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Wake Up Dead

Wake Up Dead

4.5 12
by Christopher Bonn Jonnes
After researcher Mason Brooks invents a dream the future machine, he uses it to impress the young and beautiful Monica Westfield. But then he starts dreaming, and avoiding his own death with increasing frequency. Death is seemingly imminent. The various lethal dreams share only one common component, the presence of Paul Fontana, a complete stranger. Desperate to solve


After researcher Mason Brooks invents a dream the future machine, he uses it to impress the young and beautiful Monica Westfield. But then he starts dreaming, and avoiding his own death with increasing frequency. Death is seemingly imminent. The various lethal dreams share only one common component, the presence of Paul Fontana, a complete stranger. Desperate to solve the mysterious bond, Brooks invites Paul into his home. Now the three of them must fight through obsession, love, greed, jealousy, and the specter of death before the end of this riveting suspense. Will reality and perception finally mesh?

Christopher Bonn Jonnes is the author of the suspense novel, Wake Up Dead. An accomplished business writer, he is the vice president and co-owner of an industrial manufacturing company. This story came to him while experimenting with lucid dreaming. He resides in Minnesota with his wife and youngest daughter, where he writes, runs marathons and plays the guitar. Wake Up Dead is his first novel.

Editorial Reviews

Christopher Bonn Jonnes makes the transition from business writing to mystery writing with his first novel, Wake Up Dead. An unlikelyauthor, Jonnes is vice president and co-owner of an industrial manufacturing company. His own personal experiments with lucid dreaming inspired this novel.

Mason Brooks is a rogue professor who has made himself rich by experimenting with the concept of lucid dreaming and cashing in on what appears to be the ability to predict the future within a certain time frame. He has lured a beautiful young student, Monica Westfield, into his life and home with money and power. But he begins to see predictions of his own death tied in with a stranger named Paul Fontana, a handsome salesman with a taste for fast cars, loose women, and gambling who regularly manages to elude loan sharks. Brooks invites Fontana into his home to further his experiments and to try to find closure on the death dreams, but he doesn't bank on how quickly Fontana and Monica fall in love:

"In a masochistic way he was proud of his cleverness for having acted upon his suspicion of Paul and Monica. After all, there hadn't been much to go on. Paul's desires were clear, but would he act on them? Monica had done only two things to make him question her faithfulness. She was quick to defend Paul on the question of the gun, and the fact that she searched his room and found the gun began to eat at Mason."

Wake Up Dead is a psychological thriller of sorts, heavy on dream psychology. Jonnes does a great job of conjuring up characters that project Hitchcockian qualities: Monica is beautiful, intelligent, and is completely under the sway of the increasingly psychotic Professor Mason Brooks. Paul Fontana evolves from a two-bit hustler to a brave and self-sacrificing man worthy of Monica's love...if he can save her (and himself) from the clutches of the mad professor.

Wake Up Dead is a page-turner that simmers with sensual passion and pulses with unspeakably haunting danger. There is nothing more terrifying than contemplating the breakdown of the human mind and civility when the scientific experiments begin. Christopher Bonn Jonnes rocks.

Product Details

Salvo Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.52(d)

Read an Excerpt

Paul Fontana stared at the old man. "You want me to quit my job and move in with you so you can study my dreams?"

Monica Brooks sat next to her husband. She lifted her dress slightly to accommodate crossed legs. Paul stretched his peripheral vision to its limit as he watched her, still maintaining eye contact with her husband. If he could get his eyes to go different directions, he would do it now. Part of him wanted to get up and leave this weird scientist and his bizarre offer; take the money and go--but he was curious to hear more. A stronger part of him hoped this was some strange, marital sex game, an invitation to sleep with the wife and satisfy her in a way the old man could no longer do, that she'd singled him out after an exhaustive search of available men in the city.

Mason looked concerned. "I realize this seems drastic, but you'd be forwarding science more than you can imagine, and paid well."

