2016/06/25 by rmstrong1980
Tortured Dreams by Hadena James
$0.00 at time of publishing
Tortured Dreams is the first novel in the Dreams and Reality Series by Hadena James.
The book, and series, follows the exploits of Dr. Aislinn Cain, a sociopath with a Ph.D. in the Middle Ages (with an emphasis on European torture of the time period) and with the worst luck when it comes to serial killers. They are attracted to her like flies to… Well, you know. She even has a fan club in the Maximum Security prison where her own brother is incarcerated.
After being released from the hospital after an attack in her home, where she was forced to kill her attacker, Aislinn is met by two representatives of the US Marshals. The two are part of an elite task force that hunts down serial killers, and they have one that has been eluding them for months. The bizarre nature of the killings–drawing and quartering, impalement, and thrust into iron maidens–made the Marshals seek out the only expert in torture in the States.
Now, Aislinn–who has already survived two attacks by serial killers in the past and is currently being stalked by another–is flown home to Kansas City, Missouri and then to Chicago in order to help the Marshals find the serial killer before he strikes again.
Tortured Dreams is fairly well-written, though some proofreading and copy editing is needed in places–homonym errors, typographical issues, errors in cliche’d phrases, etc. Not quite enough to detract from the story, but another round with the fine-toothed comb wouldn’t be bad. The eBook is well-formatted and free from a lot of the formatting errors normally found in ebooks.
The story itself was interesting and the characters believable, for the most part. Aislinn is quite comfortable with her sociopath label, and the team members she works with are as well. She knows she is “broken” and doesn’t apologize for her lack of empathy. However, there are a few inconsistencies I found within the story.
While she does seem to lack a bit of a self-preservation instinct at times (jumping into Lake Michigan in November after a fleeing suspect), it is made abundantly clear that she is able to take care of herself if attacked (she killed a her first serial killer when he abducted her when she was 8 years old). She doesn’t make friends easily (she only has two at the beginning of the book), but seems to easily trust her new co-workers. These don’t, however, detract from the story and seeing an evolution in the narrator helps us non-sociopaths get into her head a little better.
The only jarring bit of the story is the profanity. There are only a couple instances of swearing (less than 10, I would say, throughout the entire book); and where it is present, it seems natural in its context. However, when one factors in that we are reading about ex-military and a group of “broken” individuals hunting someone who can tie a woman’s four limbs to four different animals, and watch as the animals literally tear her limb from limb… The swearing still seems forced and placed in the story simply for shock value.
All in all, Tortured Dreams is a good read, and I highly recommend it. Ms. James has done a wonderful job developing these characters for future adventures (there are 11 books in the Dreams and Reality Series).