* Prices may differ from that shown
I was introduced to Peter James by a work colleague and after reading two of his stand alone novels 'Prophecy' and 'Twilight' which I enjoyed, particularly the latter, I was keen to read more of his work.
In 'Dreamer' we are introduced to Sam Curtis, a thirty-something married career woman who works for an advertising agency and is married to yuppie husband Richard, who makes a living dealing on the stock exchange. They enjoy a rich lifestyle in London, employing a live-in nanny to care for their son and enjoy weekends at their additional home in the country.
Things are not going too well for Sam lately who is hurting after finding out about her husband's recent infidelity. Not only that, her dreams are returning again.
The last time Sam had the dream, she was seven years old; and that was the night her parents were to die. Now 25 years later the dream is back.
Sam tries to shut out her dreams at first, but finds it increasingly difficult as strange things begin to happen which she cannot explain. Sam feels she is having premonitions which both scare her and make her think she should have done something to prevent certain things from happening.
A menacing hooded man named Slider is featuring heavily in her dreams. Sam thought she had seen the last of him when she was seven. Why has he came back?
As she becomes increasingly desperate to find a way to deal with her dreams or make them stop, Sam seeks help from psychologists, clairvoyants and even dream therapy sessions, but nothing and no-one it seems can help her and Sam doubts anyone believes her claims that she is experiencing premonitions. As she is left to confront her dreams alone, she has no idea what is happening to her, as whatever it is, it will not relinquish its hold.
And then Sam begins to dream of her own death...
I had high hopes for another good read when I began reading this book, but unlike the other two Peter James books I had read, I found this one quite difficult to get into.
I like to be drawn into a book right away and have been known to give up completely if still not into a book after a couple of chapters. With 'Dreamer' I made an exception, based purely on my enjoyment of his other novels I have read. I persevered, hoping it would improve and eventually it did. However, I was halfway through the book by this time!
I think the main reason I struggled with this book was the characters. I found there was little to like about them and therefore it was difficult to identify with their feelings or have any sympathy for them.
Both Sam and her husband Richard hardly see their son apart from weekends, when even then, their nanny still sees to his needs. They both seem to love their son and Sam does seem to have some guilt about her lack of quality time with him, but I found it frustrating as she could have made much more of an effort and doesn't. Her quality time with her son seems to be a bedtime story, but even then there are some nights she does not return home until gone 10pm, which is long after her son's bedtime.
I thought both Sam and Richard were quite selfish. Richard I found was particularly irritating with his constant "Yah" comments to everything. He is dealing with a strange Swiss banker, Andreas, who is helping him earn a considerable amount of money. I had my suspicions early on that all was not as it seemed, but did not guess exactly what the outcome would be.
This was probably the saving grace of the book, as halfway through, things did become more interesting and the story began to hold my attention. Before this turning point I had been picking the book up to read and putting it back down again after a few pages, bored with reading about the Curtis's 'yuppie' lifestyle.
As Sam becomes increasingly distraught about her dreams and the story intensifies, I did actually find myself having a little sympathy for her. No matter who or where she turns to for help, it seems nothing can make it stop as she is sucked further and further into her nightmare world when she sleeps and I was interested to find out how or where it would all end. I had a few ideas rattling around in my head and wondering if any of them were correct, I found was enough to maintain my interest.
The book is written in the third person and at 386 pages was probably just about the right length, however I do feel that more could have been done to make the first half of the story more interesting.
Another niggle I had with the writing was that sometimes it jumped about a little too much and I became confused on more than one occasion, unsure whether or not Sam was dreaming or actually experiencing what was happening. Whilst I could see how maybe the author intended for the reader to feel this way (and there is nothing wrong with that when cleverly done) it did become overly confusing at times and somewhat messy. I had to take a step back and think about what I had just read before proceeding any further.
As I approached the end, I was feeling very pleased that I had indeed stuck with the book and not given up on it. Despite my dislike of the characters, I found I was interested in the story.
However, I did feel that the ending was not as good as I had hoped and certainly not as exciting as the other books I have read by James. I had a fair idea of how it would end and whilst not exactly right, I wasn't far wrong. Overall I was left feeling a little let-down.
Dreamer is an average thriller but it could have been so much better and is definitely not Peter James' best work. I like a book that you find you are still thinking about long after you have turned the final page and sadly 'Dreamer' is not one of those books.