Dream a Little Scream by Mary Kennedy, A Dream Club Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, 292 pages, paperback, $7.99 US.

As a psychologist, I spend much of my time listening to my clients talk about their dreams. I always find this part of the session the most fascinating. Sometimes (well, many times!) my clients surprise me.

A client who appeared shy and reticent confided that she was a Broadway star in her dreams. “Really?” I asked. “What was that like for you?”

Flushing with pleasure she admitted that she loved being in the spotlight, that her social anxiety had vanished and she was thrilled by the applause. We chuckled together at her playing a singer in Dream Girls and we theorized about why she had this particular dream at this time in her life. As it turned out, she was facing a stressful situation. As a newly engaged young lady, her fiancé planned to take her clear across the country to meet his large, extended family. There would be dozens of relatives—plus his parents, of course—to meet her for the very first time. She’d been dreading the big family celebration and felt (quite incorrectly) that she would be judged harshly.

So we explored the idea that this particular dream had given her the chance to “rehearse” being the center of attention. The situation her mind created—starring in a Broadway show—was much bigger than anything she would encounter in real life. But our minds do that when we sleep. They shift through all the story possibilities and come up with something that is often more “over the top” than the real life situation the dreamer is facing.

She was so dazzled by her “Broadway show dream” that she wished she would have it again. I noticed she appeared more relaxed and outgoing than usual. When I asked her if she still felt the same trepidation about meeting her finance’s family, she smiled and said, “Well, I guess there’s  always the possibility they will like me.”  The story ended happily. Her visit went amazingly well, she had no anxiety and made a hit with her in-laws.

In any case, it’s fun to explore our dreams and what they really mean, as the characters in the Dream Club do. The members like to think that they are uncovering clues to solving murders in Savannah and they seem to have had some success. They combine intuition with solid sleuthing skills and some dream work. But do clues from their dreams really solve crimes? Is it luck, or coincidence or a combination of the two?  I leave it to the reader to decide.

About the Author:

Mary Kennedy is the author of over forty novels and has made the BookScan, Barnes and Noble and Publisher’s Weekly best-seller list. She is a psychologist in private practice on the East Coast and lives with her husband and eight neurotic cats. Both husband and cats have resisted all her attempts to psychoanalyze them, but she remains optimistic. You can visit her at www.marykennedy.net