Ill Will, Dan Chaon

ill-willspolier alertTitle: Ill Will

Author: Dan Chaon

Pages: 480

Genre: mystery, thriller

Is this part of a series?  No.

Published: March 7th, 2017.


Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing for allowing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


When Dustin was younger, he and his cousins Kate and Wave lost their parents in a violent death.  With the testimony from Kate and Dustin, his adopted brother Russell is put away for murder.  But what if he didn’t do it?

That is what The Innocence Project is out to prove- that Rusty is indeed innocent, and victim to a witch hunt of sorts where terms like “Satanic Ritual killings” is used to pin the murders on a boy that was not innocent, but not a killer.

The problem?  Dustin firmly believes everything he testified to.  Is he a trustworthy narrator though?  Are any of them?  Told in different POV’s and spanning back and forth from before the murder to present, this book begs the question on what to do when one can no longer differentiate between reality and delusion.

My thoughts:

The premise of this book had me so excited.  I was dying to read it!  I will admit that for me, this is a pass.  I almost DNF so many times.  The author uses tricks in pagination and story hopping to create a disassociated feeling.  Now, when done well I have absolutely no issue with moving back and forth in a story line so long as I feel it helps to move the story along.  The first 5% of this book was painful, though.  We jumped story line a dozen times, often for no seeming reason.  The storyline was jumpier than a room full of  meth-heads.

I will say that with the POV of Aaron, Dustin’s son, it was easier to keep track and he made more sense.  I understand that doing Dustin’s POV is a spastic way was supposed to help show his state of mind… but it was always pretty obvious that he wasn’t all there so how necessary was this?  All the constant jumps did was keep me from immersing myself into the story.

I read this in eBook format on my phone, and because there were times where the page was chopped into up to six pieces I was often having to move the font size up and down to accommodate. I did look it over on my much larger tablet and found I had the same issue there.  So that was upsetting.  Overall I feel like there were a lot of cheap tricks used to create an air of disturbance that were unnecessary.  In the end this was just not for me.  Two stars.  Two Stars

On the adult content scale, there is drug use, violence, a large amount of substance abuse…. you name it.  I cannot recommend this for anyone under 18.  I give it a nine.  mature audience.

This is just my opinion- it is actually getting a lot of happy chatter on Goodreads and Litsy.  I do recommend buying a paper copy, the eBook format just made things worse.

The book is out now.  Have you read it?


Link to book:




3 thoughts on “Ill Will, Dan Chaon

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