Ill Will

Ill Will

A Novel

eBook - 2017
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"Two 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," Dustin Tillman likes to say. It's one of the little mantras he shares 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 symbolize 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 Meanwhile, one of Dustin's patients gets him deeply engaged in a string of drowning deaths involving drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses talk of a serial killer as paranoid thinking, but as he gets wrapped up in their 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 DAN CHAON Among the Missing "Unforgettable. hums with life and wry humor. The stories sneak resolutely up on you, like new weather that hits before you know it."--The New York Times Book Review "One of those writers who possess an uncanny and seemingly otherwordly understanding of the human condition. Chaon [is] a remarkable chronicler of a
"In 1983, Dustin Tillman's family--his parents and his aunt and uncle--were murdered in a shocking massacre. His foster brother, Rusty, was convicted of the crime, in a trial that was steeped in the "Satanic Cult" paranoia of the 1980s. Thirty years later, Rusty's conviction is overturned, and suddenly Dustin, now a psychologist, must question whether his testimony that imprisoned his brother was accurate. When one of his patients, an ex-cop, gets him deeply involved in a series of unsolved murders, Dustin's happy suburban life starts to unravel, as his uncertainties about his past and present life begin to merge"-- Provided by publisher
very American kind of sadness, much in the tradition of Richard Yates, Raymond Carver, and Denis Johnson."--San Francisco Chronicle You Remind Me of Me "Remarkable. weaves the threads into a whole that is not only satisfying but devastating."--Entertainment Weekly (Editor's Choice) "Extraordinary. renews my faith in the unique capacity of literature to help us understand and ultimately respect ourselves and the strange, baffling, complex figures we all can be."--Houston Chronicle Await Your Reply "Stunning. Like the finest of his storytelling heroes, Mr. Chaon manages to bridge the gap between literary and pulp fiction with a clever, insinuating book equally satisfying to fans of either genre."--The New York Times "A riveting thriller, chock-full of plot twists. There's a bristling momentum that develops, as in any great tale of suspense. [Chaon] writes with an eloquence rarely seen in the world of page-turners."--Los Angeles Times Book Review Stay Awake "Eerily beautiful. [Chaon] is the modern day John Cheever."--Boston Sunday Globe "There are not many fiction writers who can do what Dan Chaon can do. [He is] a literary force."--The Philadelphia Inquirer"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2017]
ISBN: 9781101885345
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: 3m Cloud Library


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Nov 19, 2019

Dan Chaon's Ill Will blew me away. I found the story reminiscent of Palahniuk's Fight Club, but with much deeper psychological portraits. The book is not for the faint of heart, though--Dan piles tragedy on top of tragedy. He turns his characters inside out and then some. He never provides easy answers to the question of how darkness perpetuates itself. In Ill Will he shows the manipulator's power to pilot the unwary and guileless towards their own personal spectacular train wreck.

Aug 06, 2018

Odd disagreeable characters. Meandering implausible plot, annoying gimmicks, disappointing ending. WAPO Review said it was the scariest of the year. Must have been referring to the length given what it had to offer.

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.

ArapahoeAnnaL 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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