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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,128 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Simon Schuster (first published 2011)
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Strawberry Fields I feel the same way. The end was confusing and I'm not entirely sure who did what to who in Iowa then again at the University to Agibail and her frien…moreI feel the same way. The end was confusing and I'm not entirely sure who did what to who in Iowa then again at the University to Agibail and her friend. The last page SUCKED. (less)

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 ·  1,128 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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Well that was unpleasant on virtually every front.

Honestly I'm not quiet sure where to start with this. For at least the first three chapters I was convinced I was reading a book from the middle of a series or like the second in a trilogy because I was clearly supposed to know not only what was going on in this very complex and involved plot but who all the characters were and how their circuitous and strange antics connected them all to each other. Though I eventually worked out that this was
Julie Smith
Mar 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This review first appeared on my blog:

In 1994, nine Honors Literature students were chosen to attend the class "Unraveling a Literary Mystery" at Jasper College. The class was to be distance-taught by Dr. Richard Aldiss from his home at the Rock Mountain Correctional Facility, where he is serving time for the 1982 murders of two female Dumant University graduate students. There was no pre-published syllabus, and no one, outside of Aldiss himself, knows wh
Jul 03, 2011 rated it liked it
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 me
Alisha Marie
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
You ever read a book where you dislike the character so much you WANT them to get picked off by the serial killer? No...well that was my reaction to the main character in Dominance. This chick was a flaming idiot (when she wasn't being so annoyingly condescending). I could excuse her behavior when she was in college considering she was young and I can buy her naivete then. However, if 15 years pass and you're still acting like a clueless idiot, then I'm thinking that's more of an "it's always go ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
About 3o pages into this book, I began to think, "what is going on here?". Now that I have completed it, I am still asking that question.

Let me set the scenario: Richard Aldiss, a brilliant professor of literature at a small exclusive university, is arrested and given a life sentence for the axe murders of two graduate students. He hints that he knows who actually killed the students but only gives elusive and meaningless clues to the police who have no idea what he is talking about (nor does t
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ok The first part of this book is good. The second part of this book is good. The last part is like a wild river raft ride. You just get slammed and drenched and slammed and drenched. It is that incredibly good. All I can say is wow. Got this from the giveaways and boy am I glad.
May 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
How I loathe thee, let me count the ways...

I should have learned my lesson after reading Lavender's first book, Obedience, which also exhibited the same failings: an intriguing, thrilling, Hollywood-ready plot ruined by a complete lack of interesting characterization and believability. Well, he's done it again and I know without a doubt I won't be picking up the next one.

Dominance wants to be Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, except more literary. The fact that all of the main characte
Angie Boyter
Jun 27, 2011 rated it did not like it
In Dominance, brilliant literature professor Dr. Richard Aldiss arranges to teach a televised class from a prison cell where he is serving consecutive life sentences for the brutal murders of two graduate students. Aldiss challenges the nine top English majors at Jasper College to unravel a literary mystery, the identity of pseudonymous author Paul Fallows. During the course, Alex Shipley assures her academic future by uncovering not only Fallows' identity but also information that clears Aldiss ...more
Richard Gazala
Jul 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Who is Paul Fallows? He's an American literary giant, the author of a pair of novels scoured in college English departments around the country for deep, eternal truths about the human condition. For decades, brilliant English literature students at elite universities across the nation participate in a twisted game called the Procedure in attempting to discover the recondite Fallow's long-obscured true identity. The object of the game is to win, of course. The best players find winning the game c ...more
Jessica at Book Sake
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was unimpressed with Will Lavender’s novel, Dominance. It had an excellent premise and I really wanted to like it, but the writing was terrible. Granted, I’m very detail-oriented (especially when reading a mystery), but I think most readers would be bothered by Lavender’s inconsistencies. Usually the problems were small, such as the driver of a car changing from page to page, but they are constant and extremely annoying. The plot is also entirely unbelievable. The most interesting and intellig ...more
Miramira Endevall
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
There is a skit on Saturday Night Live, a spoof of Miley Cyrus's acting ability, where the faux Cyrus looks at the camera and says in the midst of an intense scene, "Wow this is really dramatic, I mean like this is really emotional and stuff!" In Will Lavender's impressive, yet overly back cover blurbed Dominance, the writer seems to stumble slightly into the same narrative mode. The well plotted novel tells the story of a college class taught from prison in 1994 by a former professor convicted ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The year is 1994.

