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 overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.
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.
What a shit pile. Honestly, I struggled through this book to the point that I thought about putting it down several times and not finishing it. There were no characters that I connected with, the plots were convoluted and unnecessarily melodramatic and there were chapters where the writing was written in stupid columns that made it hard to read and just pissed me off. I’m sure it was done to be cutesy and different but it just annoyed me and I was already annoyed with the book at that time.
The only thing that got this book two stars was one of the twists at the end of the book. Of course, said twist went unresolved so the author could give an ~ ambiguous ~ ending on EVERY SINGLE PLOT LINE HE SHOVED INTO THIS STUPIDLY LONG BOOK.
I think I probably would have been more satisfied putting the book down and marking it DNF than to muddle through and ending up with the ending I receive. Just boring and dull and dumb.