Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


DREAM GIRL by Laura Lippman: Book Review

When novelist Gerry Andersen has a freak accident in his condo, his life changes dramatically.  And, this being a mystery novel, not in a good way.

Gerry achieved fame at an early age, perhaps earlier than he was ready for it.  All the good things that have happened to him, he believes, are due to his hard work and his talent.  All the not-so-good things, he believes with equal fervor, are due to other people–their demands, their unwillingness to accede to his demands or needs, their jealousy.

One positive thing about Gerry is his devotion to his mother.  The only child of an unhappy marriage, he was born and brought up in Baltimore but moved to New York City after achieving literary success.  His father left the family when he was a child; when his mother falls ill and is told she has only months to live, Gerry returns to Baltimore to be near her.  Not to his old house but to a new luxury building where he has a two-story penthouse.  And then, after her death, he remains there.

Actually, he is forced to remain in his condo because one evening he slid across the slippery living room floor, went directly into his (unused) rowing machine, and onto the condo’s floating staircase.  And now he’s immobilized for eight to twelve weeks, his leg in a “trapeze” over his bed.

He has hired two women to help him through his recovery–Aileen, a nurse’s aide who is in his condo from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m., going through his exercises with him, giving him dinner and his meds, and Victoria, the personal assistant who is helping him with his writing, more exercises, and non-medical needs during the day.

Gerry’s most successful novel was called Dream Girl, and it catapulted him to the top of the best-seller list.  He has spent years denying that Aubrey, the girl in that book, is based on an actual person, but now someone claiming to be Aubrey is contacting him.

It starts with a mysterious letter which he has seen once and cannot find again, nor can Aileen or Victoria.  It’s followed by a phone call in the middle of the night.   When he asks Aileen to check the caller ID and tell him who just called, she shows him the phone.  No one has called in hours.

Dream Girl is a look into one man’s psyche, his defense mechanisms, his insecurities, and his growing fear that, like his late mother, he may be hallucinating.  In his isolation, he’s forced to depend on Aileen and Victoria, and that becomes less and less comforting as the days go by.

Laura Lippman is an outstanding author, and the characters, plot, and setting in her latest novel prove once again that she is at the top of her game.  You can read more about her at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

Leave a Reply