Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Dream Queen-Betsy Thornton

The Dream Queen
Betsy Thornton
Minotaur, Aug 3 2010, $25.99
ISBN: 9780312602055

In Topanga Canyon, California, Chloe Newcombe sat with her brother James as he was dying from AIDS. James’ lover Hal also performed the same vigil. Once James passed on, Chloe moves from Topanga Canyon to Manhattan to start over. In New York, she begins seeing a cop while working for a private investigator; but her new boyfriend has a bad alcoholic dependency problem that proved too much for Chloe to cope with so she left the Big Apple for Arizona where her other sibling lives.

Her other brother Danny meets her at the airport. He has a tendency to help troubled people. Thus his current companion is a beautiful lunatic Kristi. The trio travels to his home in Dudley, but make a stop for car repairs. The two females wait nearby, but Danny vanishes. The local cops are indifferent to their plight and that of Danny. The women reach Dudley and move into the home Hal has there that he offered them to use. Soon after they settle down, Kristi disappears. Chloe investigates only to find betrayal seems to be the ticket everyone she knows uses against her.

Chloe in her return to the desert town of Dudley (see A Song for You and Dead for the Winter) is superb as she tries to keep calm while her world seems to be imploding from duplicity. As she tries to learn the truth behind the disappearances, she uncovers homicides and dishonesty from those she trusts. Although the story line is very thin, Chloe’s reactions to her discoveries of male perfidy makes for an enjoyable character driven (by the beleaguered heroine) desert mystery.

Harriet Klausner

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