Dreamcatcher by Dinah McCall
(Harper, $5.50, PG-13) ISBN: 0-06-108325-9
*****
Dreamcatcher is one of the most unusual and satisfying time travels/paranormals I've read in a long time. Dinah McCall, who is really award-winning author Sharon Sala, has combined a truly contemporary theme with the right touch of American Indian mystical beauty.

Detective Jefferson Dupree's instincts are humming after his close encounter with Congressman David Potter's elusively beautiful wife, Amanda. Barely saving her from a disastrous fall, Dupree is puzzled when he learns that Amanda is being treated for injuries he knows she couldn't have received from her fall and he is determined to uncover the real reasons for her wounds. Dupree is warned away from meddling by his boss, but his desire to know the truth as well as his growing attraction to Amanda keeps him doggedly pursuing

Amanda married suave, BMOC David Potter while still in college, not recognizing his intense devotion was actually a fanatical desire for control and domination. Although she longs to escape her guilded prison and her sadistic jailer, Amanda fears more for the safety of those who would help her than herself. Past experience has taught her that she can't outrun David's long arm and any who have tried to come to her aid have been unexplainably silenced.

Facing what seems to be a life-long sentence, Amanda's world is turned upside down when she purchases a 150 year-old American Indian artifact called a Dreamcatcher. Suddenly, she finds herself caught in a dream world where reality and fantasy seem to merge into the persona of a caring, warm, and giving lover who makes her feel alive and whole again.

This book grabs you straight from the beginning and just doesn't let go. There's all the elements of a mainstream glitz novel (sex, murder, scandal, and passion) combined with an exceptional story of love that reaches across time.

But what kept this book on the top on my list was that all the players have real depth. For me, the true test of a "keeper" is how the author makes me feel with and about her characters. I felt Amanda's anguish and fear whenever she was confronted by David and her euphoria at being able to escape into the arms of her dream lover. I felt loathing and disgust for David's depraved nature and brutal personality. I felt Dupree's frustrations at wanting to free Amanda, yet not being able to get close enough to try, and his panic when he discovers that she is missing and thought to be dead.

Ms. McCall has approached a very sensitive subject from a unique perspective. Some readers, when given a choice for recreational reading, would rather keep the seamier side of life confined to the TV screen and newspapers and concentrate on the more positive aspects of life. But I've always been a fan of the "underdog/good-guy-triumphs-in-the-end" movies and books that provide me with a gratifying sense of victory when the final credits role or the last page in turned. If you're that type too, then this is definitely a book to buy and read.

Dinah McCall's newest book is Jackson Rule. In her true incarnation, writing as Sharon Sala, her books include Chance McCall and the Gambler's Daughters Trilogy, Diamond, Queen, and Lucky.

--Susan Bontley


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