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"With this tip of the hat to Stephen King''s Misery, Dream Girl is funny and suspenseful, with a dread-worthy final twist." —People

“My dream novel. I devoured this in three days. The sharpest, clearest-eyed take on our #MeToo reckoning yet. Plus: enthralling." —Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Dare Me and The Fever

Following up on her acclaimed and wildly successful New York Times bestseller Lady in the Lake, Laura Lippman returns with a dark, complex tale of psychological suspense with echoes of Misery involving a novelist, incapacitated by injury, who is plagued by mysterious phone calls.

In the end, has anyone really led a blameless life?

Injured in a freak fall, novelist Gerry Andersen is confined to a hospital bed in his glamorous high-rise apartment, dependent on two women he barely knows: his incurious young assistant, and a dull, slow-witted night nurse.

Then late one night, the phone rings. The caller claims to be the “real” Aubrey, the alluring title character from his most successful novel, Dream Girl. But there is no real Aubrey. She’s a figment born of a writer’s imagination, despite what many believe or claim to know. Could the cryptic caller be one of his three ex-wives playing a vindictive trick after all these years? Or is she Margot, an ex-girlfriend who keeps trying to insinuate her way back into Gerry’s life?

And why does no one believe that the call even happened?

Isolated from the world, drowsy from medication, Gerry slips between reality and a dreamlike state in which he is haunted by his own past: his faithless father, his devoted mother; the women who loved him, the women he loved.

And now here is Aubrey, threatening to visit him, suggesting that she is owed something. Is the threat real or is it a sign of dementia? Which scenario would he prefer? Gerry has never been so alone, so confused – and so terrified.

Chilling and compulsively readable, touching on timely issues that include power, agency, appropriation, and creation, Dream Girl is a superb blend of psychological suspense and horror that reveals the mind and soul of a writer.

Review

"It’s modern noir with a strong hint of Stephen King’s Misery. I absolutely loved her earlier novel Sunburn. Her writing is very slick and intelligent noir." -- Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"With this tip of the hat to Stephen King''s Misery, Dream Girl is funny and suspenseful, with a dread-worthy final twist." -- People

"Lippman’s sharp and timely thriller is a fast read, one that will surely please her many longtime devotees as well as attract new and enthusiastic fans." -- USA Today

“The gifted Ms. Lippman, in this tale of a talented cad who more or less gets what he deserves, shifts between passages hard-boiled and satirical. Dream Girl offers a healthy dose of suspense and wittily skewers literary life.” -- Wall Street Journal

"Laura Lippman is one of the best novelists working today, period. Seeing her name on the cover of a book is a guarantee of a highly satisfying reading experience...Laura Lippman is a major writer. If you don’t know her, there’s 25 books waiting for you." -- Chicago Tribune

"Socially conscious (the #MeToo movement makes a decisive entrance into the plot) and packed with humor, ghosts and narrative turns of the screw, Lippman’s Dream Girl is indeed a dream of a novel for suspense lovers and fans of literary satire alike." -- Washington Post

"Positively humming with the vibrancy of a slew of crime-fiction authors during a high-energy drinking session, Dream Girl shimmers with suspense, surprises, wry humor, and an ever-present stream of appreciations for the pleasures, frustrations, and oddities inherent in the life of a writer." -- Boston Globe

"A nicely shivery homage to Stephen King’s Misery with an atmosphere all its own." -- Seattle Times

“My dream novel. I devoured this in three days. The sharpest, clearest-eyed take on our #MeToo reckoning yet. Plus: enthralling." -- Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Dare Me and The Fever

“Dream Girl the ideal cutting-edge, socially-conscious entertainment for late summer. . . . Packed with social criticism, satire, ghosts and narrative turns of the screw, Lippman''s  Dream Girl is indeed a dream of a novel.” -- Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“High tension fuels Dream Girl while vividly illustrating the humiliation of being confined to a bed, having every bodily need tended by another... Edgar winner Lippman, who has won every mystery award, envelops witty dialogue, a complicated character and a complex plot in Dream Girl.” -- The Sun-Sentinel

"Perceptive, often amusing insights into a writer’s mind make this a standout. Lippman is in top form for this enticingly witty, multilayered guessing game." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Lippman never stops twisting the plot into a deliciously intricate pretzel, right up to the jaw-dropping finale. This is both a beguiling look at the mysteries of authorship and a powerful #MeToo novel, but that''s only the tip of a devilishly jagged iceberg..." -- Booklist (starred review)

"Lippman ( Lady in the Lake) nods at Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock in this hair-raising tale, but makes it wholly hers and completely riveting. She conveys the horror of being housebound and reliant on strangers, as well as the fear of losing one’s mind. It’s a page-turning, plot-twisting masterpiece." -- Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author

Since Laura Lippman''s debut in 1997, she has been recognized as a distinctive voice in mystery fiction and named one of the "essential" crime writers of the last 100 years. Her books have won most of the major awards in her field and been translated into more than twenty languages. She lives in Baltimore and New Orleans with her daughter.

