“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s mea ...more
The thing that will haunt me (other than how long would he be able to keep Aaron alive) is that after Dustin returns home after killing Rusty, I am convinced that Aqil lures him to his house and keeps Dustin there for a period of time - remember he kills Rusty in January and they don't find the body until April. So does Aqil either show or tell Dustin about Aaron being in the tank!?!? Can you imagine Dustin realizing that his input and conversations with Aqil on how a serial killer might restrain a victim and keep him unharmed led to that happening to his own son!!! Ugh, I couldn't fall asleep that night after reading that ending!
Side note, I happened to really like the different columns and blocks of text. I thought it was a good technique to convey just how disjointed and disorienting people's recollections and perceptions can be.(less) (hide spoiler)]
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First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Dan Chaon, and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
In my first attempt to decipher the writing (ramblings?) of Dan Chaon, I was left with a bitter taste I am unable to mask. This novel, set in both the early 1980s and 2012-14 tells of two sets of unsolved murders, which sounds interesting eno ...more
7th Favorite Read of 2017 (tie)
This is one of the best noir psychological thrillers that I have ever read !!
Mr. Chaon wrote a novel that was nuanced, psychologically informed, dark and genius but written in a stylized clipped vernacular that makes it accessible to most. He layered grief, trauma, ritualized violence, drug addiction, family dysfunction, neurosis, psychosis, degrees of evil, dissociation, boundary violations and fragmentation in the da ...more
I have one word for this book: FRUSTRATING!!!!
I finished this 2 days ago, and the frustration is still strong, probably due to the fact that I still have so many unanswered questions.
The problem wasn't with the storyline, as that held my interest. 2 different murder plots-one taking place in present time, and one that took place back in the 1980's. I was really intrigued with how the past and the present were going to collide.
I think the author did a great job of creating memorable ch ...more
We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves.
Ill Will is infused with a dark aura, an atmosphere of hazy confusion, a sense of an impending tragedy. Dread, a mysterious presence that is woven throughout this novel, like an insidious fog creeping under the doorway, into the home and the lives of those inside. So subtle, at first, that they never notice how much has changed, that they are no longer seeing things as they are, or maybe even as they were.
Okay, I've been known to whinge about how tough it is to find a good thriller. I complain that the plot eventually sags despite a running start, the characters are wooden, the ending disappoints in a myriad of ways. Well I'm delighted to say that THIS book nails on the head just what I look for in a literary thriller: top notch writing, fully drawn characters, atmosphere, suspense, intelligent themes, a compelling story... this has it all.
It's a tr ...more
Rusty has just been exonerated (through DNA) from prison after having served 30 years for allegedly murdering his adopted parents. He had already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, mostly based on the accusations from his adopted brother and cousin.
If you remember, back in the 80s the media sensationalized and overly dramatized accusations of satanism, rituals and cul ...more
Ill Will by Dan Chaon is about a string of murders of young college-aged men and another murder that occurred in 1983. The 1983 murder is when the main character, Dustin Tillman’s parents and aunt/uncle die. Dustin’s adopted brother, Rusty, was accused of the murders and spent about 30 years in prison. Rusty was eventually released from prison through the help of the Innocence Project. Dustin and his cousin, Ka...more
“Ill Will” revolves around Dustin Tillman, a 41-year-old psy ...more
And I only read this because it was listed for summer reading by the Tournament of Books people, and I am a lemming. And I had to request it twice from ...more
Ill Will starts out in what seems a very familiar way if you read a lot of thrillers, but the deeper you dive into psychologist Dustin Tillman’s mind, the more you realize you’re not in recognizable territory after all. Neat and tidy answers, characters who are easily classifiable as strictly good or bad--you won’t find any of that here.
When Dustin was a kid, his parents and aunt and uncle were murdered. His ...more
How reliable are our memories from childhood? Are some just echoes of hallucinations? Were some placed by suggestion or shaded by self-delusion? Were the unsolved murders of the protagonist's parents really part of a satanic ritual or was all "evidence" of such attributable to the 1980s hysteria for suspecting murderers-for-Mephistopheles?
Dan Chaon is a maestro at modulating keys of madness and fear in both the protagonist and the ...more
Dustin Tillman's adopted brother Rusty is about to be released from prison—finally exonerated 30 years later for the murder of Dustin's parents, aunt and uncle. Dustin testified against Rusty in the trial when he was a young boy, believing him to have been connected to a sinister ...more
I'm going to overuse the word dark in this review, because it fits the book so well: Dark characters, dark plot, dark world. I was utterly fascinated by the characters--unlikeable and self-destructive as they were. And as someone who lived through the ridiculous "satanic ritual abuse" scare in the '80s, I found the subject matter also i ...more
Two separate threads of horrendous murders, Dustin's family is viciously murdered and his adopted brother Rusty is jailed and does 25 years but then he is acquitted. In present time, Dustin is a psychologist and gets involved in his patients theory about a serial murderer.
This is the first time I have read this author. The writing just felt too messy and disjointed, sentences would abruptly end and the thought wouldn't be picked up ...more
Opinion: WHEW! What a whirlwind that story was! After becoming introduced to The Girl on the Train, I have been in a frenzy trying to find similar books. I came across Ill Will on Netgalley and HAD to give it a go. Let me tell you readers, I have so many STRONG and INSANE emotions rushing through me right now…I barely know where to start! This book is like a ...more
The book opens as Dustin, a Psychologist in Cleveland, receives the news from his cousin, Kate that his adoptive brother, Rusty had recently been exonerated through DNA evidence after serving 30 years for a crime he did not commit. The Crime - killing he and Dustin's parents, aunt and uncle. The trial that sent him to prison symbolized the 1980's obsession with satanic worship. Rusty was sentenced to 30 years primarily ...more
I will not say that I did not enjoy it. It contained moments of startling clarity. But the necessarily 'watered-down', or 'dumbed-down' if you will, narration reminded me at times of pulp murder mystery fi ...more
Dustin is married with two teen-aged sons and, up-to-now, has been satisfied with his life. But in April, 2012, he realizes he is feeling a vague anxiety: "his brain seemed murky with circling unfocu ...more
|ILL WILL||6||72||Apr 01, 2018 06:26PM|
|Play Book Tag: Ill Will - Dan Chaon 4/5||6||33||Sep 05, 2017 10:08AM|
|Tournament of Books: Ill Will book discussion||33||183||Aug 31, 2017 08:18AM|
|Tournament of Books: 2nd Topic: Ill Will vs. Marlena||12||110||Jul 31, 2017 05:55PM|