"Brooks, I don't give a damn about science, and if you think I'm going to quit my job and move in here for a few hundred dollars, you're wrong."

Please, he thought, now tell me I get the girl.

"I'm sorry if I gave the impression the amount would be so small, Paul. I'd pay you two thousand dollars per week for your participation."

Paul's poker face fell to the floor. "Why me?" he said, "What's so important about my dreams?"

"How about that drink now?"

Paul nodded.

Monica moved toward a glass liquor cabinet. "What would you like, Paul?"

He bit his tongue to keep "screaming orgasm" or "sex on the beach" from coming out. "Scotch, please."

She pressed a drink into Paul's hand. Their fingers touched. It had been years since a woman affected him this way.

Brooks leaned forward and became animated. "Paul, have you ever experienced deja vu?"

"Sure, it's a chemical brain stimulation thing, right?"

Brooks shook his head with a knowing smile. "What if I told you that it's real. The future does exist in the present, and every night each of us witnesses it in the deep state of non-REM sleep. Deja vu is nothing more than a leak from the subconscious mind to the conscious. You suddenly feel the sensation of memory, because you have been there--in your dreams."

"I'd say, 'In your dreams.'"

"How else can you explain clairvoyance or extrasensory perception?"

"I don't try, Brooks, but I guarantee, a few ten-dollar words aren't going to convince me we're all dreaming up the future each night. I saw your name on those books there, so I know you don't have your head wedged too far, but dreaming the future? Come on."

"Not only do we dream the future, we can change it through a technique called lucid dreaming. Are you familiar with the term?"

"Sorry, I must have missed health class that day."

"Lucid dreaming is the ability to become aware that you're dreaming--without waking up--and to control the dream; decide what should happen next, which in turn changes the future."

"And we're really descendants of apes and aliens, too, right?"

"Paul, I've become a millionaire by applying my knowledge of the future to betting at the track and investing in the financial markets."

Now Paul was interested. "Can you teach me that?"

"There's no time. We must not be distracted from studying why you keep appearing in my dreams."

"What's the big deal?

"Each of your appearances in my dreams has resulted in my death. There was the car accident, then the plane crash, and on and on. In my non-REM dreams I see the future: I see my death. Each time, you are there."

"But it doesn't happen."

"Only because I see it coming and take steps to change it. Unfortunately, the dreams are becoming more frequent. It would appear that for whatever reason, you are the harbinger of my death."

Paul shook his head. "This is too weird to take seriously."

"You'd better. Often you get killed too--plane crash, remember?"

"What do you expect to find by studying me?"

"A connection. My life is a living hell. Almost weekly now I dream my death, and then try to avoid it. I don't know how long I can hold it off. I can't go anywhere until I hook myself up each morning and recall the day's major events. I believe we all dream the future. We must all be linked in some ubiquitous pool of time and space. We dip our toes in each night and feel the waters as we dream--but the waters are not calm. There are eddies and changing currents. Our dreams are a sextant, our actions the rudder. You and I are linked together. I must study your dreams to find the correlation. I'm afraid, Mister Fontana, my research is no longer for the benefit of the university or the forwarding of science. I am in a race against death."

They remained silent, their eyes shifting from one to the other, three people trying to gauge the faith the others have in the impossible, the incomprehensible.

Paul felt a strange fear, a fear he'd felt as a child--the fear of the unknown, of a dark and mysterious universe, of questions with no answer, of loneliness deep and profound. Not since he'd matured to the point where men stop torturing themselves with the question of the meaning of the universe had he felt such a fear.

He wasn't about to start again.

Paul broke the silence with a nervous laugh. "You believe what you want, Brooks. You've got a hell of a tale there, but you're not going to get me to believe that if I wake up dead tomorrow it's because I dreamed it the night before."

"What of our agreement, Mister Fontana?"

"We shook on it, didn't we? My word is as good as your money."

