There’s the brilliance, the devastating humor, the complicated sexual history with women, and the fraught relationship with his mother ... But, a more explicit literary presence here is that of Stephen King, as Dream Girl swiftly morphs into Nightmare ... With each stand-alone novel she writes, Lippman triumphantly turns in a different direction ... Socially conscious (the #MeToo movement makes a decisive entrance into the plot) and packed with humor, ghosts and narrative turns of the screw, Lippman’s Dream Girl is indeed a dream of a novel for suspense lovers and fans of literary satire alike.
... ideal cutting-edge, socially-conscious entertainment for late summer ... Packed with social criticism, satire, ghosts and narrative turns of the screw, Lippman's Dream Girl is indeed a dream of a novel. And all the literary pilferings Lippman herself has committed here are acknowledged, front and center.
In between the alarming and escalating events in the present day, Lippman takes us on an immersive tour of Gerry’s lonely and confusing childhood...and Gerry’s failures and successes as a writer, a husband, and a lover. Part of what rises palpably to the narrative surface—in scenes from the past as well as the present—is a life-long adherence to a certain level of self-deception on Gerry’s part ... when events in the Baltimore penthouse take a more ominous turn, the novel pivots elegantly into an even darker—and darkly comic—crime novel. Lippman suffuses the book’s atmosphere with literary, cinematic and television touchstones ... Positively humming with the vibrancy of a slew of crime-fiction authors during a high-energy drinking session, Dream Girl shimmers with suspense, surprises, wry humor, and an ever-present stream of appreciations for the pleasures, frustrations, and oddities inherent in the life of a writer.
Laura Lippman is one of the best novelists working today, period. Seeing her name on the cover of a book is a guarantee of a highly satisfying reading experience ... one of the best three book runs this side of Colson Whitehead ... Building suspense is Lippman’s stock-in-trade that travels book-to-book, but rather than relying on surface-level twists, the suspense comes from a deeper and deeper burrowing in to her characters and the difficult situations she’s placed them in ... a sharp satire of publishing itself, a commentary on how and why we slot writers into genres, and what this does to our perceptions of their work...Also, it’s a page-turning thriller ... I marked a good dozen or so passages taking on the publishing industry to go back to and savor. Some final twists in the story made those passages even more delicious. It’s a book I could read again tomorrow and take away a whole list of different pleasures than the first time ... Laura Lippman is a major writer. If you don’t know her, there’s 25 books waiting for you.
The gifted Ms. Lippman, in this tale of a talented cad who more or less gets what he deserves, shifts between passages hard-boiled and satirical. Dream Girl offers a healthy dose of suspense and wittily skewers literary life.
All hail the suspense novel that sticks the landing! ... Lippman delights in rendering a bookish snob whose allusions include references from John D. MacDonald to Congreve to Fitzgerald, and the richness of these many book and movie titles adds a welcome layer of complexity to Gerry, whose love for teaching these stories shines through ... At times, Dream Girl suffers from its back-and-forth chronological structure, where some chapters set in Gerry’s past seemingly have little to do with his present. But as violence intrudes and secrets are revealed, the novel picks up pace as it approaches its last enjoyable pages. Lippman’s sharp and timely thriller is a fast read, one that will surely please her many longtime devotees as well as attract new and enthusiastic fans.
...defines the term literary thriller ... Lippman sculpts Dream Girl as an homage to the writing life with a hero — who’s also a bit of an anti-hero — who is both sympathetic and, at times, unlikable. Dream Girl is a testament to imagination, to the price and perils of success that is often fleeting and sometimes comes at the sacrifice of relationships and happiness ... High tension fuels Dream Girl while vividly illustrating the humiliation of being confined to a bed, having every bodily need tended by another. The action is brisk and terrifying.
Wait, you say, this is reminding me of Misery. Yes indeed, Dream Girl is a nod to Stephen King’s horror classic, and maybe a bit to his Gerald’s Game, and a lot to Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Lippman has a deliciously good time dropping allusions all over the book to a host of literary and pop culture works about the nature of fiction ... Lippman seamlessly weaves all that literary play and feminist satire into a well-crafted horror story — I might have held my breath for the last 100 pages as one shock barreled into another, to the wonderfully twisted end.
...chilling and compulsively readable, a superb blend of psychological suspense and horror that reveals the mind and soul of a writer and touches on timely issues that include power, agency, appropriation, and creation ... This witty, deeply literate book is as much an homage to popular entertainment (think of pop fiction turned into acclaimed movies such as Misery and Rear Window) as it is a love letter to and excoriation of the white male writers who’ve dominated American letters for decades now ... The genius of Ms. Lippmann’s latest novel is that even as you’re repelled by Gerry’s self-absorption and privilege, you can’t help sympathizing with him; adaptation is difficult, and we’ve all lied to ourselves in ways that mirror the deceptions of this book’s characters ... it’s an adept exploration of literary culture, high and low, that is by turns slyly hilarious and sobering as it considers the many facets of obsession and their repercussions.
Lippman...nods at Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock in this hair-raising tale, but makes it wholly hers and completely riveting. She conveys the horror of being housebound and reliant on strangers, as well as the fear of losing one's mind. It's a page-turning, plot-twisting masterpiece.
Lippman brilliantly moves back and forth in time, gradually building the narcissistic Gerry into a confoundingly complex character, both repellent and vulnerable, a man whose ill treatment of the multiple women in his life suggests numerous possibilities for the person behind the newly arisen Aubrey. But don’t expect to figure this one out; Lippman never stops twisting the plot into a deliciously intricate pretzel, right up to the jaw-dropping finale. This is both a beguiling look at the mysteries of authorship and a powerful #MeToo novel, but that’s only the tip of a devilishly jagged iceberg that asks us to look very deeply into the hearts of its multidimensional characters.
There's a moment in Lippman's latest novel when her delightful series detective, Tess Monaghan, walks into the room and, for a moment, it seems everything could be all right. Unfortunately, it's just a cameo, and we're soon back with our uninspiring cast of three ... the reader sometimes feels as stupid as Gerry thinks everyone is. It's too bad this book has to be compared to Misery, because despite similarities in setup, it's no Misery. All the reveals come after you have figured them out; the murders are played for camp. The most gaspworthy moment in the book comes in the author's note ... In her 25th novel, Lippman messes up a near-perfect batting average.