Dream Killer: My Review
Dreams do not often come true for kids that come from poor or impoverished communities. Some never get to go to summer camp where others wind up playing in the streets and having to fend off bullets or drug dealers in their communities. But, this book will take kids inside a camp that will give them the opportunity to soar in many ways. Farming, swimming, canoeing and many other outdoor activities are just some of what the counselors and head of the camp provide for these youngsters. Quake Jenson’s outreach legacy was to help these children and give them a positive start in life. Killing in an act of violence his family willed their farm to become Camp Dream Catcher a name that is very fitting. Veronica Townsend is the spearhead, CEO and much more of this camp and will spend endless funds and long hours to make sure that the camp open on time. But, overextending her budget, spending more than is necessary and hiring too many people more than needed hoping that everything is in its proper place. Meeting Ashley her assistant who is taking time off from her job in Omaha to oversee the camp’s day-to-day operation by becoming the camp’s co-director. Missy Sykes is Veronica’s bookkeeper and admired by Veronica, is a single young girl living in Queens who seems quite alone. Missy is dependable and wants to do everything to help Veronica in order to assist her in an attempt to keep the camp that awards these children free scholarships open. These are children whose parents cannot afford to pay the fee and these scholarships mean a lot to each of them. Things do not run smoothly after we meet many of the other counselors in this novel as Tyler Reed is one hot lifeguard who attended a party with several other members of the staff, went off alone and was shot and killed. But, why has yet to be revealed as Veronica carefully and methodically interviews and interrogates her entire staff and anyone that attended the party working together with the police. Veronica is a well-known sports agent and this is a sports camp. When Ashley suggests that she delay the camp’s opening Veronica refuses to do so and forges ahead. Will she close down the camp even though some think she should?
Ava and Emma Stilson had a party that got out of control. Neither girl is plugged in with a light bulb with too much wattage. Self-centered and not understanding the ramifications of a murder in their cellar, they give their statements but cannot understand why their trip is being delayed. Stephanie is Vanderclaven did something in her sorority that she would not like revealed. Her relationship with Nikki and Rachel was not quite what it seemed. Sharon P. is 73 years old and befriended Missy hoping to draw her out and not keep herself away from traveling and a young baseball player named Pete. One man that cleaned up the area and the pond, someone that saw the real killer and another who was afraid to come forward.
Meeting the director of the camp we learn more about Reggie Morgan and his career in baseball as well as his upcoming book tour we learn that he is devoted to the camp and that his agent is going to have to rework his schedule in order to accommodate his needs and not interfere with the camp. But, there are many different players n this novel as the author introduces many reporters and numerous agents who have their own agendas in mind. Reggie is the co=director and a former African American Major League ball star who will devote everything to help Veronica keep the camp open. Learning about his past explains why helping these inner-city kids are paramount to him.
When Missy informs Veronica who is giving a tour of the camp about the agent that is handling the book tour for Reggie interesting information comes to light about he mother and an article written by the reporter that just interviewed her which brings to light a hidden list of names that unfortunately she is on. When Veronica is cross she will stop at nothing. The story then goes back to the Stilson twins the party and Tyler Reed whose murder has yet to be thoroughly investigated by Sheriff Rocky who has given Veronica the go ahead to being the interviews. With the help of her assistant Missy she finds out things about many of her employees the reporters and agents that come to see the camp and hopefully will uncover who shot Tyler as she thinks it has to be a staff member knowing that he was killed not far from the camp and at the party. But, who and why has not been revealed and the many that attended the party like Stephanie, Ave and Eva whose house it was in and Rachel who was head over heals about Tyler, had different takes on his personality. Rich spoiled and always in trouble with a father who managed to bail or pay his way out, Tyler was the one lifeguard that interacted with the kids when the others just did their two hours and went off to socialize.
As you get to know Spencer Reed you realize that his money has paid to get Tyler out of trouble, paying off judges, dog fitting and even trying to close down the camp and blame Veronica. He was not a supporter of his son but seemed embarrassed by him. Information from Reggie’s agent enlightens Veronica as the to the lengths that Spencer Reed will go to in order to supposedly avenge his son’s death. With his pull in the media and police department you wonder just what his real motives are and whether he knows more than he is letting on.
The author recaps information about Quake, the camp and how it started and those in charge quite often in order to remind readers of the importance of these events and how these characters are involved. Hearing each staff member like Nikki, Stephanie and Rachel talk about Tyler you realize that he meant something different to each one yet he never seemed interested in any of them. Added Tyler accidentally shot a cow in the AG center angering the man who runs it. Some think it might be him or his son that his gay who he is estranged from. The plot thickens are the reader tries to figure out who killed Tyler and why?
The ESPN reporter presents Veronica with some documents that changes the playing field but when she approaches the person stated in those documents he comes back at her with more. Secrets, lies, betrayals, sexual abuse, gay issues and family discord are just some of what is brought out in this novel. But, Veronica is relentless and when the pieces finally add up and she speaks with a young girl named Lexi who befriended another named Olivia she becomes enlightened. Just who pulled the trigger and why you will have to learn for yourself. What is going to happen now since the camp is in financial straits? Counselors and campers have not signed up and the last two sessions might not happen? Will Quake’s dream be just a vision and not a reality? Sometimes people do things in order to prevent harm from others as you listen to the person that pulled the trigger you the reader will have to decide whether he/she is guilty or just preventing more of what caused this person to decide to take the life of the lifeguard rather than reporting his actions and his crimes. Is father thinks he’s immune to the law? Veronica has a secret she wants hidden? Who will win and who will lose and will the Dream Killer chase away the success of Camp Dream? Children need to be protected and laws need to stricter for molesters. Parents need to be more aware of their children’s behaviors as one young girl finally admitted what Tyler did and then pieces fit together.
Veronica Townsend has some soul searching to do before her camp can become a true reality. Financing was needed a new donor is it possible and will Veronica ever listen to her co-director and take her advice about making the cuts needed and how to make it run financially better? Will the killer go to jail? Will some extenuating circumstances come into play? When you read the startling ending you decide if justice was accurately served. Many different voices in this novel and numerous story lines to keep the reader trying to figure out which counselor, camper or someone else decided to kill Tyler Reed. Interesting characters that do not always interact well together and one woman who runs the camp that seems to lord over them at times and needs to listen to others when suggestions are made. What is next for Camp Dream and Veronica? Only the author knows for sure!
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/MJ Magazine