For one reason or another, it seems as if I have read a lot of books lately that feature police officers or private investigators that also have supernatural powers. “The Dream Beings” by Aaron J. French is another of these books and I started it with the hope that it would rise above the rest.
Jack Evens has always had a special gift and is determined to use that gift to make the world a better place. To this end, he uses his psychic powers to help the police track down killers who seem to be otherwise uncatchable. Not everyone believed in his powers or agreed with their use so Jack always tried to remain in the background as more of a silent helper than an action hero. His ability to stay in the shadows disappeared the day that his name was written in a dead woman’s blood at the scene of a brutal murder.
There is a serial killer on the loose and Jack is in his sights. This is not ordinary killer. A group of monsters, dream beings, have attached themselves with the killer and want Jack’s psychic energy to power their nightmarish power. As the killer continues to leave victims in his wake along with messages to Jack, he has no choice but to take action to not only stop the killer but come to terms with his powers and his past in a way in which he never has before.
“The Dream Beings” starts off with a bang that immediately got me interested in the book. The reader knows very little but the pages are already soaked with blood and the name of the mysterious protagonist of the story. This is a great setup to the story and made me want to read as fast as I could. Of course, one of the problems that can arise from such a shocking start to the story is that the rest of the tale cannot live up to the beginning and leads to a letdown. This does happen to some extent in “The Dream Beings” as it does feel as if the best part of the story happens in the first couple pages and the story bogs down a little in the middle part (which is a little odd since the story is only around 100 pages long) but French keeps things moving along and gets back into the action as the conclusion approaches.
After the explosive beginning, the story did become a little bit too “by the book” for my tastes and it almost seemed as if French was going through the story and checking off boxes of what was expected. The middle of the book is filled with a little too much pontificating and not enough punching. As the ending approaches, the action does pick up but it just never seemed to be totally satisfying to me. After all the time spent with the characters sitting in a bar talking to each other, there was never any real character development and the climax of the story depends upon Jack’s past which is unclear and never really gets clarified. It was not that the ending was bad. It was just sort of incomplete. Jack’s character is strong in premise but this is never explored in the story which removes any emotional impact from the ending of the book. “The Dream Beings” is a good story with a great premise but it never lives up to its promise. I would be interested in reading more about Jack in the future but would hope that French would take the time to give us a real character rather than the very thin version that he sets up in this book. I would recommend the book for fans of the genre and hope for much more in the future from the author.
I would like to thank Samhain Publishing and NetGalley for this advance review copy. “The Dream Beings” is scheduled to be released in January.