Sara Barnes thought her life was perfectly ordinary – until the night she began stepping into other people’s dreams.
Follow Sara as she learns to cope with this extraordinary gift (or curse) in the first three books of the Dream Doctor Mysteries:
It’s bad enough that, thanks to her supernatural talent, Sara is learning more than she ever needed to know about her friends and classmates, watching their most secret fantasies whether she wants to or not. Much worse are the other dreams, the ones she sees nearly every night, featuring a strange, terrifying man who commits unspeakable crimes. Now Sara wonders if she’s the only witness to a serial killer – and the only one who knows when and where he’s going to strike next.
Medical school and life as a newlywed would be enough by themselves for anybody to handle. But Sara’s got another problem – her dreams have started up again. Almost everyone at the medical school is dreaming about the death of the school’s least popular teacher, Dr. Morris, and once again, Sara finds herself in the role of unwilling witness to a murder before it happens. But this time, there are too many suspects to count, and it doesn’t help matters that she hates Dr. Morris every bit as much as any of his would-be murderers do.
Sara thought she had made peace with her dreaming talent, but she’s got a surprise coming: her four-year-old daughter has inherited it, too. Unraveling a mystery with lives on the line is difficult enough under the best of circumstances. But when Sara has to view all the evidence through the eyes – and dreams - of a toddler, it may be an impossible task.
Other Books By JJ Dibenedetto:
The Dream Doctor Mysteries (all ten books!)
Betty and Howard's Excellent Adventure
The Jane Barnaby Adventures (all three books to date!)
Mr. Smith and the Roach (coming soon!)
Finding Dori (Welcome to Romance)
About the Author
J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve university, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then. He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he's not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests. The "Dreams" series is James' first published work.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The publisher's blurb does an excellent job of hinting at each of the books in this part of the series, so I feel no need to recap or give spoilers. I loved the writing and the plots were fascinating and interconnected. I read the audio version as it is very long (but no problem with maintaining interest/fluidity) while at a recurrent opportunity to multitask. The characters are really well done, and I have learned rather quickly to look for more of this author's work.
I enjoyed the simplicity of these books . They weren't suspenseful but each held my attention so i wanted to know how they ended. And Brian, just enough description to fall in love with him. Ok, a little syrupy by the time reach book three but ya gotta love Lizzie.
It is amazing to watch how the author, James DiBenedetto, fleshes out the growth of her personality as she goes through life changes, while the underlying premise, 'What if you could see someone else's dreams,' evolves with new revelations from one book in the series to the next. DREAM STUDENT In a story reminiscent of Dorothy in the land of Oz and Alice in wonderland, here is a new heroine exploring the strange realm of her dreams, in a journey to find her inner power to solve them and finally, turn a corner. But this is no children story, or as she puts it, "Not in Kansas anymore": Sara is the chatty and slightly naive college student, living in the dorms. She refuses to talk about her nightmares, hoping they may eventually go away. Finding herself all of a sudden in a cheerleader's outfit, Sara realizes one thing, which is crazy and impossible--but all the same, true: "this is not her dream anymore." Somehow she has slipped into someone else's head, and she doesn't know how to get out of there. Unlike her own dreams, his persist, somehow, in her waking memory. Trapped in terror, she is utterly passive, the way we find ourselves helpless to escape while we dream. Luckily, at first he is oblivious to the fact that Sara is watching his sick fantasies. When she reads a newspaper report about the murder of the victim she saw in her sleep last night, Sara comes to realize that what she sees are premonitions of the next murder. Her visions are puzzling, and they compel her to put together the pieces of the puzzle in order to try and avert what she knows is about to happen. Will she succeed doing it in time? Will she put herself on the line, risking her own life? "He saw me. He knew I was there. He knew I was watching." The book alternates between two points of view: Sara's voice (in first person) and the description of her dream sequences (in third person.) Why are these sequences in third person, and italicized, to mark the difference in an even more pronounced way? Because, I think, these are out-of-body experiences, and we get to witness them not through Sara's voice but through the author's all-seeing eyes. James DiBenedetto presents us with a mental exersize, a riddle for us to solve, if only we suspend disbelief. DREAM DOCTOR The story opens with what should have been a crowning moment for Sara: walking to the podium to receive her degree. “She finds it harder with each step, until her ankle gives way and she tumbles to the floor, her cap falling off her head and rolling right under the stage.” This moment endears her to us, and makes her hesitation amidst all the chores and the confusing calls of life very accessible. The last thing Sara wants is her gift of penetrating the minds of others. “Sara is surprised, but only for an instant; then it becomes clear to her what’s going on. This has happened before; this is not her dream at all. She don’t cry, or scream; she simply closes her eyes and pleads — already knowing she will not be answered — “Please, God, not again!” I love the fact that from one book in the series to another, Sara is undergoing a change, both in the development of her professional career and in her personal life. At the beginning of this book, she starts out thinking about her upcoming wedding to Brian. “I’m not even nervous about the wedding itself. It’s pretty much all out of my hands anyway. It wasn’t as though I could do much planning while I was finishing up my last semester…” and by the end, she has just relayed the results of her pregnancy test to Brian. “He kisses me, and holds me even tighter. His cheeks are wet — he’s crying.” These events delineate the phase in her life, and the position of the book in the Dream series. As in the first book, Dream Student, the narration alternates between two points of view: Sara's voice (in first person) and the description of her dream sequences (in third person, and in italicized font.) These are out-of-body experiences, and we get to witness them not through Sara's voice but through the author's all-seeing eyes. James DiBenedetto presents us with a riddle for us to solve, and allows us to see his lovely Sara from outside, as well as inside her skin. DREAM CHILD This time, the twist of the entire Dream series on the “What if you could see someone else’s dreams” question has taken an extra new bend. It is, “What if your child could see your dreams, and the dreams of others? What if she has your power?” Here is the first time Sara realizes that her daughter, Lizzie, can see inside her: “She was seeing—she was inside—she saw me dreaming. She’s got it just like I do.” Being inside her is doubly frightening because at this point there is a new life inside Sara: she is pregnant again. So in a way, there is a sense of violation when boundaries can be crossed like that, even when the dreamer is only a four-year old, sweet child. On the other hand, there is the motherly wish to keep her daughter safe, which in this case may mean keeping her away from people whose dreams she might penetrate. Which is exactly what happens when Sara and Lizzy meet two strangers, a woman and her son Billy, on the train. Billy’s father is being blackmailed, which will put Billy and his mother in danger. The conversations are lovely, showing you a family scene between Sara, her mom, her husband Brian, her mother-in-law, Helen, and Lizzy. It is the dialog that wraps the entire mystery in a wholesome, familiar veil, and observations such as this, about Lizzie: “Then she occupies herself by trying to get both twins smiling at the same time, which is a trick none of us have managed yet.” . And, it is also the sense of inheritance of power, and the connection between generations: “I can’t believe that in all this time, for seven whole years, I never once wondered about my mother. If Lizzy got it from me, I had to get it from somewhere too. And I never gave it a thought.” Five stars.