Following up on her acclaimed and wildly successful New York Times bestseller Lady in the Lake, Laura Lippman returns with a dark, complex tale of psychological suspense with echoes of Misery involving a novelist, incapacitated by injury, who is plagued by mysterious phone calls.
After being injured in a freak accident, novelist Gerry Andersen lies in a hospital bed in his glamorous but sterile apartment, isolated from the busy world he can see through his windows, utterly dependent on two women he barely knows: his young assistant and a night nurse whose competency he questions.
But Gerry is also beginning to question his own competency. As he moves in and out of dreamlike memories and seemingly random appearances of a persistent ex-girlfriend at his bedside, he fears he may be losing his grip on reality, much like his mother who recently passed away from dementia.
Most distressing, he believes he’s being plagued by strange telephone calls, in which a woman claiming to be the titular character of his hit novel Dream Girl swears she will be coming to see him soon. The character is completely fictitious, but no one has ever believed Gerry when he makes that claim. Is he the victim of a cruel prank—or is he actually losing his mind★ There is no record of the calls according to the log on his phone. Could there be someone he has wronged★ Is someone coming to do him harm as he lies helplessly in bed★
Then comes the morning he wakes up next to a dead body—and realizes his nightmare is just beginning…
***Thanks to NetGalley & Faber and Faber Ltd for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
not my cup of tea:
The poor old white man. How terrible it must be to have to hold your tongue in the name of common courtesy and political correctness. How unfortunate that you can no longer be blatantly racist or sexist, and you’ll be held accountable for sexually assaulting another person. Gerry was exactly the stereotypical entitled rich white man you expect exists, but optimistically, hope doesn’t. It felt like almost every other sentence was him congratulating himself for not voicing his inappropriate thoughts about the women he encounters as the story continues. Gerry boils down his relationships to their sexual interactions and considers himself so above others that their worth is calculated by how they serve him.
I was totally on board for a twisty thriller ending in karmic retribution, especially as every page had me disliking Gerry more and more. But, unfortunately, this story never went anywhere. The backstory was boring, there was no real suspense or confusion, and everything happened exactly as expected.
While Lippman did an excellent job writing an unlikeable protagonist, the follow-through was missing. It took me much longer to read Dream Girl than it should have due to utter boredom.