by Will Lavender
How I would classify this novel: part suspense and part “then and now.”
1994: Nine gifted literature students are given the opportunity to take a highly unusual class—Unraveling a Literary Mystery. The class is taught by a convicted killer (and former professor of literature), Richard Aldiss. Via video feed, Aldiss teaches this night class from prison. The Mystery: The students are asked to discover the true identity of the author, Paul Fallows. With two novels, The Coil and The Golden Silence, the students begin to dig.
Present Day: Harvard professor Alexandra Shipley is summoned back to Jasper College, the college where that famous class took place. Alex, you see, is the one who discovered the identity of Paul Fallows back in 1994. And now, one of her former classmates has been murdered. Readers will follow Alex back in time to the fateful class in 1994, as well as to the present day murder investigation.
While this thriller concerns itself with students and professors of literature, there is nothing “literary” about it. Characters are flimsy, setting is generic, and the plot is convoluted beyond belief.