Monday, February 18, 2008


Obedience, by Will Lavender
$16.32 at
ISBN: 978-0-30739-610-5
Here's a mystery thriller novel that takes off like a rocket and grows more engrossing with each page. It's so loaded with suspense, surprises, and plot twists that you'll hardly know which way is up or whom to believe until the immensely satisfying conclusion.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The story takes place in a college class called Logic and Reasoning 204, at a private (and apparently expensive) school in Rhode Island called Winchester University.
The mysterious Professor Williams has never been seen in photographs, and most of the students on campus have never even seen him. Some of the professors consider him shifty and untrustworthy. He leads a class that is most unusual:
He tells them that a young woman named Polly has been abducted, and if his students don't solve the mystery of her disappearance by the end of the semester, she will be murdered. Soon they begin receiving a series of clues in e-mails. Many of them seem designed to mislead, and some include photos of the students' loved ones. Strange things start happening in their personal lives. The details of the class assignment seem to be bleeding out into real life.
Most of the action in the story revolves around three students: two boys and a girl. One of the boys, Dennis, has an affair with an older woman who seems oddly connected to the events described in the murder story. The girl, Mary, receives e-mailed photos which disintegrate when she tries to send them to a friend. Soon, they all start to wonder if the mystery of Polly's disappearance is just an exercise for the class, or if it has a darker origin in reality.
This is a novel that would appeal to fans of Agatha Christie, or the television series Lost. Each answered question reveals another layer of curiosity which has yet to be explained. Although most mysteries have unsatisfying and arbitrary endings, Obedience presents an enigma as satisfying to finally solve as the New York Times crossword puzzle.
Top quality fiction by a terrific new writer!

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