Jasper College is about to embark on a new course. It is titled “Unraveling a Literary Mystery” The class will be talk via television by convicted murderer, Dr. Richard Aldiss. Dr. Aldiss’s inspiration was recluse author, Paul Fallows. Followers of Fallows’s work would play a game called “The Procedure”. You were special if you were invited to play. The rules of the game are simple…Try and uncover the true identity of Mr. Fallows through his work. If you do than you are in the
Will Lavender is inventing his own genre--"puzzle thrillers", which his website describes as "novels that are not quite mysteries and not quite thrillers but incorporate elements of both". Whatever else they may be, they are tantalizing reads to a mystery buff and book lover
such as myself.

"Dominance" jumps back and forth between 1994 and the present day, following nine very special literature students and their highly controversial professor. The students were handpicked and Richard Aldiss, the
Glenda Christianson
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dominance by Will Lavender ISBN:978-4516-1729-0
Advance review : coming in July 2011 from Simon & Schuster

My advance copy came by UPS in the middle of a snow storm. The poor UPS driver got stuck in our driveway and had to be towed! It worth all the trouble to get this book into my hands...

Dominance is a "who dun it" murder mystery. Complete with a cast of interesting characters called together in an old mansion. That is where the comparison to the formula murder mystery ends. This book is a quick
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Call it 2.5 stars. It's got what seems to be a can't-miss premise, but author Lavender kinda botches it anyway. It's 1994, and nine students opt to take a night class taught by a literature professor in prison for killing two female students. Then fast-forward to the present day. The profesor was vindicated and released, and one of the students from the night class has been murdered in the same way as the two undergrads from before. The surviving students gather for the funeral only to discover ...more
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Stephanie by: goodreads giveaway
What an extraordinary story! I enjoyed the way the story went back and forth between the present and past. I didn't want to put this book down. I was drawn in with the whole mystery and trying to figure out who the mystery Author and killer was. One of the best crime novels I've read in a long time. I recommend this to all.

This was a Goodreads Giveaway.
Tammy Dotts
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
In 1994, nine English majors met for a night class at Jasper College. What made the night class special was its professor: Richard Aldiss, a convicted murderer. The nine students are given the task of discovering the identity of reclusive, renowned author Paul Fallows.

Years later, after the class resulted in Aldiss’ acquittal and the revelation of Fallows’ identity, the students reunite at a funeral. One of their classmates was murdered in an eerie imitation of the crimes of which Aldiss was acc
Cate (The Professional Fangirl)
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, 2011-reads
This is a Reading Good Books review.

Expected publication: July 5th 2011 by Simon & Schuster.

* In compliance with FTC guidelines, it should be noted that I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

“What if you could read a book and treat it as a competition between you and its author?” – Alex Shipley, Chapter 3.

That is pretty much how I tackle anything from the mystery/thriller genre, whether it be a TV show, a movie, or in this case… a book. Will Lavender is an author of what he
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Real literature professors probably shouldn't read this book. Unlike Donna Tartt, A.S. Byatt, and Matthew Pearl, Will Lavender does not manage to construct intellectual characters, who are convincingly intellectual. Instead of telling the reader, repeatedly, that Richard Aldiss is a genius and that the students selected for his night class are exceptionally bright, Lavender needs to convince the reader that these individuals are more intelligent than the average,literate Joe or Josey.

