by Mary Kennedy
published by Berkley
This unique dream club series is a nightmare come true
This is the first in a new series by Mary Kennedy, a Dream Club Mystery and does a good job of introducing us to the main characters and the Dream Club. Haven't heard of Dream Clubs? What about Dream Hopping? Yes, these activities do have a following. Suppose you dreamed you were in a train, traveling somewhere unknown, and you see people you recognize, but don't know why they are there. Are you really having the same dream as someone else? Or did you just find yourself in someone else's dream? This is dream hopping, or one variety of it.
Taylor, who has lived her life in an orderly and deliberate way as a freelance business consultant, has come to visit her sister Ali back home in Savannah and hopefully help her with her bottom line. Ali owns and operates a vintage candy store with a serious lack of customers. The sisters are as opposite as can be. This night is an example. It's a steamy hot night and Ali has been baking delicious treats for her weekly group, the Dream Club. As the evening goes along,Taylor, who never dreams, is having a difficult time keeping her disbelief in check. Some members try to interpret, others feel dreams are just symbolic, and then we have the dream-hopping Sybil. I was even amazed to find one of my own recurring dreams mentioned...must be common!
Great start to a new series! Just before the evening breakup, Persia blurts out that she witnessed a murder in her dream and how real everything seemed to be. Some things are very clear yet some are just brief images. As she finishes, it is clear that her dream of murder sounds very real. Samantha Styles, a detective in the group, quickly goes into alert mode. Is this a murder that has happened or did she miss something? She begins asking questions, which draws more information out of the dream: The victim is a man, loud music is blaring, the man eats and collapses in mid-meal. Has this happened or is it a portent? Sam is not sure believes in this 'dream stuff.'
The next morning as Taylor and Ali are involved in trying to make the store more viable by adding soup, salad, baked goods, and other items to entice the palate when customers come in to Oldies but Goodies for their nostalgic choice of sweets. When Gina stops by to ask about a key to the dance studio across the street; why is he not open for his students? What they find is a murder excruciatingly like Persia's dream discussed the night before. The dream has become reality as Chico, the Latin dance instructor, is found dead. How did what appeared to be an innocent yet confusing and frightening dream become a reality?
Samantha is on the case and once answers are made to her questions, Ali proposes to have an immediate emergency meeting of the Dream Club to see if anyone has come up with any inspiration from their dreams during the night, anything that may lead to what happened. This was a surprising book, with twists and turns leading to an unexpected perpetrator, an eclectic or perhaps eccentric group of women, the people and locale tinged with sweetness of the South and an interesting premise.