Sunday, August 31, 2014

Review/Interview/Book Giveaway: Nightmares Can Be Murder by Mary Kennedy

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...

Dream Team

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.

My Review

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.

Author Interview

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 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 or where she blogs every Saturday.


How would you like to win a paperback copy of Nightmares Can Be Murder by Mary Kennedy? Thanks to the author, I have one paperback to giveaway to one lucky winner.

Just a few simple rules...

1) You must fill out the rafflecopter form below.

2) Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old

3) US Residents Only

4) For one extra entry: Tweet about this giveaway.

5) For one extra entry: Leave a comment for the author.

6) For one extra entry:  Follow this blog...old followers, too!  Just let us know how you follow and under what name.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.

The giveaway begins on August 31st (midnight est) and ends on September 7th (midnight est).

The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter. The winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be chosen. I will announce the winner here on my blog.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This one has been on my wish list since I first heard of it. Sounds like a great new cozy!

  2. A dream club is certainly original and I love that the characters are fully fleshed; sometimes cozies rely on quirkiness instead of development. I'm putting this on my library wish list.

  3. Love that cover, looks like a fantastic read :)

  4. Dream clubs - who knew?!? Sounds fascinating.

  5. Thanks so much for having me on Socrates Book Reviews! Happy reading and sweet dreams, everyone.

  6. I loved the interview with Mary, and didn't realize she'd written so many books! I pre-ordered Nightmares Can Be Murder, so I hope to receive it this week.

  7. SO want to read!

  8. I enjoyed the interview. The review was great, I can't wait to read the book.

  9. Bea, thank you so much. I got a great review from Library Journal, I was thrilled. They said was a "Terrific start to a new series."

  10. Hi Linda, thanks for the kind words--yes, I've written a lot of books, sometimes I can't believe it myself. I wrote 34 middle grade and YA novels for Scholastic and then started writing for Penguin-Random House.

  11. Dream interpretation and cozy mysteries make such a great combination. looking forward to reading your new book!!

  12. Sounds like fun and I like the dream club aspect of the story!

  13. This mystery is captivating and intriguing. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. I think I know you as much for your love and care for animals as I do for enjoying your books, though I did not realize that you wrote YA books too. I worked with abused and neglected kids and their families for many years. But my Mom was the one who was always curious about dreams. She used to get up at night and write her dreams down, then ask us what we thought they meant. Looking forward to seeing how dreams fit into your cozies, though I kind of suspect that someone in your story might have been fibbing about their dream--or is it that someone heard their dream and turned it into reality. Oh, now I'm really curious!!!! Ronnalord(at)msn(dot)com

    1. Ronna, we have so much in common!! I was a CASA (court-appointed advocate) for 6 years in Family Court and worked with kids who came under the jurisdiction of the court because they were neglected, abused, abandoned. It was all very sad.

  15. An old fashioned candy store in Savannah sounds like a fun location for a cozy. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  16. I'm eager to read this book!

  17. This sounds like such an interesting start to a new cozy series!

  18. Dream interpretations sounds interesting. I'm anxious to get started reading this new series.

  19. There are some different elements in this cozy, I'll definitely be adding it to my TBR.

  20. Hello Mary a dream club mystery sounds like a great series. I would enjoy reading these cozy mysteries. Thank you

  21. I like how the author had a writing career find her! I am sure many would have loved to be in her shoes!

  22. a definite add to my Wish List!!
    I cannot wait to read this!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

  23. Cosy mysteries are what I need between the intense ones or when life has gotten heavy and I need light and sometime humorous readings.

  24. Thus one is on my wish list , thanks for the giveaway!

  25. YAY another chance to win this book.
    Now what I need is time to read.
    If only I could sleep read.

  26. I first heard about this new series several months ago, and after finding out what it was about, it quickly became one of the books that I was most looking forward to its release day just because it sounded so good. I’m thrilled that it has finally come. Thanks for the chance to win.

  27. I love the setting and the cover. Thanks for having the giveaway.


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