Obedience by Will Lavender
A Novel

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Synopsis

“With superb confidence, Lavender constructs a brilliant fictional web of lies, inventively warping the psychological thriller to fit the confines of a scholarly investigation.” —Kirkus Reviews


When the students in Winchester University’s Logic and Reasoning 204 arrive for their first day of class, they are greeted not with a syllabus or texts, but with a startling assignment from Professor Williams: Find a hypothetical missing girl named Polly. If after being given a series of clues and details the class has not found her before the end of the term in six weeks, she will be murdered.

At first the students are as intrigued by the premise of their puzzle as they are wary of the strange and slightly creepy Professor Williams. But as they delve deeper into the mystery, they begin to wonder: Is the Polly story simply a logic exercise, designed to teach them rational thinking skills, or could it be something more sinister and dangerous?

The mystery soon takes over the lives of three students as they find disturbing connections between Polly and themselves. Characters that were supposedly fictitious begin to emerge in reality. Soon, the boundary between the classroom assignment and the real world becomes blurred—and the students wonder if it is their own lives they are being asked to save.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Will Lavender

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Will Lavender is the author of the novel Obedience, which was translated into fourteen languages and was a New York Times bestseller. He is at work on his third novel, The Descartes Circle.
 
Published February 19, 2008 by Crown. 388 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Obedience

Kirkus Reviews

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At a party at Williams’s house, Mary is handed a note that warns, “None of this is real.” With superb confidence, Lavender constructs a brilliant fictional web of lies, inventively warping the psychological thriller to fit the confines of a scholarly investigation.

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Publishers Weekly

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A complex conspiracy involving the writing of a book drives Lavender’s compelling debut, a thriller that will strike some as a mix of John Fowles’s The Magus and Stephen King’s The Shining .

Dec 24 2007 | Read Full Review of Obedience: A Novel

Book Reporter

Flaherty’s infatuation with Orman is perfectly presented without falling into the trap of stereotype --- every college campus has at least one fetching professor’s wife, and a male student who would love to take advantage of her --- and Butler’s unrequited and unresolved yearning for Flaherty pro...

Jan 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Obedience: A Novel

AV Club

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Mary Butler, a fastidious overachiever, takes it upon herself to do extra research into the case, and discovers that it mirrors the real-life abduction of another girl, who has ties to Professor Williams.

Mar 26 2008 | Read Full Review of Obedience: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

C+ Originally posted Feb 22, 2008 Published in issue #980 Feb 29, 2008 Order article reprints

Feb 22 2008 | Read Full Review of Obedience: A Novel

The Bookbag

Summary: An eccentric professor challenges his class to solve an imaginary mystery which threatens to become a real murder in this enjoyable thriller that carries just a little too much of a whiff of R L Stine's Point Horror novels.

Oct 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Obedience: A Novel

Reviewing the Evidence

But as three of the students – Mary, Dennis and Brian – start asking questions, they discover links with the unsolved disappearance of Deanna Ward 20 years previously.

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Reader Rating for Obedience
46%

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