"Bad Twin" – Book Review

Bad Twin (Hyperion)

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.

-Cecilia

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Lost. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to "Bad Twin" – Book Review

  1. Cecilia says:

    The detailed plot synopsis of Bad Twin. To read the HIDDEN MESSAGE, highlight the section below the warning with your mouse, since it is in white spoiler font.

    DO NOT HIGHLIGHT AND READ BELOW IF YOU INTEND TO BUY THE BOOK AND DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING.

    Special thanks to fozzie from LOST-TV for contributing this!

    Bad Twin is basically a pretty standard detective who-done-it story line. If you have read mysteries before it is pretty standard. The plot revolves around Paul Artisan, a small-time private detective from New York who is not sure if he has the amount of commitment to go big-time. Much of the mystery unfolds with the help of his elderly former-professor friend Manny, who lends an ear and acts as his more intellectual conscience in some cases.

    He is hired by Cliff Widmore to find Cliff’s twin brother Zander. Although Cliff and Zander are twins, they are complete opposites. Cliff is successful and is the CEO of Widmore Group, but appears cold on the surface. Zander is a passionate loose cannon who seems to excel in spending money on schemes that go nowhere and getting into trouble. They are Yin and Yang on the surface.

    Paul begins his search for Zander in Peconiquot Island with a friend of Zander’s nicknamed “Moth.” Moth is later killed for telling Paul the Zander called from Key West. Paul then travels to Key West where he meets a yoga instructor named Sky. Sky and Zander had been romantically involved at one point. Sky tells him Zander often traveled to Cuba and to talk to Captain Jocko who hooks him up with a boat Captain named “Crunch.” Crunch took Zander to Cuba a few days earlier Paul learns. Crunch also takes Paul to Cuba and back. Crunch is later killed when his boat explodes.

    Paul gets back to New York and learns that Zander has called from California, so off he goes. Paul goes to Luna Valley where he visits a “naturalist” colony named the Helios Foundation. He there learns from the Head Advisor Elio that Zander had visited the foundation often and had been there a few days before. He also learns that Zander was on his way to Australia.

    Paul flies to Australia. He sits next to a woman named “Pru” on the plane and they hit it off. They get to Australia and you can guess what happens next [insert fireworks here]. Paul then learns that Pru was hired by Cliff to tail him. Pru is also a detective that works for a large company named Intercontinental. Prior to her latest assignment, Pru had been tailing Arthur Widmore’s wife Vivian who was having an affair (Arthur is the eccentric/stubborn but kind-hearted father to Cliff and Zander; Vivian is their clever and oversexed/ambitious step-mother). It seems Paul was hired because it was thought he couldn’t get the job done; this causes all of Paul’s insecurities to rise to the surface (but learning this incenses him enough for him to also rise to the challenge).

    Paul and Pru learn that Zander is in Australia looking at property because he wants to start a black pearl farm (no not the boat, real pearls) He is on Lizard island. They pretend to be a honeymooning couple and approach Zander about going out on his boat. He is using the alias Cameron Purdue. They all go out on his boat with him and almost get killed by assassins. Paul and Pru tell Zander they know who he is and talk him into coming back to New York.

    So, they fly Oceanic Air back (no, no Craphole island). When they get back, they learn Cliff has been shot and killed during a “robbery.” They go to the funeral and a car comes out of no where and starts shooting up the place. So they shoot the guy in the car. Turns out he is Vivian Widmore’s first husband, who is supposed to be dead. He was a big mob guy who then got “wacked” or so we thought. He returned, starting having a affair with Vivian, and was trying to kill of the Widmore clan to get there money. He is responsible for the deaths of Moth, Crunch, and Cliff and the attempt at Zander’s life as well.

    We find out in the end that Zander was planning to give all of his money away. This would be bad for Cliff because that would mean the Widmore’s would no longer be primary shareholders of the company. He was sending medication to Cuba and starting a local run black pearl farm in Australia with all profit to benefit the local population. In the end, Paul and Pru are together, Zander is home, and Vivian is in jail.

    THE END

  2. Cecilia says:

    CONNECTIONS AND TIES OF BAD TWIN TO LOST:

    The book is dedicated to Cindy Chandler, who is the flight attendant on Oceanic (and she is given a bit part in the book).

