Gerry Andersen’s novel Dream Girl was a huge best seller and a critical success, which made life financially comfortable for Gerry. It allowed for many material pleasures. The success also allowed him to marry three times and divorce with little financial pain. So, he must be really enjoying life today.
No! Currently Gerry is confined to a hospital bed in his penthouse apartment in Baltimore. A terrible fall has left him unable to leave the bed and in great pain.
But, as a celebrated novelist, he must be surrounded by friends, well-wishers and literary cohorts, right? No. Gerry has a young assistant, Aileen, and a night nurse, Kim.
Oh, and there is a problem. Gerry is beginning to question what is happening around him. He has seen a female figure outside his window. But he is on the 25th floor. How is that possible? Then the phone calls in the middle of the night begin. A female voice claims to be Aubrey, the main character of Dream Girl. She says she wants to tell the world about him. But Gerry knows there was never a real Aubrey. There is also no record of these calls on his phone log.
It must be the pain medication. Each night the nurse gives him his pills, one for pain and one to aid in sleeping. He must be in a medical fog. But the worry creeps in. Could it be dementia? After all his mother had just a few weeks ago died of dementia. Could it be hereditary? No one believes him. Gerry is friendless and helpless.
But one morning Gerry wakes up to a dead body next to him. From this point on Gerry is in a state of misery. The question becomes can he survive. Will he survive?
I have enjoyed many of Laura Lippman’s prior novels and have found her P.I. Tess Monoghan a solid character. In Dream Girls, Lippman departs from the standard “solve a murder” genre to embrace the horror format. As such it was horror light not horror scary. I found myself thinking that it was a prophecy tale. You know – when you think only of yourself, you only have yourself to rely on. That can be a lonesome dangerous place.
All in all, I applaud Laura Lippman for leaving the comfort of crime novels to try a horror story and achieving an engrossing novel.