tek's rating: ½

Bad Twin, by Gary Troup (pub. 2006)
Amazon; Goodreads; Lostpedia; Wikipedia

Caution: Spoilers for "Lost" TV show, if not for this book.

This is a book that came out in 2006, as a part of the "Lost Experience," a major multimedia event that went on during the break between seasons 2 and 3 of the TV series Lost. I never got terribly involved in following all that, it just seemed like too much work, and ultimately, I don't think the hints provided by the various websites and so forth genuinely enhanced anyone's understanding of what was actually going on in the show, to any significant degree. If anything, it mostly just added to the confusion. But at least I read this book. The author, Gary Troup, doesn't really exist (the real author was Laurence Shames), but was supposedly a passenger on Oceanic flight 815, which crashed in 2004 (in the show's pilot episode). Troup died minutes after the crash. In retrospect, it seems anachronous to me for the book to have been published and (fictitiously) marketed in quite the way it was, considering that later, in season 4, we learn that 6 survivors of the crash were rescued and became publicly known figures (even if they didn't tell the truth about what had happened to them). I mean, when the book came out, the setting of the show was still 2004, but the eventual rescue was set in 2005, while in the real world, as I mentioned, the publishing date was in 2006. But the marketing spoke as if the world still had no knowledge of what had happened to Oceanic 815. (Of course, none of this is important, I just like pointing out inconsistencies... But I'm also just assuming the Experience was set in 2006, when it was going on, rather than 2004.)

In any event, the book is of course a work of fiction, within the world of the TV show, which is itself fictional. There are fictional characters, companies, and such within the book which are meant to be suggestive of characters on the show, as if Troup was actually intending to disguise truth as fiction in his book, to let his readers get a glimpse of things that powerful people would rather kept hidden. However... nothing in the book really relates to "Lost" in any truly important way (though there are clearly some parallels), and I've read that the producers of the show weren't exactly pleased with how the book turned out. So... the main reason for anyone to bother reading the book is because they're a fan of the show, but if that's your only reason... there's little point in it. Still, I found the story entertaining enough, if you just take it as a straight-up mystery novel; I felt it adhered to the conventions of the genre, but then, I haven't really read many such books, so I'm no expert. Anyway, I read it in 2006, I think (maybe 2007), and for some reason, I chose not to write a review at the time. Now it's 2010, the TV series has just ended, and I felt like I should write a review after all. The problem is, I don't remember it that well, and while I liked it, I didn't like it enough that I have any interest in rereading it. So... I'll read a synopsis online (and flip through the book a bit), and just mention a few pertinent details, from that. If you want more info... hey, that's what the links at the top of my review are for.

The main character is a private investigator named Paul Artisan, who is hired by Clifford Widmore to find his missing twin, Alexander. The two brothers are the sons of Arthur Widmore, head of the Widmore Corporation. (The reader is apparently meant to look for similarities to Charles Widmore, a character from the show.) Alexander (or Zander) is supposedly the "bad twin," but Cliff wishes to reform him. He also needs him present to collect an inheritance. And in spite of Zander often being totally irresponsible and disappearing for stretches of time, he fears that someone wants to kill Zander. So this latest disappearance may be something other than his usual type.

Um, I suppose I should mention that Artisan has a friend named Manny Weissman, with whom he shares ownership of a dog named Argos, and with whom he occasionally discusses his case. Manny had been a university professor of Paul's, and often quotes literature and philosophy. And... Paul's investigation takes him to lots of different locales around the world, and he meets lots of colorful people. And sometimes people end up dead. And eventually he meets a woman named Pru, who helps him in his investigation, though he soon finds she's not what she first seemed. But then, nobody is necessarily exactly what they seem.

Anyway, in the course of the investigation, Paul and Pru uncover a tangled web of family issues, and whatnot. I don't really want to get into it all, even if I could remember it. But they find Zander, they learn the truth about things, yada yada yada. I dunno what else to tell you without spoiling anything.... But like I said, it's not a bad read.


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(Image taken from Amazon.com.)