Thriller - novel
TBR reviewer: Cathy
On what feels like the worst day of her life, instead of getting an expected marriage proposal, Decker Jones is dumped by her boyfriend of three years. Her heartbreak is tempered with joy when she receives the news that after ten long years of trying to get noticed, top literary agent Lillian Cardone has agreed to represent her, moving her a giant leap forward towards the dream of becoming a bestselling author. Albert Crawford is a career bank robber who is planning to retire to live the good life in Mexico after pulling one last job. Things go horribly wrong when a bank guard is killed.
Three time loser Albert is arrested and sent to spend the rest of his life in prison. Two different people. Two different futures on a collision course. Neither can imagine what
the future holds.
I couldn't put this one down! It was a very well-crafted thriller. There are two story lines running parallel – it's obvious they are going to come together at some point, but you are kept riveted and guessing until the point at which they do. Even after the merge of the threads, you are still kept on the edge of your seat – there are no clues how the final scene might end – it could go either way.
Decker Jones (Decker?? Even one of the book characters thought this an odd name!) is a struggling author whose bad day, when her boyfriend unexpectedly dumps her, is made quite considerably better when she finds out her novel has been finally accepted by a publisher. Success at last. She can begin to realise her dreams.
Albert Crawford is an unbelievably ugly, violent bank robber whose last job is going to be the finale in his 'lucrative' career before winging his way to Mexico for the good life. He can begin to realise his dreams.
However….things go horribly wrong. His final destination is prison, not Mexico. He arrogantly believes this is but a minor obstacle and his Mexican dream is simply delayed not erased.
Decker is reaping the success of her two-book deal and continues to fulfil the dreams she had as a struggling writer. All the while, the paths of these two completely different people from completely different walks of life are getting closer and closer to crossing……do dreams turn into nightmares?
This was a superbly-written book and the characters brilliantly portrayed: Albert is intensely repulsive in looks, character and speech, his associates no less, all of them products of damaged childhoods and the consequences thereof. There is very little danger that you ever grow to like him or his friends – they are somewhat captivating, however; something about their strangeness, their vileness and depravity makes them compelling. Decker is the complete antithesis: it's very easy to admire and feel happy for the success of this gentle, hardworking young woman and with little flamboyance or showiness she quietly goes about building her dreams. I thought it was a nice touch to portray her as a dedicated and hopeful writer, many of whose characters and book plots resemble very much those with which she ultimately finds herself involved.
Dreams and Nightmares is an excellent and enthralling thriller.
"Okay, Crawford, time to go home," said the guard.
His voice brought Albert's head up. It was Buck. Albert swallowed his surprise. How in the hell did Buck manage to get hold of a guard's uniform? And where was Ruby? And where, for that matter, were the real guards? If Albert knew anything about Buck, those guards had departed for greener pastures. But Jesus, how? That was for later. Right now, Albert had to act the part of the prisoner being returned to serve his life sentence.
It wasn't hard. He didn't have to fake being in pain. He was, and just moving from the chair to the wheelchair made him want to puke.
"I need something for the pain," he told the nurse.
"Don't worry, the doctor has already notified the infirmary at the prison and you've got your Percodan waiting for you."
"But I want something now!” He knew he was whining but he didn't care.
"Now, now, Mr. Crawford. You've already got enough medication in your system. It won't take long to get you back to the infirmary and into bed. Then your doctor will take care of you.” She turned to Buck. “He really is fine. You don't have to worry. He's just experiencing some discomfort but he'll be okay once you get him on the gurney and in a resting position."
Buck tipped his head, the picture of respect. “Yes Ma'am. Thank you.” Then, turning to Albert he said, "Crawford, keep your mouth shut and sit still."
Albert shot him a look and did as he was told. Buck cuffed him to the chair.
"Is that really necessary?" the chatty nurse wanted to know.
"This man is a murderer, Ma'am, so yes, I'd say it's necessary."
Buck was convincing, Albert had to give him that.
"All right, Crawford, don't try any shit."
"Fuck you," Albert answered, figuring what the hell, might as well get into the spirit of things.
The nurse preceded them out of the room. A cop was sitting in the chair beside the door.
"Need an escort?" the cop asked.
"I'd appreciate it," Buck answered. He turned to the nurse. “Thank you, Ma'am, for all your help. We'll take it from here."
She smiled back at him, a little flirtation with the devil, although she had no idea that was what it was.
Albert was amazed at the ease with which Buck schmoozed with the cop as they strolled the hallway and got on the elevator. If he hadn't turned to a life of crime, Buck would have made a helluva used car salesman or even a lawyer, Albert thought as he listened to the two men talk. Better yet, an actor. Hell, even Albert was starting to believe Buck was the real deal.
They got down to the back entrance where Albert had been delivered into the hospital. The prison ambulance stood waiting, back doors closed.
"I thought you guys traveled in twos," the cop said.
"Yeah," Buck answered. “We do. My partner's in the truck.”