Synopsis of "Dream Man" by Linda Howard

by Mary Barton

"Dream Man," by New York Times best-selling author Linda Howard, is categorized as romantic suspense, but it is much more than that. "Dream Man" delves into perfect mates, paranormal abilities, sadistic serial killers and tough cops. Howard, the author of such notable classics as "Drop Dead Gorgeous," "To Die For" and "All the Queen's Men," delivers a spellbinder with "Dream Man."


Empath Marlie Keen resides in her new Orlando, Florida home, living the quiet existence of a bank employee, trying to leave a traumatic past behind her. When her previous clairvoyant powers unexpectedly return, she is horrified to be the recipient of a serial killer's recent murder. The story begins when she does her duty, despite possible ridicule and suspicion, and reports the information she psychically received to the authorities.


A successful homicide detective, Dane Hollister, believes she is crazy, or the murderer herself, from the in-depth details she relates about the female victims and crime scenes. His physical attraction to Marlie obstructs but does not deter his conviction that she is involved in the murders. He castigates and attempts to discredit her at every opportunity. Her vehemence at her veracity and fear of his cynical attitude interferes with the budding relationship.


When Dane investigates Marlie, he learns that she was once kidnapped and beaten by a child murderer, and lost her psychic abilities six years prior. Her records indicate she was involved with case after case of helping authorities uncover and convict criminals through her psychic abilities. They visit crime scenes together to uncover the identity of the mass murderer. The serial killer stalks his victims, learning all of their habits, then at the first opportunity hides in their homes and cruelly attacks the women when they return.


Hollister and Keen fall in love, but he ultimately betrays her and nearly destroys their relationship. He alerts the media that she is involved in the murder case, thus revealing the killer's vulnerability, encouraging him to focus on Marlie as his next victim. Once set up, Dane stays with Marlie to protect her and potentially capture the criminal. Marlie learns her own strength and belief in herself and her abilities, despite what others may think. The book is filled with extensive detective procedures that place the reader at the scenes and in the thick of the action. Marlie and Dane eventually reconcile and live happily ever after.

About the Author

Based in the Pacific Northwest, Mary Barton has been writing professionally since 1990. She has written two nonfiction books, worked as the product manager for a publishing company, an editor for two newspapers and was the content manager for various Microsoft websites. Barton has a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Texas at El Paso.