About the Book
Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in A Dream Club Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: September 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads...
Business consultant Taylor Blake has returned to Savannah, Georgia, to help her sister Allison turn her dream of running an old-fashioned candy store into a reality. Allison is also interested in dream interpretation and invites Taylor to her Friday night Dream Club, where members meet once a week to share and analyze their dreams.
When a local dance instructor, Chico Hernandez, is found dead in his studio, and the murder scene has an eerie resemblance to one of the dreams shared at their meeting, Taylor can’t help but be intrigued. And when her sister, who was briefly involved with the dance teacher, becomes the prime suspect, Taylor and their fellow club members can’t be caught napping. It’s up to them to dream up a solution to the murder before Allison faces a real-life nightmare.
As soon as I read the back cover blurb for this book, I was hooked. I didn’t even have to open it up and start reading. I was fascinated that a cozy mystery would revolve around a dream club. That’s such an original idea. Then, to set it in an old-fashioned candy shop? What could be better?
The cast of characters ranged from sweet to quirky to tough to downright evil. Each one is developed to perfection. Our main character and amateur sleuth is Taylor Blake. She is taking a break from her life in Chicago to help her sister, Ali, run her candy store. During her visit, she sits in on Ali’s dream club where members meet to analyze their dreams. Of course Taylor doesn’t believe in dreams, but she goes along for the ride and meets Ali’s friends.
When the local dance instructor, who happens to be friends with Ali and most women in the small town, is found dead – the murder scene is very similar to one of the dream club member’s dream. The group is riveted by this, but it's not long before Ali finds herself as a prime suspect. Taylor knows her sister is innocent. Regardless of the danger to herself, Taylor intends to investigate and find the real killer before her sister finds herself behind bars. Taylor calls for help from a private investigator, Noah Chandler, who happens to be an old boyfriend. Together, they try to get to the bottom of this.
I love the touch of romance that runs through this book, plus the relationship between Taylor and her sister is sweet. In addition, the members of the dream club welcomed Taylor into their little family even though her intention is to move back to Chicago. It gave the story a very warm feeling.
As for the mystery, I didn’t see the end coming at all. There were several possibilities who the killer was and the story took several twists and turns. I didn’t figure it out and was just as surprised as Taylor.
This is a well written mystery with a lively cast of characters. Not to mention that it gives cozy mystery readers a little bit of a different angle in the genre. I can’t wait for the second book to be released.
For reading challenges:
2014 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge
FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
I would like to welcome author Mary Kennedy to Socrates’ Book Reviews. She is the author of a wonderful new cozy mystery series “A Dream Club Mystery”. The first book in the series is Nightmares Can Be Murder.
Welcome Mary ! Here we go…
1. Since you are a clinical psychologist, I have to wonder if the idea to center a cozy series around dreams comes from your career. How did this series come about?
I get paid to listen to my client’s dreams (and they are fascinating) and I happened to come across a NY Times article about the popularity of dream clubs. I thought, “What if there really was a dream club and the members found clues in their dreams that helped the police solve murders?” It seemed like a fun idea and I knew I had to pursue it.
2. You wrote another cozy mystery series, “Talk Radio Mysteries”, but the last one was written in 2010. Do you plan to re-visit it?
I’m definitely continuing the Talk Radio series on my own. I’m going to put up book one (DEAD AIR) and book 4 as e-books and books 2 and 3 still exist in formats, e-books and paperbacks. It’s a fun series and my agent sold it on the basis of five words, “Frasier Meets Murder She Wrote.” It’s about a clinical psychologist who closes up her Manhattan practice to move to sunny Florida to become a radio talk show host. (like Frasier) . And she solves a murder in every book (like Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote.) I used to be a radio copywriter for a rock radio station in Nashville, so it seemed like the perfect setting for a book.
3. Did the “talk radio” series help you write “the dream club” series?
The Talk Radio series helped in the sense that I learned to use my experience as a psychologist to add some immediacy (and fun scenes) to the books.
4. Who are your favorite authors and/or books?
I love Carolyn Hart, and of course, all my fellow Cozy Chicks. There are seven of us and we all blog once a week on www.cozychicksblog.com Be sure to stop by, we love to hear from readers and there are fun giveaways.
5. How long does it take for you to write a book?
The actual writing takes about three months, but there are many months of planning and the occasional research trip before that.
6. How did you react when you heard your first book would be published?
Well, my case is a bit unusual. An editor from a major publisher approached me and asked me to write a teen novel for them. I’d never written a novel, but had worked as a television news writer and a radio copywriter. The only problem was, they insisted that the book be written in 8 weeks. I said yes, and that’s how it all started. That was over 40 books ago. So I never had the years of rejection that some writers face. I’ve always had interesting “day jobs,” so writing novels was just a fluke.
7. Can you tell us anything about any future book releases?
More Dream Club books in the future, I hope, and more e-book versions as I continue the Talk Radio Mysteries. And I’ve reclaimed three of my Penguin young adult novels and plan to have them up as e-books by Christmas. One series is about a young girl whose life changes when a major film company comes to her small town in New England to shoot a movie and the other is about a South Beach girl who discovers the high cost of fame. I won an award and grant from the National Foundation for the Arts for “artistic excellence in literary fiction” for Confessions of an Almost Movie Star and look forward to writing more in that series.
Thank you so much for taking the time visit with us, Mary. It’s been a pleasure to have you here!
Mary Kennedy is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the author of the Dream Club Mysteries and the Talk Radio Mysteries. She lives with her husband on the East Coast with 8 neurotic cats. Both husband and cats have resisted all her attempts to psychoanalyze them, but she remains optimistic. You can visit her at www.marykennedy.net or www.cozychicksblog.com where she blogs every Saturday.
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