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"With superb confidence, Lavender constructs a brilliant fictional web of lies, inventively warping the psychological thriller to fit the confines of a scholarly investigation."
"[A] compelling debut."
"Authentic puzzle mysteries are an endangered species in these hectic times, so it's a genuine, if slightly perverse, kick to follow every byzantine clue in this bizarre game.... If you solve this one without peeking at the last chapter, it's an automatic A."
New York Times Book Review
"Obedience is a fiendishly clever thriller, debut or no, and Lavender exhibits deft control at the wheel."
"Obedience is quite a twisty little number .... the taunting nature of the challenge is irresistible...."
New York Daily News
"[T]his is one of those high-concept thrillers with a final twist that upends all expectations, filled with characters who are not what they seem."
"Obedience is a full course load of sinister fun."
"Will Lavender stuns with this compelling thriller.... The surreal but believable landscape fairly bursts from its confines, goading the reader into finishing just one more page."
"Lavender's first novel suggests he has a bright future. The novel is briskly plotted with deft narrative. Obedience builds to a swirling conclusion. It becomes a place where morality is blurred and intentions drift astray."
"In his tautly strung debut novel, Obedience, literature professor Will Lavender tears a page of out Milgram's notebooks and sets into motion a chain of events that escalates far beyond its intended intellectual exercise. . . . Mystery fans will be satisfied to hang on around the story's hairpin turns as the list of suspects swells and narrows with the unearthing of each clue, but Lavender . . . is aiming at a broader target and posing deeper questions."
"First-time novelist Lavender has a knack for creepy characters and red herrings."
"First-time novelist Lavender has sprinkled his text with enough red herrings to feed the Biblical 5,000 but uses them to build page-turning suspense. . . . Lavender's invocation of the notorious Milgram experiment conducted at Yale on obedience to authority adds an additionaland salutarylayer of psychological meaning to his elaborate plot."
"Lavender has crafted an infuriating, brilliant puzzle at the heart of a novel that compels continuous, non-stop reading from beginning to end to discover how everything winds up...Don't miss this intriguing and addicting psychological thriller from a talented new writer worthy of our undivided attention."
Crown Publishing Group, Hardcover, (February 2008), ISBN-13: 978-0307396105
Three Rivers Press, Paperback, (January 2009), ISBN-13: 9780307396389
Kindle Edition, (February 2008), ASIN: B0013TTK9Y
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 the students 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 each finds 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 blurredand the students wonder if it is their own lives they are being asked to save.