Sunday, March 12, 2017

(22)Ill Will by Dan Chaon


Psychologist Dustin Tillman has had an interesting life. His parents were brutally murdered along with his aunt and uncle when he was just a young boy.  His adopted brother, Rusty, was eventually convicted of the crime.  Dustin has tried to forget the past, but he is still dealing with his wife's death when he gets word that Rusty was released from prison with the help of the Innocence Project.    At the same time, Dustin is distracted by a patient of his, Aquil.  Aquil has come to Dustin with a theory that local college boys who are drowning are the victims of a serial killer.   One who preys on the drunk college boys after a night out.  As Aquil presents more and more evidence, Dustin starts to realize that there very well could be something sinister at work.  With all of the external distractions,  Dustin doesn't even realize that his own son is spiraling out of control with drugs.  Will Dustin be able to get his life and family back on track before history repeats itself and his family implodes?

Ill Will is a bit of a weird book. The author writes in such an interesting flow -- it is almost manic.  He writes a scene and then leaves the scene open-ended and the next scene is in another time and place.  It makes for an interesting reader experience.   The author does jump around in the timeline, from when Dustin was a child and Rusty first came to live with their family.  To when his wife was ill with cancer and now when he is working with Aquil.  You also get to experience some of Aaron's, Dustin's son, viewpoint.  Also, at the very end, you get to experience a bit from Rusty's view.  Ultimately, as a reader, you don't want to see the Tillman family implode - you want Dustin to pull it together - but it is hard. The author graphically details the events from Dustin's childhood and some readers might find it difficult to read.   All of the chaos leads to a conclusion that will leave you with mixed feelings. --CLICK HERE FOR SPOILERS!

Bottom line - Ill Will is one of those books that not everybody will enjoy.  Two days later and I am not entirely sure that I enjoyed it.

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I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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