Merriam-Webster defines the term as "extravagant exaggeration". The word is usually shortened as "hype". There's a lot of it going on in the horror community these days. People would have you believe that every other indie book deserves the same rating as Ghost Story, Boy's Life, or The Haunting of Hill House.

I try not to indulge in too much of it. Sure, I get excited and I like to praise the things I love, but I do my best to keep things in perspective.

That said, I cannot overstate how much I loved Dan Chaon's Ill Will. I am not exaggerating or ladling on the extravagant exaggeration when I say that I honestly do not think I have read a better thriller in my life. And, trust me, I have read a hell of a lot of thrillers.

The only thriller writer I can think of who has blended great literature with popular suspense fiction as well as Dan Chaon is Peter Straub with his brilliant Koko/Blue Rose cycle of novels and stories. I think Ill Will is even better.

This is a review of Await Your Reply, not Ill Will, so allow me to move on to it.

I fancy myself to be a pretty astute reader. Yet Await Your Reply had me straining my brain, struggling to make sense of the dizzying plot. This is an incredibly smart novel. Smarter than just about anything I've read in recent years. I had to stop reading several times to try to figure out what was going on. I was wrong at every turn.

Three seemingly disparate storylines intertwine in Await Your Reply. A man seeks his brilliant but possibly criminally insane twin bother across a landscape of deception. A student runs away with her mysterious professor and embark on a journey of personal transformation. A young man locates his real father and begins to learn how to steal identities and siphon money from various sources.

A running theme in Await Your Reply is blurred identity. Reformation and rebirth. It also touches on cycles of abuse and dependency.

I may not have quite liked Await Your Reply as much as I did Ill Will, but it is still one of the very best books I have ever read. Dan Chaon has quickly, after reading two novels and a collection, become one of my favorite authors of all time.

If you crave books that are more challenging, more rewarding, and just plain better than most of the slog out there, I urge you to find one by Dan Chaon.

This is most certainly not hyperbole.

Written by Mark Sieber

1 Comment


  • wuyiyhfy  
    https://menviagraus.com - cheap brand name viagra comprar viagra liquida viagra india

Add Comment

Enclosing asterisks marks text as bold (*word*), underscore are made via _word_.
Standard emoticons like :-) and ;-) are converted to images.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.