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REVIEW: Dream Man by Linda Howard

Dear Ms. Howard:

I know that you won’t be reading this letter as you are not an onliner, but let me tell you about my love for Dream Man. To some, this is a terrible book filled with a terrible betrayal by the hero. To me, it shows the extent I will overlook things when I fall in love with a story.

Dream Man by Linda HowardMarlee Keen is a psychic. She can see the thoughts of people around her. The emotional unstable are unusually strong projectors and because of this Marlie could see crimes as they were being committed. After a terrible ordeal in which Marlee was kidnapped and she was forced to watch while a madman violated a young child, Marlee’s psychic ability left her. Marlee found this to be a blessing. She moved to Orlando and began to build for herself “something safe and solid.” She bought herself a nice little house. Got a job at the bank and lived without feeling anyone else’s emotions but her own.

As she is driving home from the movie theater, she begins to have visions of a grisly murder being committed. She is barely able to make it home before she blacks out.

Dane Hollister is a detective with the Orlando police. He has a gut instinct for crimes and is very successful at closing cases. One look at a new crime scene and he recognizes that this isn’t an ordinary crime. Upon arrival at the police station, he finds his superior officer talking with Marlie Keen. Marlie felt it important to report to the police her visions even though it tore her apart. Dane is immediately suspicious and sets out to discredit her only to find himself a believer.

Marlie has enormous strength of character to not only overcome her past trauma but to put herself up for ridicule and suspicion by reporting her vision. She also learns to overcome her ability and that she can live a somewhat normal life, even with her special abilities. Marlie’s strength in herself is never more evident that in the end when Dane betrays her trust.

Dane. What can I say about him other than he talks like a man, walks like a man, and acts like a man. He constantly has a woody around Marlie, even when he doesn’t like her. There is a great scene between his partner and Trammell right after Dane meets Marlie and accuses her of being in cahoots with the killer.

Trammell was right behind him as they walked back to their desks. “What the hell’s the matter with you?” he muttered to Dane’s back.

“Whaddaya mean? You think I should have pretended to believe her?”

“No, I mean you had a hard-on the size of a goddamn nightstick, and you were standing so close, you were about to poke her in the belly with it,” Trammell snapped.

Dane turned and glared at his partner, but he couldn’t think of any excuse to give. He didn’t know what had happened, only that from the minute she had turned those dark blue eyes on him, he’d had a boner so hard a cat couldn’t scratch it. He was still twitching. “Hell, I don’t know,” he finally said.

What I really loved about this book even more than Dane and Marlie was the exquisite detail paid to detective work. Trammell and Dane spent time interviewing witnesses, going through garbage, and alot of other investigative work. It was fascinating to read. And it was scary.

The serial killer stalks his prey and then waits inside their house for them to come home. I remember reading this for the first time at night. I asked Ned if he was going to stay up and read because I thought the book sounded scary and didn’t want to be the only one awake to confront the serial killer in my closet when I was done reading. He promised he would stay awake and vanquish any serial killer in the closet but alas, he didn’t. He fell asleep about 10 minutes later but I couldn’t stop reading. At the end, I was still scared and had to get up and look in my closet. Thankfully no serial killer. But I admit that even today, I still think about those scenes.

And the betrayal? Well, Marlie forgave him and she was a strong woman who knew her own mind so I figured I couldn’t hold it against Dane either.

I am thankful for romances that provide thrills, the scary ones, along with the passionate ones.

Best regards,

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

28 Comments

  1. Josie
    Nov 14, 2006 @ 17:22:29

    This book really scared the cr@p out of me. My hubby works nights occasionally and stupidly I chose one of these evenings to start reading this… I had to leave a light on to go to sleep that night!
    In saying that, this is still one of my favourite books by Howard, probably because I did have such a strong reaction to it. I don’t really remember the betrayal being bad enough for me to dislike Dane… But I could have been too afraid at that stage to take note of it!

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  2. Bam
    Nov 14, 2006 @ 17:55:38

    What can I say about him other than he talks like a man, walks like a man, and acts like a man

    Oh, you are so right, my friend. Though heroes who are ultra-alpha annoy me sometimes, I just totally dug Dane. Linda Howard’s heroes are practically cavemen, yet they’re all so sexy. See also: Gray Rouillard of “After The Night”

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  3. Tara Marie
    Nov 14, 2006 @ 19:00:18

    I LOVE THIS BOOK, but then I’m a fangirl–LOL. It’s one of the books that sits on my nightstand for a kick pick me up, when all else fails and I’m desperate for something to read.

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  4. Angie
    Nov 14, 2006 @ 19:25:26

    This book is probably on my top ten of most re-read books. It’s just…*sigh* I love it. I don’t see flaws, I just see Dane and Marlie and I totally admit to adoring how freaking alpha he is.

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  5. Jayne
    Nov 14, 2006 @ 21:10:00

    Love ya Jane but I really, really hated this book. Dream Man is the book which ended any plans I had to read any more Linda Howard books. Dane should have been called Det. Hard-on and after the way he treated Marlie, I wish she’d kicked in him in it. The only part of this book I remotely enjoyed was the banter between Hard-on and his partner and that wasn’t enough to carry it for me. LH is another author I just don’t “get.”