    The author, Gary Troup himself, is said to be presumed dead after Flight 815 went down. Gary Troup is an anagram of PURGATORY, though this doesn’t seem to be the answer to LOST (the LOST writers have made this point in the past in podcasts); it is still an inside joke/theme they like to talk about. http://www.garytroupbooks.com has links to “interviews” of Troup before his ‘demise’, all of which are considered part of the Lost Experience. He supposedly also wrote a book on Valenzetti, a (fictional) mathematician mentioned on the blast door map.

    Figuring prominantly in the book is the Widmore family, led by father Arthur, and twin adult sons Cliff and Zander (who are the polar opposites). Since they are ‘fictional’ in the LOST world, it’s difficult to discern their ties to Charles and Penelope Widmore of the ‘real’ LOST world, but it can be presumed that Widmore Corp. is based on the same.

    Cliff is allies with Mittelwerk. It is presumed he is based on the ‘real’ Mittelwerk of the webmaze. The book mentions him only briefly, to say that he replaced Alvar Hanso on the Widmore board of directors. Arthur thought Hanso seemed honorable, but finds Mittelwerk less trustworthy, though he doesn’t give specifics as to why.

    THF is an abnormally sterile office/lab on the 42nd floor of the Widmore building. No details given as to what exactly the Hanso/Widmore ties are, except the board of directors cross-pollination and the sharing of building space. Assumed that they are intertwined.

    Some literary works share common mention in both book and LOST: Gilgamesh, Lord of the Flies, John Locke (the philosopher), the Odyssey (Argos the dog is from that story… Penelope from our TV show is the wife of Odysseus).

    Some numerology shared (Zander was born on 8/14, Cliff on 8/16, 23 minutes apart; the Widmore gate code is #81516).

    Zander was almost employed by someone named Paik. There are soft mentions of a Widmore tie with “korean projects”.

    Boat’s name is “Escape Hatch”.

    The Cuban guy says: “You’re him?”

    There is a benevolent druggie character named “Moth” (also title of S1E07, about another misunderstood druggie–Charlie).

    The city of Luna is rumored to have electromagnetic healing properties.

    Artisan eats at Mr. Cluck’s and flies Oceanic to Australia.

    “Not all who wander are lost” …forgot who the quote is by in the book (is it Manny?), but it was part of the official LOST advertizing campaign, and originally a quote by J.R.R. Tolkien.

    Zander: “There are certain things I believe in–like Good and Evil… the hard part is, you don’t only choose just once… most of us have to keep choosing, day in, day out. Year in, year out. Good or bad, which way am I going to go…”
    Paul: “That’s the idea of purgatory, right?”
    Zander: “What if there is no purgatory… What if there is no heaven? No hell either? No afterlife at all… This is our chance to get it right. First chance, last chance, only chance. But that’s exciting, beautiful, right?… Our work in this life is to choose good over evil. To be fair. To be kind. And there is a payoff, though it doen’t have to do with harps and wings. The payoff is peace of mind. That’s what redemption really is.”
    (I do NOT believe that purgatory is the real answer to LOST…But I think in a way, whoever is writing Bad Twin is playing a cruel joke on us and throwing a wink in our direction that purgatory is metaphorical… and happens in this world, our world of flesh and blood; and that he is saying this is what LOST is about, also)

    The last lines by the minister at the funeral about destiny “We might imagine that our destiny is in our hands, but it was not…” also reminds me of LOST.

  3. Cecilia says:

    LOST NINJA (OFFICIAL BLOGGER CONNECTED TO ARG WRITERS)

    On the blank first page, he wrote:
    “Shocking content inside!! I had to get this book into safe hands. It contains a massive clue about the Hanso Foundation. I’ve only got a few copies, so I’m relying on you to help me get the truth out to the public. To further unlock the LOST conspiracy visit my blog at http://www.yahoo7.com.au/lost . Namaste -The Lost Ninja”

