2016/07/09 by rmstrong1980
Elysium Dreams by Hadena James
$0.00 at time of of review
Elysium Dreams is the second in the Dreams & Reality Series by Hadena James. For my review of the first in the series, Tortured Dreams, just click here.
After returning the day before from an assignment to capture a serial killer, Dr. Aislinn Cain and her fellow US Marshals are sent to Anchorage, Alaska, where over 30 women have been skinned alive in under four months. He leaves the women hanging in a tree like a skinned moose or deer, and fashions the likeness of a hunter’s bow and arrow out of the still-warm flesh. The killer always seems one step ahead of the investigation and the Marshals and FBI in Anchorage need a fresh set of eyes to catch the killer.
Aislinn, who earned her Ph.D. in Midieval History, is a bit out of her depth, as there is no historical bent to these crimes, but she is useful to the team nonetheless. If nothing else, she is a magnet for serial killers and everyone, including Aislinn herself, knows that, sooner or later, the killer will have her in his sights.
We get to see another side of Aislinn in this book, and her continuing struggle with her sociopathy. Having jumped from one case immediately into another, she has not had the down time with her cousin-and-best-friend she requires to keep her from becoming, in her own words, a “monster.”
The story takes place about six months after the end of the first book, Tortured Dreams. Elysium Dreams, unlike some books in a series, picks up immediately where the characters left off at the end of the first book. There is very little background information given to help readers who have not read the first in the series catch up with the characters (such as explaining relationships between side characters, or even who Nyleena and Malachi–Aislinn’s only friends outside of work–may be).
The eBook formatting on Elysium Dreams is worse than Ms. James’ first book in the series Tortured Dreams. There are problems with the indenting on paragraphs (either too much or none at all), and there are places where punctuation and other grammatical issues come into play, making the reader pause. The title, also, seems to point to a stretch (at best) and a lack of historical research (at worse). The characters are talking about ancient hunters amid the case files and Aislinn mentions that Elysium–the ancient Greek version of Heaven–is for hunters… Which is not entirely accurate to the mythology (and something a character with a doctorate in history–even Midieval history–would have known).
Elysium Dreams is a little less believable as a contemporary than the first book in the series, Tortured Dreams, simply because of the numbers involved–over 30 women die in less than 4 months before the US Marshals team is brought in. That being said, the killer’s chosen method to evade detection is ingenious and it is 100% believable as an evasion tactic. The reader is introduced to the killer in the first handful of chapters (while it is pretty common in the genre, it was not used in the first book). The killer’s slip into insanity, in my opinion, was a little over-done, but it made for a few nail-biting moments at the end of the book.
All in all, though, Elysium Dreams is a fun, enjoyable read and a great sequel to Tortured Dreams.