Stars: 4 / 5
Tell Me Your Dreams is a 1998 novel by Sydney Sheldon. It is a murder mystery and also involves two of the most powerful psychiatric and mental disorders. It was chilling to read for me, but here is my take on it.
The plot is written as three books in the same collection. Book One sets the stage of the crime and criminals. Book Two gives us the courtroom drama leading us to the reason behind the murders. Book Three gives a conclusion to the killings.
Book One opens with detailed descriptions and activities of three women who work Global Computer Graphics Company in Cupertino, CA. First up is Ashley Patterson, daughter of the famous Cardiologist Dr. Steven Patterson - Father of Mini Heart Surgery - and in late twenties. Ashley fears that someone was following her but she could not put a finger on whom. She was seeing her supervisor Shane Miller socially to which her father opposes just like all the guys she was interested in starting from the first guy - Jim Cleary, a football player in high school. And Dennis Tibble, another co-worker has serious obsession with her.
Second up is twenty-two year old Toni Prescott, born and brought up London but moved to Cupertino for the sake of this job. A bit on the wild side, enjoying the night-life and an excellent singer that impressed a hit Broadway director enough to offer her a show. For some reason she declines the offer. Her favorite pastime is to talk snidely about Ashley with one of her friends at the company. Her other pastime was to chat on internet where she meets Jean-Claude Parent from Quebec.
Third up is twenty year old Alette Peters who also works in the same company and a very plain and shy girl but with a huge talent at creating beautiful paintings. She meets Richard Melton at one of the museums and gets instantly attracted to him. However she comes with a serious case of mood swings and keeps hearing negative thoughts in her mind, The only confidant she has is Toni Prescott.
One weekend Ashley goes to her high school reunion in Bedford, PA and finds out that Jim Cleary had been murdered - stabbed to death with knife and castrated - the day after their graduation - the very day when Ashley had been waiting at train station to run away with him. Shocked she returns back to Cupertino, CA. The following Friday she goes to Dennis Tibble's apartment - a ruse that Dennis sets up - and wakes up in a cheap motel in Chicago. After taking help from her father she reaches Cupertino, CA that Sunday. However the following morning she hears news that Dennis Tibble was murdered - stabbed to death and castrated, same as Jim Cleary. Who has killed Dennis Tibble? She was sure now that he was the one following her and something terrible happened to her the two days she was in Chicago without knowing a thing about it? How did she go to Chicago? Who killed Jim Cleary?
When Global Computer decides to go to the convention in Quebec, Ashley, Toni ad Alette get selected to be part of the 15-member team. Toni meets up with Jean-Claude there and spends considerable time with him But one morning Jean-Claude is found murdered - stabbed to death and castrated. Another murder with similar MO. And Toni falls under suspicion since she was the last person to see Jean-Claude. Who killed Jean-Claude? Was Toni involved in any way? After coming back from Quebec, Alette meets up with Richard Melton again. Although she has a good time, she turns down his invitation to spend a night cap. And the following morning Richard is found murdered - stabbed to death and castrated. Who murdered Richard Melton and why?
When the detectives start pooling their resources from all four locations, the common factor they zero-in on is Ashley Patterson who had visited all four places. However she had passed the polygraph. Was Ashley behind these killings? But why would Ashley want to kill them? But then someone was trying to kill Ashley too. When she called the cops the Deputy in charge of Dennis Tibble's case gives her protection by staying for that night at her apartment before a security detail could be assigned. The next day the Deputy is found murdered - stabbed to death and castrated. Who would have killed the Deputy? Was someone after Ashley and killed the deputy instead? What is going on with all these killings?
Book One concludes with Sherriff Dowling finding key piece of evidence that ties all three case and leads to the arrest of Ashley Patteerson. The plot continues in Book Two where Corporate Attorney David Singer is introduced (former Criminal Defense Attorney) and Dr. Steven Patterson enlists him to defend his daughter. David refers Ashley's case to Dr. Royce Salem - a psychiatrist who often helps in defense cases. The trial of Ashley Patterson continues trying to find who did it and why? Who is framing Ashley? The plot continues into Book Three showing the aftermath Ashley faces once the trail ended where Ashley meets Dr. Otto Lewison and Dr. Gilbert Keller who try to help her deal with the aftermath.
Who really killed all these people? Will Ashley get the right justice and right help? What is the reason behind all these crazy killings? A well written plot that certainly sends chills up your skin, making you cringe at the raw depiction of one of the most heinous of crimes anyone could commit. Yet the entire chapters of prosecutor and defense attorneys having a string of experts who either believed or did not believe in these complex psychiatric diseases, were very tiring to read. It could have been cut short to make it a little easier to read about the trial.
A very powerful concept, diseases and crimes brought to light with this plot. Not a book to read it lightly, definitely will fill all those empty pockets of time with some heavy stuff.