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by Mark Pryor
Seventh Street Books, January 2015
256 pages
ISBN: 1633883655

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It's a very strange thing to root for a psychopathic killer, but somehow Mark Pryor manages to manipulate the reader into doing so in DOMINIC, his follow-up to HOLLOW MAN. Dominic, a lawyer, is extremely intelligent, using that intelligence for his own gain and entertainment with no sense of or care for the havoc his behavior wreaks on others. He explains his motivation and his experience of the world in first-person chapters. Alternating with his voice are chapters, also in first person, written from the perspectives of his girlfriend and his coworker. This narrative approach allows the reader to enter the heads of the various characters, getting to know them as it would be impossible to do from the outside.

Dominic's girlfriend was involved in the plot of the previous book, and she is the sister of Bobby, a teenager whom she recognizes as a psychopath because of her experience with Dominic. She enlists Dominic to help Bobby, whose adolescent risk-taking is combining with his lack of empathy to make him a frequent presence in the juvenile court system. When a female detective who is getting too close to the truth of Dominic's role in a previous crime is murdered and Bobby is implicated and disappears, Dominic goes on the hunt to try to find him. Thus begins a twisting plot that ends with a revelation not many will see coming.

Although HOLLOW MAN was billed as a stand-alone, it appears that Pryor has decided to make it into a series. While it is entirely different from his main Hugo Marston series which now includes seven books, there is common ground in the masterful characterization. While it's not a comfortable place to be, Pryor places the reader squarely in Dominic's head, sharing the sense of superiority that comes from high intelligence combined with utter lack of empathy. Dominic, as a lawyer, makes the point that most psychopaths probably don't learn impulse control soon enough to avoid becoming a part of the criminal justice system, he himself has done so and we want to see him continuing to escape that justice so that Pryor can bring him back for another complicated plot.

Sharon Mensing, retired educational leader, lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors in rural Wyoming.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, January 2018

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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