Dream Man, by Linda Howard

>> Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I recently reread Dream Man, by Linda Howard.

Never comfortable with her fame as an empath, lovely Marlie Keen has led a life free of clairvoyant incidents for several years. But her quiet, ordinary existence is shattered when the unwanted ability to read a murderer's mind returns with a vengeance. Knowing that publicity is sure to follow, Marlie nevertheless tells the police what she knows

. Tough detective Dane Hollister first scoffs at her claim that she "sees" the serial killer who's terrorizing Orlando, but it doesn't take long to convince him that she's telling the truth. It takes even less time for him to recognize the attraction between himself and Marlie, but Marlie is incredibly vulnerable to the visions assaulting her and Dane must put his fierce desire on hold while he tries to track down a bloodthirsty madman.

The first time(s) I read this I graded it in the A range, but upon reread this time, it wasn't that good. It's still a B+, but I don't think it's "one of the best books I've ever read" anymore.

The suspense angle is just as good as I remembered. It's very graphic and violent, and made me almost physically sick at times, even though I knew what was going to happen. I've probably read a couple of dozen "psychic linked with serial killer" novels since I first read Dream Man, but this is the one where this is best done.

What I didn't enjoy all that much was the romance, most especially the hero. Dane was too much one of those "grunt&scratch" alpha males, and I didn't find him particularly appealing. Yes, he was sweet at times, with the way he protected Marlie, but it felt too much like "big, strong man - weak, defenceless woman" for me to really like the dynamics of their relationship. The worse part is that Marlie wasn't at all weak, but Dane just took over. He started making decisions for her, manipulated her into doing what he wanted, etc, etc., and she just accepted that.

Plus, I didn't find the love scenes as nuclear-hot as I remembered. I mean, yes, the book does qualify as hot, but the love scenes continue the dynamics from their relationship, and I wasn't too crazy about them.

I finished the book feeling more intrigued by Dane's partner, Alejandro Trammell, than by Dane himself. Now that's the kind of guy I like!

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