The author of the bestselling Tess Monaghan detective series returns with a new novel about popular mystery author Gerry Andersen, 61, whose recent injury leaves him dependent on two women he barely knows: his incurious young assistant, and a slow-witted night nurse. When a woman calls and claims to be Aubrey, a character from his breakout novel Dream Girl, a drug-addled Gerry wonders whether his mind is playing tricks on him or his life is in danger.
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.
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.