PHANTOM DREAMS by T.K. Harris

PHANTOM DREAMS

KIRKUS REVIEW

This serial-murder thriller hints at the supernatural.

Kathy’s recurring bad dreams seem to be getting more frequent and more explicit. At the behest of her psychiatrist, she starts sketching the dreams, only to find that her sketches have an uncanny resemblance to victims of the Coast-to-Coast Killer that she later sees on TV. Co-narrator Jack, an FBI agent on the serial killer case but short on suspects, is happy to entertain Kathy’s testimonial after she reports her premonitory abilities to the police. There’s also the perspective of Tom, the elusive, misogynistic serial killer, who seems to suffer from multiple-personality disorder. Redolent of The Eyes of Laura Mars, the taut narrative unfurls an appropriately unsettling though vague sense of Tom’s condition, mixed with a clearer sense of his location. Jack, haggard from his job and disenchanted by FBI bureaucracy, nonetheless radiates charisma and empathy. The details of Kathy’s life unfold with patience: Her dreams merge with reality at a believable pace, then, as expertly plotted by the author, doubt sets in while readers and Jack begin to question the reliability of her perception. By skeptically referencing its supernatural element—“Think we’ve got an actual X-Files case here?” asks Jack’s sidekick—the story adeptly tightens the suspension of disbelief. Some spelling and grammar lapses crop up (e.g., “their” instead of “there”), and there’s one needless switch of perspective in which readers hear from Kathy’s anonymous downstairs neighbor for only two paragraphs, but otherwise this thriller shoots straight.

Smart, suspenseful and disquietingly believable.

Pub Date: July 5th, 2012
Page count: 305pp
Publisher: Chastain Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2012




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