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Dream Eyes by Jayne Ann Krentz


Book: Dream Eyesby Jayne Ann Krentz

Publisher: Putnam Books

Furnished by: Putnam, via a Shelf Awareness giveaway

Publisher’s Description: The death of her friend and mentor, Evelyn Ballinger, brings psychic counselor Gwen Frazier back to the small town of Wilby, Oregon, and brings back memories she would rather forget. Two years earlier, a killer stalked the members of one of Ballinger’s research studies including Gwen. And though she survived while two others didn’t, Gwen knows that Ballinger’s death is related.

Sent by a friend to help Gwen, psychic investigator Judson Coppersmith arrives in Wilby barely in control of his own talent and his own life, haunted by urgent dreams. His attraction to Gwen is primal, but there are secrets he must keep to protect himself from surrendering to her completely, even as their investigation draws them into dreamscapes, into decades of deception, and into the paranormal fires of a desire too strong to resist…

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Review: Dream Eyes is the story of Gwen Frazier and Judson Coppersmith — two talented people with psychic abilities, trying to fit in to an otherwise ordinary world. The two meet through shared friends and odd paranormal situations, but find that these more obvious things aren’t the most important thing that they have in common. Gwen is struggling to put together the slowly unraveling mystery of the recent death of friend and mentor Evelyn Ballinger. Judson is failing to deal with the haunting nightmares that won’t let him move on from one of the most traumatic events of his life. Both of them are alone and afraid not to be because of their own struggles with their powers. Dream Eyes is a story of murder, mystery and turning tragedy into triumph.

Dream Eyes is book number two in Jayne Ann Krentz’s Dark Legacy series. I didn’t get to read the first book in the series, but I didn’t find that to be a problem here. As with many books in the supernatural fiction genre, the author ties things from the previous book(s) together nicely with the present and adds enough conversation among characters or inner monologue to fill in the gaps for readers like myself who have come in to the series later on.

Krentz, to me, is the personality of a writer personified. Her imagery is delicious — perfectly described scenes with just the right amount of detail. Enough to let you paint a perfect picture in your mind, but not so much that you get bored and put down your paint brush. However, the dialogue in her book is stilted. At times, it makes a light conversation between characters seem stiff and uncomfortable. Krentz is great at communicating with the mind, but not with the mouth.

This anomaly creates for a rather awkward ending. Krentz makes the final showdown between heroes and anti-heroes a boring and almost uncomfortable scene instead of the action-packed climax and denouement that it should be. Her final scenes are built on a foundation of dialogue and only peppered with imagery for decoration — a structure that works soundly in film and, especially with Krentz’s lack of conversational skills, falls flat in literature. Had she used more of her sound story-telling devices and illustrated a scene of struggle and triumph, this scene could have set hearts racing and created excitement for the next novel in the series.

Other than that downfall, the book flowed fairly smoothly. From small-town Wilby, Oregon to the underwater caves of the Carribbean to Gwen’s psychically created foggy dreamscapes, Krentz continued to paint beautiful scenes for exciting events. (There’s also a house cat in the book named Max. Any book that has a cat as a character gets bonus points.) This was also billed as a romance book (not my usual scene) but the romantic scenes were not what I expected — they were short and tasteful and not the focus of the book. So this book is great for people who wouldn’t normally expose them to the romance genre but enjoy supernatural fiction.