Dominance, by Will Lavender is a quintessential mystery through and through. The novel takes place in two different time periods, 1994 and the present day, and Lavender is able to carefully keep both narratives exciting in this literary mystery novel. The premise of the novel focuses on Alex Shipley, who was involved in an infamous night class in 1994 taught by the convicted murder Professor Richard Aldiss. In 1994 Aldiss, who is serving time for murdering two students with an axe, has been given permission to teach the brightest English students about the mysterious author Paul Fellows. Through his class the students are also introduced to something called “The Procedure” which Aldiss hopes to use to bring the true killer to light and expose the identity of Paul Fellows. During the present day, Alex is called back to her former University to help solve the murder of one of her close friends, and former night class classmate. As Alex becomes more involved in the present mystery, she begins to reflect back on her time in the night class and question her actions that lead to the revelation of Paul Fellows identity and the release of Professor Aldiss. Each chapter switches time periods, but they always remain focuses on Alex. While it is clear from the first page the outcome of the events of 1994, the reader is still clamoring to know how it was solved and if Alex made a terrible mistake.
Lavender pulls the reader into his narrative as he weaves together a literary mystery that pits the readers against the characters to see who will figure out the identity of the killer before it is too late. Lavender places select sentences throughout his tale in which he encourages the readers to outsmart him and his characters. This gives a drive to the reader to keep pressing through and to devour the book. I was a bit surprised by the endings, but Lavender leaves a lot of clues the point directly to the killer. There were also some elements in the book that seamed misplaced and took away from the ongoing action in the novel. However, Lavender knows his audience and is able to keep the reader enthralled until that very last page with the final twist that will keep the reader talking for days.