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  6. Jane
    Nov 14, 2006 @ 21:20:49

    Jayne, who did you think I was writing the intro paragraph for? LOL.

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  7. Robin
    Nov 14, 2006 @ 22:28:12

    Oh thank god I’m not the only one who dislikes this book. And for me it’s not Dane’s “betrayal”; it’s the way poor Marlie is practically bullied into transforming from traumatized victim of sexual and physical abuse to super-charged sex kitten. I don’t know whether to blame Howard or Dane for that, but one scene in particular, where he “rams” into her from behind, really pushed this book beyond the pale for me. As with Anne Stuart’s heroes, Howard’s heroes seem to tread so close to the bossy-bully line that they can easily jump to the other side in a matter of pages. Interesting how everyone has their differnt opinions about where each one stands, though.

    Strangely, perhaps, I love both Shades of Twilight and After The Night, at least one of which is pretty widely reviled. Now You See Her is another favorite, as is To Die For. Overall, I think Howard is at her strongest when she’s doing the Southern gothic thing. I can’t wait for Drop Dead Gorgeous.

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  8. Keishon
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 00:33:55

    HATED this book, Hated it, hated it, hated it. FFFFFFFFF, F!!!! I couldn’t stand the hero, the romance was meh, the suspense was good, tho. I’ve enjoyed other Linda Howard books but this one sucked big time. Let’s see, I enjoyed After the Night, Kill and Tell, Cry No More and Now You See Her. Heh.

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  9. Meljean
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 01:13:22

    I love this book. Linda Howard doesn’t always work for me, but in this case, she really did.

    And Marlie, for some reason, always reminds me of a psychic Mary from MACKENZIE’S MOUNTAIN — which is odd, because I don’t remember Marlie being quite as strong as Mary. Did they both have translucent skin? Maybe that’s it. For a while, I thought many LH heroines were clones.

    Anyway, I didn’t love Dane (the part where he’s watching baseball annoyed me — not because of the baseball, but it just seemed to represent how he’d come in and taken over) but there was a lot more about this one that I did really like: the love scenes, the suspense, Marlie and her vulnerabilities, and Dane, though he was at times a first class asshole, was a good match for Marlie, so it sold me on the romance.

    And I really liked Trammell — and I’d always wished that he’d have his own book. Alas.

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  10. Meljean
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 01:30:27

    because I don’t remember Marlie being quite as strong as Mary.

    Actually, I should restate this. Mary didn’t have as many shields erected around herself as Marlie. I see Marlie as a strong figure, but not in any outward way — whereas Mary is constantly putting herself out there.

    And perhaps this is why Dane’s sexual aggression doesn’t bother me as much as it might have with any other character. In that, it reminds me of Christina Dodd’s A WELL PLEASURED LADY, and Mary Fairchild, who’d also gherected emotional shields — and the hero uses sex to get past them. (And it’s another book that readers either seem to hate or love.) In both cases, it worked for me as well — but I can easily see where it crosses a line for some. I know I’ve read several books that have tried the same thing, but ended up being flung across the room because it wasn’t done just right.

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  11. Samantha
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 03:41:18

    Wow, this sounds like a really intriguing book – I’ll have to put it on my list. It sounds similar to something I read a couple years ago, except that books focus was more on the paranormal mystery aspect rather than romance. Anyway, nice site :).
    Samantha.

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  12. Robin
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 09:23:01

    In that, it reminds me of Christina Dodd’s A WELL PLEASURED LADY, and Mary Fairchild, who’d also gherected emotional shields — and the hero uses sex to get past them. (And it’s another book that readers either seem to hate or love.)

    I definitely prefer Dream Man to AWPL, which just plain ticked me off. I at least felt that Howard (and Dane) had some sensitivity for the suffering and emotional protectiveness that Marlie felt. But the forced seduction in the Dodd book felt like a joke to me, and a badly executed one, at that. Mary struggles and fights and appears to be quite shaken by what happens to her, and then not many pages later she’s vamping it up for the hero. Blech. I don’t think every book in which sex is used as a sort of weapon against the heroine (even if it’s for her ultimate good) needs to be as perfectly or seriously executed as (IMO) Gaffney’s To Have and To Hold, but I’m not into it so much when the goal seems only to be the titillation of the reader (a la Thea Devine and later Bertrice Small) or envelope pushing merely for the sake of the push, both of which I ultimately felt it was in the Dodd book. If I had felt that Mary was more in on it that first time, I think my reaction to the rest of the book would have been way different.

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  13. Rosie
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 10:43:52

    Wow! I had no idea this book generated this sort of strong emotion. I really liked this book and it is probably one of my most re-read LH books. My other favs are DIAMOND BAY, the first LH I read, and SHADES OF TWILIGHT.

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  14. La Karibane
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 10:54:27

    I’m a LH fan too (and don’t get me started on that online absence thing….) and LOVED Det. Hard-on, in part exactly for that, I admit ;)

    All these A reviews are going to my head, I NEED MORE BOOK!!!! LOL

    Seriously, a bit of LH news, for the fans : I wrote to Harlequin recently and LH’s Nocturne title “Raintree: Inferno” is coming out in May, 2007.

