Liddy Barron is recovering from a nasty hit-and-run accident in which she suffered a compound fracture and a head injury that leaves her with gaps in her memory and recurrent nightmares. One of the main lapses she endures is the recollection of the accident itself and why she ran so heedlessly out into traffic that night. Her husband, Paul, is a neuroscientist who is working at the University under a grant deadline with his friend of many years, Mark. Always a workaholic, Liddy resents Paul’s absences. They live in a cramped bachelor pad and, when she leaves the hospital, Liddy and Paul go looking for new digs. Liddy’s best friend, Beth, is a realtor and she takes them to see a loft in Soho which, unfortunately, has a checkered past – the previous resident, a struggling actor, hung himself from one of the rafters. Past history aside, Liddy loves the loft which has the perfect room to set up her artist’s studio. Paul also is enthusiastic about the move and, despite its past, they decide to take the apartment. Decision made, Paul goes back to work and, sitting in a café with Beth, Liddy pulls out her sketchbook and begins to randomly draw portraits of people she sees on the street. One is a young blonde woman and when Beth sees the drawing, she’s struck by it and is sure she’s seen the girl before. Later on, Beth calls and tells Liddy she remembers the girl – it’s Sasha Perry, a missing co-ed whose face has been all over the TV.
Thus, begins Liddy’s journey to find out what happened to Sasha, whose image she’s beginning to see everywhere. Is Sasha a ghost? A memory? Enter detective Kerri Blasco who, despite the fact that the NYPD is ruling Sasha’s disappearance a runaway, continues to pursue the case. Kerri and Liddy join forces and clues begin to emerge that appear to implicate Paul’s research partner, Mark.
As with all the J.A. Schneider books I’ve read, this one is a real page-turner. Twists, turns, and red herrings abound, keeping the reader guessing as to what happened to Sasha and who, if anyone, done her in? Was it Mark? Paul? Or, Liddy herself? What role does Beth play in this thriller? Is she somehow involved in the co-ed’s disappearance? And, what about Liddy’s accident? How does that fit in? Author Schneider keeps you guessing right up until the surprise and shocking ending.
A taut thriller, Fear Dreams is highly recommended for lovers of psychological mystery/thrillers and who-dun-it puzzles. Another 5-star for author, Schneider!