For those who have not heard of it, Bad Twin is a spin-off book from the LOST world. In the show, it is featured briefly as a manuscript Hurley finds in the wreckage and starts reading; later, Sawyer is seen reading it (before Jack throws it in the fire to get his attention, just before he finishes it). For those who follow the Lost Experience webmaze, Hugh McIntyre released a press release lambasting the book as libeling The Hanso Foundation. The campaign to market the book through Hyperion has been intense, even going so far as publicize video “interviews of Gary Troup”, the supposedly presumed-dead author who flew Flight 815, on Amazon.com (in reality, Troup is a fictional person, only ‘real’ in the LOST world).
I recently got a chance to listen to Bad Twin in its entirety as an audio book. I’ll say straight off the bat, that if you are looking for all the answers to LOST and/or The Lost Experience webmaze, you will not find them in this book. It is simply not worth paying money for as a book of “clues”.
Despite the heavy marketing, this is pretty mediocre fiction, and not heavily tied into the plot of LOST. There are some cute areas of crossover and some (likely small) hints thrown throughout the book, but the story is a different one altogether (I will include a plot synopsis in comment #1 to this article, and all the detailed links to the LOST world in comment #2, and the Lost Ninja’s special highlighted text for the webmazers in comment #3, so avoid these if you consider these to be spoilerish).
The story is of small-time detective Paul Artisan, who is hired by tycoon Cliff Widmore to find his identical twin Zander. Along the way, he finds a mystery of growing complexity in which he himself may be in danger — in a world where every person and every thing could potentially have a dual and opposing “mirror.”
Generally, I found the audio book to be entertaining enough for passing a long roadtrip. The characters, however, were basically stereotyped and formuleic. The mystery itself had a turn or two, but was not anything I found particularly original. I left feeling I had read this book before, except it was better written when Agatha Christie did it (though with less mention of twins). The book was stuffed to the brim with literary references, but most seemed rather contrived – metaphors placed to bring it more pseudointellectual recogntion on par with “literature” of a different class. The plot flowed nicely enough; not what I’d call “gripping”, but with a pace that kept the pages turning.
All in all, I probably would have been a little kinder on the book had they not pushed so hard with its marketing. It’s difficult not to see it as overrated, like a bloated Hollywood blockbuster-wannabe that spends 90% of its budgeting on ads. That being said, as a mystery, this book is not entirely without merits or substance, but it is tough to see through the hype.
If you have any questions about anything within the book — details about plot, characters, how it connects to LOST — feel free to ask away; I’ll answer anything I can.