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3.8 out of 53.8 out of 5
936 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

DAR
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not Like the Others
Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2021
I usually gobble up her books and then I’m sad when they end. Like a hot fudge sundae or tub of movie popcorn. This book was more like a pile of raw vegetables with no dip, nothing to wash it down and completely lacking flavor. I noticed I was halfway through and nothing... See more
I usually gobble up her books and then I’m sad when they end. Like a hot fudge sundae or tub of movie popcorn. This book was more like a pile of raw vegetables with no dip, nothing to wash it down and completely lacking flavor. I noticed I was halfway through and nothing had happened. Then when something finally happened it was not shocking or thrilling or even interesting. I almost requested a refund but figured I might as well skim it and then just read the last chapter. And that was as uneventful and boring as the rest of the book. I hope she gets back to form with her next book.
39 people found this helpful
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CW
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Boring and predictable
Reviewed in the United States on June 27, 2021
Very disappointed because I usually love this author''s books, but this one was terrible. The first half was super boring and the main character just drones on and on about how virtuous and righteous he is. Within the first paragraph of the second part you could totally... See more
Very disappointed because I usually love this author''s books, but this one was terrible. The first half was super boring and the main character just drones on and on about how virtuous and righteous he is. Within the first paragraph of the second part you could totally extrapolate how the rest of the book would go. The ending was ridiculous. The one highlight was a cameo by Tess Monaghan. That''s it.
28 people found this helpful
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C
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A solid suspense story, builds slowly
Reviewed in the United States on June 22, 2021
This mystery novel revolves around the life of Gerry Anderson, a 61 year old successful fiction writer, and the people in his past. The book has two parts, with a total of 55 chapters, and the story is told with the chapters jumping back and forth in time. The plot... See more
This mystery novel revolves around the life of Gerry Anderson, a 61 year old successful fiction writer, and the people in his past. The book has two parts, with a total of 55 chapters, and the story is told with the chapters jumping back and forth in time. The plot develops slowly, as we get to learn more about Gerry and his past. When the mysterious person claiming to be the inspiration for the character in his novel contacts him, Gerry has try to figure out what is really happening...

This was a fun, suspenseful book that was able to keep my attention; even though I felt like the pacing was pretty slow. It takes a while for the plot to develop, but the author keeps it interesting by playing with Gerry''s internal dialogue, which helps you identify with him and draws you into the story. Later in the story, I was able to see a bit of influence from some other books that I won''t mention, because I don''t want to spoil the plot. The ending seemed maybe a little rushed after so much build up, but still a satisfying enough conclusion. I also appreciated how the ending seemed appropriate given certain comments that characters made earlier in the story, in a sort of meta-critique.

Overall, this was a solid suspense/horror story. I didn''t really mind the slower pace or the fact that certain elements of the plot seemed very similar to another book, as I think that Lippman did enough to make this a unique twist. I enjoyed her ability to take the reader into the mind of her character, and I will probably check out her other books in the future.
10 people found this helpful
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Lynda Jones
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointed
Reviewed in the United States on June 26, 2021
Very unrealistic. Tess would have taken the case. She would have, at least, investigated the employees. I was disappointed. Maybe it is my fault.
14 people found this helpful
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Doc 51
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing.
Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2021
Not the author’s best work. It’s hard to root for a narcissist. The story had great potential but never reached it. Author has a horrible fall and once bedridden, begins to be terrified of threatening or imaginary phone calls. That part was interesting but listening to... See more
Not the author’s best work. It’s hard to root for a narcissist. The story had great potential but never reached it.
Author has a horrible fall and once bedridden, begins to be terrified of threatening or imaginary phone calls. That part was interesting but listening to the author ramble on about his life was not.
Read Misery instead of this book!
11 people found this helpful
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Laurel-Rain Snow
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A TWISTED TALE OF MIND GAMES...
Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2021
In the end, has anyone really led a blameless life? Injured in a freak fall, novelist Gerry Andersen is confined to a hospital bed in his glamorous high-rise apartment, dependent on two women he barely knows: his incurious young assistant, and a dull,... See more
In the end, has anyone really led a blameless life?

Injured in a freak fall, novelist Gerry Andersen is confined to a hospital bed in his glamorous high-rise apartment, dependent on two women he barely knows: his incurious young assistant, and a dull, slow-witted night nurse.

Then late one night, the phone rings. The caller claims to be the “real” Aubrey, the alluring title character from his most successful novel, Dream Girl. But there is no real Aubrey. She’s a figment born of a writer’s imagination, despite what many believe or claim to know. Could the cryptic caller be one of his three ex-wives playing a vindictive trick after all these years? Or is she Margot, an ex-girlfriend who keeps trying to insinuate her way back into Gerry’s life?

And why does no one believe that the call even happened?

Isolated from the world, drowsy from medication, Gerry slips between reality and a dreamlike state in which he is haunted by his own past: his faithless father, his devoted mother; the women who loved him, the women he loved.

And now here is Aubrey, threatening to visit him, suggesting that she is owed something. Is the threat real or is it a sign of dementia? Which scenario would he prefer? Gerry has never been so alone, so confused—and so terrified.

Chilling and compulsively readable, touching on timely issues that include power, agency, appropriation, and creation, Dream Girl is a superb blend of psychological suspense and horror that reveals the mind and soul of a writer.

My Thoughts:

From the very beginning of Dream Girl, I was caught up in the mind of Gerry Anderson, an author whose memories take him back and forth in time.

As he lies in his bed, cared for by two strange women who are passing for nurses, it doesn’t take long for me to feel the intensity of what is bound to come in this situation.

The letters and strange phone calls that may or not be happening lead us on a slow and torturous journey toward a horrifying end.

Even as I worried about how things would unfold, I didn’t imagine how dark things would become. I rooted for Gerry, even though he was not the kind of protagonist one might cheer for. A surprising twist at the end stunned me, even as I knew that I should have seen it coming. 4.5 stars.
4 people found this helpful
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Tom R.
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not Worth Reading
Reviewed in the United States on August 14, 2021
I purchased this book for my wife after she saw it in one of her magazines giving it good reviews there but she just finished it and said that the magazine was wrong this book was not worth reading. She almost always has to finish a book once she starts one so she trudged... See more
I purchased this book for my wife after she saw it in one of her magazines giving it good reviews there but she just finished it and said that the magazine was wrong this book was not worth reading. She almost always has to finish a book once she starts one so she trudged through this one but told me to not recommend it to anyone. I have not plans of reading this book, this type of writing just does not appeal to me so I will take her word for it. Apparently the ending really sealed the deal with her saying not to recommend it.

I know this review is a bit vague about the book itself but my wife reads at least 3 books a month so she has plenty of experience with this genre.
5 people found this helpful
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Susan Vrabel-Williams
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
She''s Done It Again!
Reviewed in the United States on July 17, 2021
This is a fascinating book. I raced through it in less than a day. I like that the central character, Gerry, is my age, along with references to songs, books and movies that I''m sooo familiar with! I was delighted by the brief appearance of Tess Monaghan. I also quite... See more
This is a fascinating book. I raced through it in less than a day. I like that the central character, Gerry, is my age, along with references to songs, books and movies that I''m sooo familiar with! I was delighted by the brief appearance of Tess Monaghan.
I also quite enjoyed the format that Ms. Lippman uses; going back and forth to different time periods, which completely raises the suspense and the horror. It also answers every question in ones mind.
The ending was a total shock, but that''s the point of Ms. Lippmans novels, the "hook" at the end.
3 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Graham G Grant
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
‘She realised she finally had some empathy for Gerry Andersen’
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2021
This is a novel about a novelist, and to some extent about writing itself. The protagonist is Gerry Andersen, perhaps an amalgam of some famous male writers such as Mailer or Roth. If he’s not a womaniser, he’s fairly close to it. He’s rich and successful, and living in an...See more
This is a novel about a novelist, and to some extent about writing itself. The protagonist is Gerry Andersen, perhaps an amalgam of some famous male writers such as Mailer or Roth. If he’s not a womaniser, he’s fairly close to it. He’s rich and successful, and living in an expensive if soulless penthouse in his native Baltimore. After an accident, he’s laid up in a hospital bed in the apartment. He has an assistant and a nurse on whom he becomes entirely dependent. The story of his long recovery is interwoven with flashbacks to a troubled childhood: Gerry’s dad left, and Gerry and his mother, who suffered from dementia and has recently died, had to fend for themselves. There are also flashbacks to Gerry’s many failed relationships and sexual encounters. At least one of these is rendered in slightly too much detail for some tastes… The pivotal event is the discovery of a dead body in Gerry’s apartment. The death is unexplained. Gerry, heavily drugged, realises he must have been responsible, but he has no recollection of the woman’s death (she’s an old flame and accomplished gold-digger). It’s fast and slick, but Gerry’s not the most appealing character… wronged, certainly, but ultimately I found it more or less impossible, to care about him. The book is richly allusive, containing many references to pop culture - mainly old books, songs, and films - which may be its strongest point. The flashbacks are jumbled, jumping around in time. The central events are implausible - and the denouement is a bit daft, and perhaps slightly rushed. This is Lippman’s first foray into horror, she explains in an afterword, and the debt to Stephen King’s Misery, which is acknowledged, is clear, though it’s more psychological suspense. The villain of the piece here is unconvincing (though she might well bore you to death). Dream Girl put me more in mind of Dennis Potter’s classic TV drama, The Singing Detective, but it’s a lot less interesting. Lippman’s Sunburn is far stronger than Dream Girl which is a little self-indulgent, featuring a main character it’s hard to care about, and a villain it’s tough to fear …
One person found this helpful
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mrs nicola s kempton
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Not like her other books
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2021
I am still not sure what to think - I have read most of the author’s work, and I found this sort of gripping but ultimately disappointing. Her departure into a slightly different genre I think is unsuccessful
2 people found this helpful
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Alvin Newman
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Vintage Lippman
Reviewed in Canada on July 28, 2021
A fine Lippman mystery but a bit reminiscent of King’s “Misery”. As an ex-Baltimrean I was nistalgic for her hometown.
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