"Deadly Dreams," Kylie Brant

Pros: Nice slow buildup of both the murder plot and the romance
Cons: Odd sudden appearance of psychic abilities in the series; somewhat predictable bad guy; too many haunted/”damaged” women in this series
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Risa Chandler was one of Adam Raiker’s brilliant forensic criminologists before the incident that shattered her faith in herself. Since then, she’s been hiding out at her mother’s home in Philadelphia. Now that her physical wounds have healed, Adam has oh-so-helpfully suggested to the police that they enlist her aid in finding a serial killer. She doesn’t want to help, but her dreams have returned: prescient dreams that show her the deaths whether she wants to be involved or not.

Detective Nate McGuire doesn’t understand why he’s been told to take Chandler along with him on this case, but she quickly impresses him with her usefulness, so he reins in his skepticism. Ever so slowly the two of them find themselves drawn to each other, but Risa knows Nate would never believe her if she told him about her dreams. And she might never get the chance, since the killer has her in his sights.


 

Kylie Brant’s Deadly Dreams, part of her Mindhunters series, is oddly better if taken by itself rather than as part of its series.

Here’s the problem: Brant’s heroines always have some deep-seated trauma in their past that relates to their current case. I might be able to buy this if the books were wholly separate, but these women all work together, are all superbly brilliant criminologists, etc. It gets ridiculous after a handful of books. For once why can’t one of these women be emotionally stable, undamaged, and happy?

I’ll give Deadly Dreams one big step beyond its predecessors: it doesn’t rely heavily on personality clashes to keep its hero and heroine from coming together right away. Instead it just takes them some time to realize their feelings and to feel ready to act on them. Again, the constant personality clashes can be okay in one or two books, but until now they’d shown up in every book in the series.

This volume does share the good things from its prequels: the characters are interesting and the plot has depth. I enjoyed the mystery and I enjoyed watching the events unfold. I found the romance to be better than the others because it felt more natural. The identity of the bad guy seemed a little obvious, but there were details mixed in that kept things interesting.

My one other semi-problem with this book is that Brant’s series has suddenly, after a handful of books, introduced psychic abilities. I’m only calling this a semi-problem because it sort of fits the tone of the books, so it didn’t take me too long to buy into it as part of the world. It was a bit jarring at first, however.

I know this is odd, but this is one of those rare books that’s actually better in some ways if you haven’t read the entire series. Sure you’ll miss out on a little background, but at least you won’t feel as though you’re reading the exact same setup over and over again.

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