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Will Lavender Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Obedience (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dominance (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Author Will Lavender made the switch to genre fiction (from writing poetry and short stories) after finding that he enjoyed thrillers a great deal. It seemed like a genre that was ripe for all kinds of diverse pieces of work.

You can see some of the influences that his favorite poets (people like John Ashberry and David Berman) have on his prose. There are some allusions to the literary figures and acknowledgment of the literary world that Will was a part of, at one time.

He is a native of Whitley City, Kentucky, and lives in Louisville, Kentucky with Sharon (his wife), Jonathan and Jenna (his son and daughter). He got an MFA from Bard College.

His work sold in thirteen countries, and “Obedience” was an international best seller as well as a New York Times bestseller.

Lavender calls his work “puzzle thrillers”, which are not quite thrillers or mysteries, but use elements of both genres (with a bit of literary ideas tossed in) to create something new. Inspirations for writing include: Peter Straub, Jeffery Deaver (the intellectual gamesmanship), Stephen King (moody atmosphere), and Michael Connelly (pacing) that finds its way into his own work. His biggest inspiration is from mysteries in general, is that final devastating reveal.

The Bunnicula books written by James Howe made him want to be writer. He thought it was cool that people were able to make a living telling stories, and folks that produced them for people to enjoy.

He did not feel much doubt about “Obedience” because he figured thriller fans would love it and it was a different book. He was able to find an editor online, who was able to clean his book up, before sending it off to some publishers. Quickly, it saw some interest before some offers came in.

He worked as a college professor for six years and during this time, he thought about things like the professor’s role in a classroom and obedience. From here, he started studying Stanley Milgram’s (a great social scientist) studies and works, which led him to write “Obedience”, which was released in the year 2008. Around the time he was studying Milgram, a weird criminal case was making the news. The two factors combined helped him write this debut novel.

“Obedience” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2008. It is the day one of the Logic and Reasoning 204 class at a college, when students show up for class they do not get books or even a syllabus. They have a startling assignment, given to them by Professor Williams; it is a hypothetical situation where they have to find a missing girl named Polly. After all the clues and details about this case, if they are unable to find the girl before the conclusion of the six week term, she is going to be killed.

The students are just as intrigued by this puzzle’s premise, as they are wary of Professor Williams (whom they find strange and just a little creepy). The students begin to dig deeper into the puzzle, and start wondering if this is in fact a logic exercise so they can learn rational thinking. Or if there really is a missing girl named Polly.

The mystery consumes three students’ lives, each one finds worrying connections between both themselves and Polly. Characters that were supposed to just be fictional start turning up in real life. The boundary between this term long assignment and reality start becoming blurred. They begin to wonder if they have to save their own lives.

Here is a novel where no one is who they seem, a twist at the end that upends any and all expectations. Above all, this is a well crafted novel that is recommended for fans of a good mystery or thriller. Fans of the novel enjoyed this terrific read, it was like a psychological study of group behavior and cat and mouse mystery story. The strong emotional punch the book has at the end was a nice touch.

“Dominance” is the second stand alone novel and was released in the year 2011. The year is 1994. Big time literature professor named Richard Aldiss is going to teach a very special night class that is known as Solving a Literary Mystery from his cell. It makes Jasper College buzz. Twelve years before, Aldiss was convicted of killing a pair of female grad students; they were killed with an ax and they were decorated with Paul Fallows’ (notorious for being a reclusive author) novels. Even the obsessive and very elite Fallows fans have never seen the man, and he is like a ghost.

Aldiss asks his night class students to figure out the riddle of Fallows finally. He shows them the Procedure, which is a game that is supposed to allow people to get into the books themselves. It is a book that scholars think lead to the author’s real identity. Members of the night class will be able to play along soon.

In the present day. Alex Shipley is now working as a professor at Harvard, and she made a name for herself as part of Aldiss’ class. Not only was she able to expose Paul Fellows’s real identity, but was able to find the right evidence to exonerate Aldiss for the crimes in 1982. One of her classmates from the night class is killed after being chopped up with an ax and Fallows’ work is left at the scene. Will she be able to use what she knows about Fallows and the Procedure so that she can stop the killer before all of her classmates is killed, one at a time?

Here is something that will make you think, with a brilliant concept which is then brilliantly executed. Fans of the novel feel this is the book equivalent of a labyrinth, but it still has the pace and pleasure that taut thrillers have. Lavender has warped the normal psychological thriller to fit within a scholarly investigation’s confines. A compelling debut that is put together with a lot of confidence. These are books that make you think, but still make you sit on the edge of your seat while you have a hard time putting them down for very long.

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