Mysterious Press, $25.00, 296 pages, ISBN 978-0-8021-2067-0
Have you ever had a premonition that came true? A dream perhaps, so lifelike and real that you could almost swear it actually happened? Maybe . . . you’re one of the millions of us who did inhale, way back there in college . . . or even one who tried some of the harder stuff: coke, LSD, magic mushrooms (as peyote was once called), or some of the newer synthesized drugs: Angel Dust (PCP), a methamphetamine based synthetic that produces euphoric and hallucinatory effects in those who’ve ingested it.
If you’ve answered any of those hypothetical questions with a ‘yes,’ then you’ve been in touch with your inner, subconscious self. That’s the part of our brain we’re not aware of, but which influences our thoughts and actions. It’s the subject of this week’s Mysterious Book Report in a great new thriller by a double Edgar award winning author who’s an absolute master of the craft as well as a personal favorite author of mine.
A Killer In The Wind, by Andrew Klavan is hard-boiled crime fiction about a cop who was undercover at the NYPD in the sex-crimes unit when he had a drug-induced breakdown — and “put five rounds” into a cornered and vicious torture killer of pre-teen children. He’s fired from his NYPD job, even as his fellow officers are congratulating him for doing the righteous thing when he pulled the trigger. Now, its three years later and Dan Champion has work in an upstate New York police department with less stress and less crime . . . until a barely alive, badly beaten and nearly nude woman washes up along the Hudson River. She’s rushed to the hospital and starts to recover. But when Champion sees her, he realizes, or thinks he realizes that she’s the very same woman he’s been dreaming about for three years . . . a woman he met under a drug-induced illness and hallucinatory dream. A woman who apparently does not exist, who disappears from the hospital after one night and puts Dan Champion on a quest to discover who she is, or if she really exists at all. When he returns home however, he’s greeted by two skeleton-thin assassins sent to kill him, setting off a tense, tightly plotted psychological thriller in which Champion will be pitted against assassins, rogue police officers and a sinister fat woman who has no face. Klavan is an adept practitioner and master of character development. The folks who populate his work are so lifelike and so real you’ll recognize most of them and swear you used to live next door to one or two of them. Put it on your summer reading list and have a blast.