    HIGHLIGHTED SECTIONS OF COPY PASSED OUT IN AUSTRALIAN PROMOTION:

    p 16 – “Widmore. Cliff Widmore.”
    p 31 – “The car ascended swiftly and then when the doors opened the detective stepped out. Almost at once he realized something was wrong. In the hallway and in the cubicles behind a glass partition, there were some dozens of busy people milling, but they weren’t wearing business suits, they were wearing lab coats. Some of the lab coats were white, some were mint green. Men and women both had neat short hair. Artisan approached a receptionist who sat behind a chrome desk so bare and clean that it might have been a dissecting table.
    ‘Excuse me,’ he said. ‘Is this the Widmore Corp?’ She gave him a smile that was entirely pleasant yet somewhat robotic. ‘No. This is the Hanso Foundation. Widmore’s on forty-seven.’ ‘Ah,’ said Artisan. ‘Sorry to bother you.’ He turned back toward the elevator, then his curiosity got the better of him. Gesturing toward the people in the white and mint-green lab coats, he said to the receptionist, ‘What is it you do here?’ She flashed that pert, mechanical smile again and pointed to the plaque mounted on the wall. The plaque read: [see thehansofoundation.org for a similar mission statment as found in book] He got back in the elevator.”
    p 149 – “‘Damn right, they worked!’ And that new fellow from Hanso — Mudworm or whatever his name is –‘ ‘Mittelwerk,’ his son corrected him. ‘Whatever. I don’t trust him. I think he’s sneaky. I much preferred having Alvar on the board. Alvar is a gentleman.’ ‘Really?’ said Cliff. ‘What makes hima gentleman? The fact that you made a ton of money together? If that’s the definition, I think Mittelwerk’s a gentleman. He’s got ideas, ambition –‘ ‘Everything but morals,’ the old man interrupted. ‘Everything except a conscience.’ ‘And who’s Alvar?’ said Cliff. ‘Jimminy Cricket? … But look, we have a visitor.'”
    p 171 – “Zander’s in Australia.”
    p 179 – “Her namplate said Cindy.”

  4. Andreas says:

    Very nice review and a good overview of the connections to Lost in the book!

    Cecilia, if you need to reach me, use messenger instead of mail since I am having some trouble with my mail-server at the moment.

  5. frenchy_florims says:

    Damn it, it’s just I don’t understand this whole marketing stuff (TV HANSO commercials ???) it seems to have in your country about Lost … including the internet game.

    I mean could someone explain me what the hell is going on about those fictionnal Hanso foundations, and pseudo-books. In my mind, this is no nothing but a means to make money, and there’s nothing important here for the show.

    I just think this is bad to use the great lost mythology just for money, they should better answer the questions they rise !

    My opinion is : they have no interesting answers about all the mysteries, and they are scared that the show’s gonna screw off next year because of that, so they think okay let’s make profits that our audience believe we have secrets to tell, even though we have no more ideas than they do.

  6. Andreas says:

    Frency, personaly I’m hoping that The Hanso Foundation will play a large role in future seasons of Lost and that the webmaze will teach us some valuable information about them.

    On the other hand, it is starting to get a bit crazy with all the sponsor brand tie-ins like Sprite and Jeep. I would prefer if they wouldn’t sell out like that but then again, Lost, like every other television series is driven by money. I just hope that all the things surrounding the show are (or will be) part of the story and that they’re not just screwing with us.

  7. Pingback: Bad Twin writer revealed - The Lost Blog

  8. boat insurance says:

    This was a great site. I needed to find something for my Homework and This site helped me out so much! Thanx alot!!!!

  9. internet casino games says:

    It´s a very good website you have here,

  10. PJSander says:

    I realize it isn’t going to get any play, nearly three years after the original post, but…

    I have read, at long last, The Bad Twin written by “Gary Troup” who was the guy sucked through the engine in the pilot. Other than a couple of “throwaway” lines, I haven’t really found anything particularly significant.

    EXCEPT: The novel was published in 2006, but was supposedly written PRIOR to the September 2004 crash of O815 (in which the author perished). However, in the novel, a friend of Paul, the main character, tells Paul that the Scottish Feudal system was not formally abolished until November 2004. While this is TRUE (http://www.hmitchell.co.uk/abolition-of-feudal-tenure.htm), November 2004 was two months AFTER the O815 crash. Granted the act was in the works since 2000, but the character SPECIFICALLY mentions a date IN THE FUTURE (to him) when in the book, he speaks as if it has ALREADY happened.

    Is this an error? A sign? Ideas?

    If it makes a difference, I am reading the First Edition.

    : ) P

  11. I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles. You obviously know what you are talking about! Your site is so easy to navigate too, I’ve bookmarked it in my favourites.

Comments are closed.