Review: Dream Girl by Laura Lippman

Title: Dream Girl by Laura Lippman
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


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.


Dream Girl by Laura Lippman is a fascinating mystery with an intriguing premise.

Sixty-one-year-old novelist Gerry Andersen is injured and confined to bed after an accidental fall. Instead of going to a rehab clinic, he returns home, hires a night nurse and relies on his assistant during the day. Gerry is in a bit of a prescription drug fog so he now has the perfect excuse for not working on his next novel. But when he begins receiving odd phone calls at night from someone claiming to be Aubrey, the heroine from his most famous novel, Gerry begins to feel like he is losing his mind. And then there’s the dead body he sees upon waking one morning…

With so much free time on his hands, Gerry has plenty of time to think back over his life. He laments over some of his decisions and he reflects back on his childhood. Gerry is regretful about a few of choices and wishes he had done other things differently. He is dismayed when his former girlfriend, Margot, shows up but he manages to send her on her way. After she is gone, Gerry wonders what secret she thinks she knows about him but he quickly dismisses her from his thoughts. But she eventually becomes someone Gerry finds someone impossible to forget.

Dream Girl is a quirky mystery that weaves back and forth in time. Gerry is quite a character whose inner musings are politically incorrect and display a lack of self-awareness. The storyline meanders for a while, but around the halfway point, the pacing picks up. With stunning twists and sly turns, Laura Lippman brings this suspenseful mystery to a shocking conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Dream Girl, Laura Lippman, Mystery, Rated B, Review, William Morrow

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