Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Bad Twin

Bad Twin by Gary Troup

Apparently this book is a tie-in to the television show Lost, the author being one of the characters from the show. I never watched Lost and had no idea this book was related to the show until I started writing this blog post. A friend gave me an audio version of the book because I like audio books and I just went ahead and started listening to it without looking up anything about it.

Bad Twin has this strange introduction (which is the actual tie-in):
It is with a mix of pride and sorrow that Hyperion presents Bad Twin, the last novel by a wonderful author who was taken from us in the very prime of his writing life. As many readers are already aware, Gary Troup has been missing since September 2004, when the jetliner that was carrying him from Sydney to Los Angeles crashed somewhere over the South Pacific. While nothing is more human than to hope for miracles, reason tells us that the author and his fellow-travelers cannot have survived this disaster...
(It goes on to talk about how sad it was that Troup, a confirmed bachelor, had finally found love, etc.). Beyond this inexplicable (to a reader unfamiliar with the TV show) introduction, Bad Twin is really quite good.

The mystery's protagonist is Paul Artisan, a New York-based private detective. He's hired by a CEO and scion of a wealthy family to find his missing twin brother. As he follows the trail left by the enigmatic twin, Artisan realizes that the case is much more complex than he could have imagined.

Artisan is an interesting and sympathetic character. The secondary characters are in many cases well-crafted. While the story is somewhat formulaic at times and is resolved a bit too quickly at the end, there's a lot of good meat to it: references to King Leer and John Locke, philosophizing about purgatory and the dual nature of humans, and a multi-layered mystery that the reader does not figure out before the protagonist.

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