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Wake Up Dead 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wake Up Dead is a brilliant piece of work with great detail and great character description. However, it is missing something that would add an important part to the body of the story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just could not put down this book. It captured me from the beginning and I am not a regular reader. I can't wait to see and own the movie. I also look forward to more books by Christopher Bonn Jonnes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is one of the worst books I have ever read. Very weak story line, extremely weak ending, and extremely weak characters. Mr. Jonnes bandwagon attempt of throw in a few sexual escapades, weak ones at that, to make it more interesting not only nauseates one, it actually makes you want to demand your money back. I could have lived without the effort. Paul never had any appeal; was so non- heroic and dumb. Monica was a pallor for show; 'add the little woman bit' and not conniving enough; and, Mason was not demonic even in his malevolent stages, just a wimp, a 'wimp with a gun', which is nothing to be afraid of. It took a long time to even enter the first chapter as there was nothing to actually lead you into what could have been possibly a good story if there had been strength in the writing, strength in the climax, and strength in character. I'd say 'F', but it didn't even finish that high. You really should add 0 to question #1. There is humor in your sales pitch re: 'Wake Up Dead', but even that has not the strength to bring it alive. Thank you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Taut. Compact. Impossible to put down. Wake Up Dead is one of the best thrillers I have read in a long time. More than creative, it is intelligent and clever. From start to finish I did not know what to expect, a surprise lurked inside the pages of each chapter.

Mason Brooks is a critically acclaimed scientist doing personal research on non-REM sleep patterns. From his amazing research he learns to predict the future. In his future he sees a bond between him and Paul Fontana. In each dream sequence, the ultimate result is death for one, or both of them. Forced to become a recluse, Brooks concentrates on monitoring and interpreting his own, seemingly, impending demise, looking for ways to cheat death.

Brooks hires Fontana full-time to include in his research, certain with Fontana living in his home he will have more control over events waiting to unfold. The immediate problem presents itself when Fontana meets Monica, Brooks¿ young (much younger), beautiful wife and the mutual attraction is more than immediate¿it is obvious.

Playing an important roll in the novel, Monica is faced with many issues. Love for the sake of love, or celibate boredom for the sake of riches. Caught in the middle of the inescapable bond between Mason and Fontana Monica constantly needs to inspect her own motivations. Will Mason¿s predictions of death come true or will he be able to alter the future?

Christopher Bonn Jonnes has an amazing talent for building up a scientifically plausible plot centered on three strong, believable characters. The scenes are fast paced. The dialogue is crisp, fresh and witty. The twists will shake you about, but you¿ll love the ride! Wake Up Dead is one I¿ll be thinking about for a long, long time.

--Phillip Tomasso III, author of Third Ring, Tenth House and Mind Play (in association with Bookbrowser.com)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book. I read it 3 times already. Once you pick it up, you can't put it down. The suspense gets you and sticks to you like glue.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Im nearly done with the book and i must say without knowing the ending its one heck of a book already!i rarly step out of the normal reads from people like S king.but i know that will all change now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful idea, marvelously constructed and researched. A very interesting blend of science fiction and mystery. And the boy can write.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have read in years. I am really looking forward to reading Christopher's next book!! Don't read this before going to bed or you'll never get to sleep. I was totally engrossed from the moment I picked it up. This is an unforgettable thriller that blends science fiction and mystery suspense into a very entertaining ride for scifi and mystery buffs! Mason, Paul and Monica will take you on a whirly, twirly, rollercoaster ride of suspense and thrills. A MUST READ!! Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have ever read. I couldn't put it down. Tom Clancy and Stephen King might as well take up knitting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A former car salesman gets more than he bargained for when he teams up with an aging scientist and his lovely young wife to discover what the future can bring: death for the scientist at the hands of this young stranger? Love and romance between the suspected killer and the young wife? The novel ends in an unexpected way, and you will be pleasantly surprised. As an author of thrillers myself, I can say, with some assurance, that WAKE UP DEAD will keep you awake long after you put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
WAKE UP DEAD, a suspense novel with a very creative premise, is skillfully written. Trust me on this. I'm Chris Jonnes's mother.