The dialog
Julie G
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book has such a great cover, doesn't it? You've got the old books and parchment forming the bloody axe - how often do you find a thriller with a cover that references the Russians? From the cover alone you can surmise that it's going to be smart and creepy - and it completely delivers. It's a literary thriller, which you don't find too often, that alternates between past and present. In the past section, a group of college students are hand picked for a class taught by a literature professo ...more
May 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this novel through a First Reads giveaway. Thanks!

Dominance, by Will Lavender, is an intriguing mystery novel which has a 1994 story line and a present day story line, the former having much influence on the latter. In 1994 nine students at Jasper College are selected to take part in a special course taught by Richard Aldiss, a former professor who is in prison for murdering two college students in 1982.

Aldiss's class is not so much a regular literature course as it is a way for him
Kari J.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This makes the third thriller this summer that I’ve had problems putting down.

In 1994, nine university students participated in a unique class called “Unraveling a Literary Mystery,” taught by Dr. Richard Aldiss via his jail cell where he was serving a sentence for two gruesome murders. He introduced them to a game called the Procedure, a process of the study and understanding of the works of reclusive literary master, Paul Fallows.

During that class, one student, Alex Shipley, figured out the id
Feb 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
I'm not even finished, but my eyes are starting to hurt from all the rolling. This book requires a suspension of disbelief so strong that I can't sustain it for more than a couple sentences. We are to believe that nine undergraduate students consider themselves "scholars" on a mysterious modernist author (though his purported age—the professor feels the need to put to rest any speculation that he is the author—puts him firmly among the postmodernists). We are to believe that they are "the best o ...more
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Dominance contains an interesting and completely unexpected mystery that bounces back and forth through time seamlessly. Students from a night class fifteen years ago are being murdered. That class, taught by an imprisoned convicted murder is somehow tied to these new deaths. The police believe the class's star pupil, Alex, can figure out how the class relates to the murders beyond the victim with some help from the now free professor.

Dominance is a literary mystery of sorts, as it relates to no
Teresa Lukey
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I had a hell of a time putting this one down once I started reading it, especially once I got past the halfway point.

The concept of unraveling a literary mystery was initially an intimidating premise for me because I am not one for analyzing literature. I find mathematics much more predictable and easier to understand.

Anyone who likes putting a puzzle will love this mysterious story. This story alternates between a group of nine handpicked literature majors who are in a class being taug
Donna Brown
This book started very promisingly. I love a good thriller or mystery and this seemed to provide a good mix of puzzles, mysteries and dangers.

The book revolves around a former professor (once convicted of murder, now acquitted), a current professor (once a student of the former professor), an author and a game called 'The Procedure', which seems to involve emulating the author's works in real life. The aspects of the mystery surrounding the professor and author and murders that have taken place
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
great mystery/thriller . . . one of those books that you just can't tear yourself away from

hard cover version is 353 pages, but it's a short 353 pages, broken up into 58 chapters . . . very quick read

Lavender brilliantly plots out this rather convoluted narrative and brings all the threads together in a satisfying conclusion, yet the concluding chapter introduces one final unresolved issue that leaves the reader hanging, but it's an ending that, despite this last surprise element being brought f
Strawberry Fields
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
UGH! I was really liking this book in the beginning. It seemed like it was really up my alley! Murders based on books involving books??? I'm sold!

Then it kinda got slow. Then a little ridiculous. Then it got better again and things were looking up for this book! YAY! I got through the bad part to get back to the good!

Alas, I got to the end and I was SO disappointed, confused, and pissed off I wanted to throw it against the wall. What a butt sucky ending! I gave it a 2 because the basic premise o
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book as a first reads giveaway. You want to read this book! Dominance is an edge-of-your-seat mystery/thriller with two mysteries in one. Thankfully I was on vacation while reading this one because, once I started it, I did not want to put it down.
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Can anyone explain the ending to me? SPOILER ALERT 3 32 Feb 10, 2013 11:28AM  

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Will Lavender is the author of the novel OBEDIENCE, which was translated into fourteen languages and was a New York Times bestseller in 2008.

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