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  15. Maili
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 11:22:39

    I was a LH fan for years, but this one Dream Man is not one of my favourites. Mostly because I can’t stand Marlie. All I could remember about this book is her sleeping, crying, and I-shall-be-strong-and-say-nothing-until-I-collapse. I actually don’t remember much about Dane as I think Marlie overshadows him in this one.

    I also frequently confuse Dream Man with her other book, Now You See Her, which is not a good thing, I think. Anyway, yeah, that is all I could remember about Dream Man is Marlie’s tears, ‘oh-I’m-so-vulnerable’ factor, and pseudo-narcolepsy. So, no, I’m not a fan of this book.

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  16. Maili
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 11:25:36

    P.S. I think I have just figured out why I’m not so keen on Marlie: she is almost always miserable, which makes me miserable. It’s a depressing story, I think. The kind that you sort of expect her to slash her wrists to put herself out of misery. Maybe my memory is off kilter but that is how it seems to me.

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  17. Robin
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 12:13:37

    My other favs are DIAMOND BAY

    OMG, how could I have forgotten Diamond Bay?! Kell Sabin is BY FAR my favorite Howard hero, and Rachel is one of my favorite heroines. I also enjoyed Midnight Rainbow, despite the ridiculously impractical chased-through-the-jungle sex. Hated hated hated Heartbreaker, though. Talk about a depressing book.

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  18. Karen Scott
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 15:29:18

    I love, love, luuuurve!

    ’nuff said!

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  19. Zeek
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 16:17:20

    Back then, LH could do no wrong in my eyes. Where as this one I liked a lot, it’s not on the top of my LH favs list- and I’ve read them ALL! (Det. Hard On! LMAO! How true is that AND I agree with you on walking and talking like a man- if Dane isn’t the closest hero to my bf in THAT department, I’d miss my guess.)

    Diamond Bay! NOW we’re talking. LOVED Kell Sabin!

    Oh and thanks for the new release news La Karibane, this IS a new release right???

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  20. Angie
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 16:28:05

    I’m a LH fan too (and don’t get me started on that online absence thing-.) and LOVED Det. Hard-on, in part exactly for that, I admit

    Me too, lolol. I know people talk about that scene and how wrong it was, but it never occurred to me that there was anything bad about it until someone else pointed it out. I. Don’t. Care. ;)

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  21. Angelle Trieste
    Nov 15, 2006 @ 20:05:54

    I loved this book. Dane is HOT!

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  22. reader che
    Nov 16, 2006 @ 00:09:29

    Man I loved that book! One of my LH faves. I thought Dane was indeed a Dream Man, he of the perpetual hard on, but my fave LH cop has to be Sam Malone from Mr. Perfect. I’d do him in a heartbeat.

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  23. cathy
    Nov 17, 2006 @ 20:46:53

    Dream Man is a personal favorite of mine, and I have it on my keeper shelf.

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  24. Courtney
    Apr 06, 2007 @ 18:01:06

    I LOVED Dream Man. For those here that say they hated the book b/c of certain scenes, stop. I hate knit-pickers that want to trash an entire book and maybe stop someone else from enjoying it just b/c you didn’t. Dane is an ALPHA MAN. That doesn’t mean that he sits around and does nothing or simper when things go wrong. He’s suppose to take charge and sweep his woman away.

    If you don’t like that type of character then keep it to yourself b/c someone else may want to read about a man like that (lord knows they don’t exist in real life) and go read a cookbook.

    P.S.
    Anyone that didn’t like Dream Man, then don’t read any other L.H. books, b/c they all feature alpha men.

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  25. Jayne
    Apr 07, 2007 @ 06:03:52

    Courtney, we welcome opposing viewpoints but we prefer polite ones. If I don’t like a book, I’m gonna say why and the reason I hate it might be the reason another person hates it as well.

    PS. Don’t worry. I LOATHED Dream Man (and not just because of the hero) so I’ve never picked up another LH book because readers with more tact than you advised me not to.

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  26. Edie
    Jul 16, 2008 @ 10:03:46

    I don’t like reading much, but Dream Man sucked me in and I read the whole thing in a day. I wish they would make it into a movie! I think it would attrack so much attention. It’s so well written and so full of suspense I’v actually read it three times now and I can’t get enough of it.

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  27. Katrina
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 16:45:01

    Most of us like an ‘Alpha Male’, and the reason we do is because they are so protective of their partner. That is why I think the betrayal at the last section of ‘Dream Man’ was so badly done. I found myself wishing she had have chosen the prison cell over going to his house. It would have played out much better if it had have been Marlie’s plan to tip off the press and catch the perp, and Dane would have been furious and protective, which would have fit the character much better. The book up to this point was pretty good. But unfortunately that part completely lost me. It went from unbelievable to ridiculous with the epilogue, that was just so stupid.

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  28. Jenna
    May 25, 2012 @ 18:33:56

    One of my favorite books and my unforgettable hero and heroine. A very good read.

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