Ill Will

Ill Will

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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NATIONAL BESTSELLERTwo sensational unsolved crimes—one in the past, another in the present—are linked by one man's memory and self-deception in this chilling novel of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon. "We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves." This is one of the little mantras Dustin Tillman likes to share with his patients, and it's meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie? A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin's parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to epitomize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.Meanwhile, one of Dustin's patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses his patient's suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but as the two embark on an amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there's more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries—and putting his own family in harm's way. From one of today's most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon's nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.Praise for Ill Will"In his haunting, strikingly original new novel, [Dan] Chaon takes formidable risks, dismantling his timeline like a film editor."—The New York Times Book Review "The scariest novel of the year . . . ingenious . . . Chaon's novel walks along a garrote stretched taut between Edgar Allan Poe and Alfred Hitchcock."—The Washington Post "Powerful . . . Chaon is one of America's best and most dependable writers, and in the end, Ill Will is a ruthlessly 'realistic' piece of fiction about the unrealistic beliefs people entertain about their world."—Los Angeles Times "This intriguing novel about a tightly wired criminal psychologist with a murky past has the tension of a thriller plus the emotional release of justice finally served."—O: The Oprah Magazine "Powerfully unsettling . . . There's a lot going on under the surface of Ill Will—more than one reading will reveal. Going back and reading this oddly compelling book again will only provide more pleasure."—Chicago Tribune "Terrifically eerie . . . Too few writers prize atmosphere as much as narrative tautness. With Ill Will, Chaon succeeds at delivering both."—The Dallas Morning News"Outstanding . . . Chaon's writing is cool and precise, but his story is thrillingly unstable. It also boasts, at the end, a traditional horror-novel payoff I didn't see coming—Stephen King couldn't have done it better."—The Wall Street JournalPlease note that sections of Ill Will incorporate unconventional formatting, spacing, and punctuation choices. These are intentional design elements in the ebook file.
Publisher: 2017
ISBN: 9781101885345
Characteristics: 1 online resource


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Nov 27, 2017

This is about as dark a book as I have ever read. Those who don't enjoy at least an occasional visit to the darker reaches of the human psyche may be uncomfortable with this. It is at times close to be a transgressive story.

That said, this is one of the best books I have read this year. Choan intimately knows psychological darkness and despair, and that comes through in this novel. I audibly gasped at many passages, and I don't think I will forget this book anytime soon, if ever.

However, he does pull a few punches at the very end, and so I can only give 4.5 starts instead of five.

AL_ANNAL Nov 09, 2017

A wild, unsteady ride as a father and son, separately, try to stay in touch with reality and a coherent sense of self, after the death of their wife/mother. There is a horrifying unsolved murder in the father's past and a troubling new friend has entered his present life.

Aug 29, 2017

I agree with jachayden's comment. VERY underwhelming. I've struggled to get 80% through it, but now that I've read that the end doesn't wrap up everything, I'm not going to bother to finish. It just drags so much. No likeable characters. I also didn't get whatever is deep about this, because I too was looking for a fast paced mystery.

Jul 21, 2017

I was underwhelmed by this book. The premise was really cool and could have made for a really great suspenseful novel. But it was very oddly and illogically written. The 'unique' structuring of some pages, ie. words and sentences written in random disorganized boxes, sentences with larges amounts of space between words and paragraphs, and sentences that stop altogether in the middle or themselves, were just distracting rather than engaging or intriguing. The whole story was very nonsensical and unappealing. The ending was abrupt and relied heavily on characters that were barely present throughout the story. Not a single story line was completed or explained. I get the impression that there was quite a bit of symbolism that I did not pick up on, but when the book I am reading sells itself as a fast-paced thriller, I'm not in the mindset to pick up and interpret surrealist notions.

Jul 05, 2017

This book is like a Hitchcock movie - lots of twists and turns. The story is told by a few characters.

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