Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A Haunting Dream - Joyce and Jim Lavene


A Haunting Dream
A Missing Pieces Mystery
Joyce and Jim Lavene
Berkley Prime Crime
 
Mystery/Paranormal
 
If you’ve been reading this entertaining series (A TIMELY VISION, A TOUCH OF GOLD, A SPIRITED GIFT) you’ll know that the last book ended with quite a surprise.  If this is a spoiler to you, you should probably stop reading now.  If not, you’ll be glad to know that the current novel begins mere seconds after the end of A SPIRITIED GIFT.  Everyone is still at the party, and Mayor Dae O’Donnell is face-to-face with someone she thought she’d never meet.  Ann Porter was once an FBI agent who used her own psychic gifts to do her job.  She was partners (in every sense) with Dae’s current flame, Kevin Brickman, until she ended up in an institution.  Now she’s in town and clearly plans to start up her relationship with Kevin again, as if nothing had happened.
 
Sometimes it’s great to be the mayor in your tiny hometown.  Sometimes it’s not.  Like when your boyfriend’s ex crashes a party and you have to put on your ‘happy and understanding and not-at-all heartbroken’ face when it happens.  In a case like this, Old Man Sweeney is a welcome distraction.  He found a medal in a grocery store parking lot and would like Dae to find the owner, using her unique gift.  When Dae uses her gift to find the medal, she sees that it belongs to local realtor, Chuck Sparks.  And she sees, very clearly, that Chuck is dead.  To her shock, the Chuck in her vision seems to look right at her and say, “help her.” 
 
This is a new and fairly unwelcome twist to Dae’s talents.  She quickly finds that Chuck has (or had) a young daughter, Betsey.  No one seems to know where the child is, including her mother.  The FBI arrives to investigate the kidnapping, and quickly takes over from Duck’s own law enforcement.  They also seem to think that Dae must be involved; how else would she know the things she does?  Adding to the stress is Ann’s almost malevolent presence.  Ann’s mental breakdown occurred after an unsuccessful search for another missing child.  She actively discourages the search, claiming to know that the child is already dead.  Naturally, Dae is not taking ‘dead’ for an answer.

A HAUNTING DREAM is the fourth mystery in this series, and it adds some interesting depth to both Kevin’s and Dae’s characters.  It’s clear Kevin thought Ann was out of his life, until she appeared unannounced.  Kevin and Dae both react to this impossible situation like the adults they are, which is pretty refreshing.  There’s hurt, but they put it aside in order to pursue the far more important goal of finding the missing child.  The mystery takes several unexpected twists and introduces a few new characters.  The pacing is brisk and there’s a real sense of urgency; time is running out for the missing girl.  The story seems very full, taking into account small town politics, with all the inherent ups and downs.  The authors have built a compelling world here, full of realistic characters. Fans of mysteries that contain a bit of the paranormal will find a lot to love in this series.
 
  
Rating: 7 ½
December 2012
ISBN# 978-0-425-25179-9 (paperback)

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