locked. If you are looking for a novel for you English class I don't know what to tell you, but if you are looking for an entertaining read that might just give you the spooks, try Dominance.
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