Monday, June 22, 2009

Deadly Dreams by Victor Banis

Reviewed by Robert Buck

Victor J. Banis is a prolific writer as well as one of the most versatile and entertaining writers today. In recent years he has given us such gems as Longhorns, Angel Land, as well as the recent Deadly Series of mysteries. Deadly Dreams is the third installment in the series of mystery novels featuring the duo of Stanley Korski and Tom Danzel. In many ways it is the most satisfying book yet of the series. For those who may not be familiar with the series, the two met in the first book, Deadly Nightshade, when the openly gay San Francisco police officer Stanley Korski was teamed with the 'straight' Tom Danzel to solve a series of crimes involving gays.

In Deadly Dreams we find Tom has retired as a San Francisco Police Department detective and he and Stanley have become partners in a private investigation agency. They have also become partners in another way as they are now living together even though Tom is still loathe to openly admit the relationship. Following a prologue that ties the whole book together, Deadly Dreams begins with the death of Stanley's father. Stanley is forced to take a closer look at his past only to discover that things he had always considered to be fact, were not fact at all. His discovery of a family member Stanley never knew existed, takes him on a dark and twisted journey through his childhood in order to unravel not only a past mystery but also a present day mystery. Stanley discovers that little, if anything, from his past was as he had thought it was when growing up. And through this labyrinth of discovery, Tom is right there beside Stanley, protecting him.

Deadly Dreams however should be classified more as a thriller than a mystery as the reader is aware from the first of the book just who the killer is. This does not detract in any way from the book however as there are plenty of tense moments. Banis masterfully keeps the reader on the edge of the seat in this page-turner and even though we may know 'whodunnit' from the start, there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns along the way. But as good as the mysteries are in this series of books, the ever changing relationship between Tom and Stanley is what especially keeps readers coming back for more. Reading Deadly Dreams, one is reminded not only what a wicked wit Banis possesses, as well as what a master of wordplay Banis can be, but one is also reminded just what an urbane writer Victor Banis is in his cultural references, such as the references to the 16th century Italian painter Agnolo Bronzino. Without giving away too many secrets, romance lovers will be highly satisfied with Deadly Dreams, though the destination is not arrived at without some scrapes and bruises to the relationship.

The Deadly series of mysteries started off really good, and each subsequent book has gotten better, so if you like edge-or-the-seat psychological thrillers, or you are a fan of romance, this book should not be missed. And if you are a fan of both you will find Deadly Dreams to be doubly good.

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