Review

Killer Dreams

by Iris Johansen



Iris Johansen has grown an enviable fan base the old-fashioned way,
one that never goes out of style. It can be summed up in two words:
hard work. She has written enough novels over the course of her
career to make more than one library shelf groan in protest. If you
check the bookcase of a mystery reader and find one Johansen novel,
you more than likely will find several, if not all, of the multiple
genre books that she has written over the course of a
quarter-century. Such fans should make room immediately for KILLER
DREAMS, her latest work.

Johansen's legion will take comfort in the familiarity of the basic
plot, as well as the characters within. There is Sophie Dunston,
the intelligent, independent woman who is the damsel in distress;
Matt Royd, the avenging and defending knight in tarnished, battered
but extremely effective armor; and Robert Sandorne, who poses a
specific danger to Dunston and generally to the entire world.
Dunston helped to develop for Sandorne's company a drug that was
supposed to control and eliminate night terrors. The drug's
unforeseen side effects, however, led to disastrous consequences
not only for a number of individuals, including Royd, but also for
those close to Dunston. Sandorne wants to eliminate Dunston because
she can prove that his company was complicit in marketing the drug
even as its unfortunate side effects were apparent; Dunston, in
turn, wants to kill Sandorne due to the personal price she has paid
for the release of the drug.

KILLER DREAMS is in large part a cat-and-mouse game with Dunston
and Sandorne switching roles, depending who is on which end of a
deadly device. Dunston also plays the same game with Roy, who is so
irritating to her that she can't resist him. The fact that he saves
her bacon (among other things) doesn't hurt his cause either. The
book roars along to an apocalyptic, if familiar, conclusion, but it
is one that Johansen's readers not only will welcome but also will
expect.

While the bedrock upon which KILLER DREAMS is built contains few
surprises, Johansen remains at the top of her game here. For those
who are interested in such things, Johansen also plays an internal
name-drop game, naming characters after such real-world people as a
British rock star whose cult following remains strong after several
decades, and naming Royd "Royd" for reasons that will be made
apparent. There are other names to watch for, but the most
important name is the one on the book spine.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Killer Dreams
by Iris Johansen

  • Publication Date: August 28, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam
  • ISBN-10: 055358653X
  • ISBN-13: 9780553586534