Dreama A Little Death: Susan Kandel
Dreama Black is quirky, odd, outspoken and definitely impulsive yet loyal to those she feels are part of her group or groupies. She is cute, 28 and definitely hated being dumped by a rock god whose music and face is world-renowned. Imagine a song after you titled Dreama, Little Dreama making her name and her famous too. But, Dreama has her own business to run. She runs custom-designed, themed tours of her hometown L.A. Here is where the story gets wild and downright different. Miles McCoy hired her. He is a rap producer who creates a L.A. noir tour as a present for his soon bride to be. But, Dreamer winds up getting into the middle of more than she can handle when the bodies turn up and the guns start shooting in her direction. Meet Miles McCoy the reason for her wild and zany experience, as he wants her to work on the tour for his soon to be bride Maya.
Dreama is the ex-girlfriend of Luke Cutt the Grammy winning singing star making her appear to be a star too. Her role which changes from being hired to arrange a grand scale wedding celebration for his future wife, Maya Duran turns out to be anything but even before they walk down the aisle. A noir format style tour that will take guests through L.A’s most prestigious places and sites to make the tour more than memorable. Maya is on stage and suddenly everything stops as she is rushed to the hospital with what at first glance appears a self-inflicted bullet wound. Is it as the police surmised an attempt a committing suicide or is it what Dreama thinks something else? So, when the police search for the murder weapon who took it?
Dreama needs to coordinate this event so she meets up with Destiny and reminds her that her client is a huge fan of Big Fatty. Destiny seemed to be drifting off when talking to Dreama but there are hidden secrets that come out within this novel as she tries to create this custom tour of LA. Dreama is smart but at times she sneaks around where she does not belong and when she explores Miles’s home she finds a picture of Carmen Luz who he was carrying in his wallet that just happened to be in a place that she happened to be. She also did not know who would want to kill May and why? When she went to visit her to see how she was doing was her IV turned off? Most of all she was paid 40,000 dollars for the job and it is gone. Added in her Uncle Ray is somehow involved in this entire deal but how and why? Cat, her tattoo artist friend and her boyfriend Rory are just the tip of the iceberg as things start to spiral out of control for just about everyone. Maya/AKA Carmen we think is really one person or two? The check for 40,000 dollars appears on her doorstep and then goes missing but why? A detective in the force is out to get Dreama and blames her for everything that goes wrong. Her uncle Ray, a former police detective that was fired, has the exact 40,000 dollars promised as payment for her party planning services. Things go haywire as she tries to interview her uncle, learn more about Carmen and then some startling revelations come to light that not only change the complexion of what is happening but puts her in harms way too. But, let’s not forget her wild Grammy and self-absorbed mother whose antics add to the chaos every step of the way.
Miles uses Dreama to handle certain things and yet when she has to meet with him she has to go through several people that you might say are trying to keep her away like Mookie his assistant and his other main squeeze Pee Chee who is devious and definitely not to be trusted. Things take on many strange turns as each time Dreama tries to get a handle on what happened to Maya and then learns the truth about Carmen, her rape and who really attacked her and why she disappeared, lies, betrayals, secrets and more come out but not before Dreama realizes that she might be in way over her head this time. Filled with humor between Petal Collings and Dreama sort of bonding when going a shopping spree at Barneys after her mother and grandmother get escorted out. Learning more about her does not lead to what she learns about Pee Chee and her influence on Miles as he delivers some startling news about his relationship with Carmen but is it true? Thinking he raped Carmen the woman he really loved and still does not negate the fact that Fatty went to jail for the crime claiming he took the fall for Miles. But, the stories that are told are all different and the set up to frame someone has yet to be revealed. Each time Dreama finds herself getting closer to the answers she wants her car gets vandalized several times almost like trying to stop her in her own tracks but nothing will stop her from getting the answers as her Uncle Ray is in the thick of things, fired from his job hoping not to get back to jail again.
There are other players that come to light when solving what happened to Carmen and of course as Dreama puts the clues on her table she sums up what she has learned. The first is Miles, the second Carmen Luz and wherever she might be. Third is Fatty Sims of AKA Big Fatty: rapist, whereabouts unknown
Added in Maya Duran who seemed to have disappeared from the hospital and another person related to Miles but where is she now? What about Pee Chee Lowenstein? She was close to Lucas Ramsay who is out celebrating that he was acquitted of a crime that he supposedly did not commit. Uncle Ray her uncle suspended from the force because they said he was corrupt and inexplicably involved with the Lizbeth Pimental, former neighbor and now gone. Did Ray join her on the other side? Finally Charlie Chick Churchill another old friend of Carmen obsessed with Maya and wanting to destroy Miles. What about the 40,000 dollars Miles promised her? What about the second 40,000 and who keeps stealing it and why? Why would Miles and Pee Chee hand Lucas a get out of jail free card? Why didn’t Ray show up to testify against Lucas? When the ending and final reveals come to light you won’t believe the lies, betrayals, tricks and deceits when Miles learns the harsh realities that he never saw coming? What happens when he blacks out? What is he told that he believes? What happens when the truth is revealed and a dangerous killer or killers try to face off with Dreama and others? Will she stop what has been set in motion for a long time? Will she see the light? What about her boyfriend why does he fade away? Why doesn’t he respond when she wants to rekindle their relationship? An ending filled with surprises as author Susan Kandel creates characters that are quirky, sneaky, dangerous, deceitful and at times humorous as we learn just how Dreama was able to DREAM A LITTLE DEATH!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine