4 out of 4 stars
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Wolf River Dreams by Patrick Sarver is an intense mystery novel that features the paranormal with elements of romance. The narrative introduces readers to a troubled character whose hauntingly eerie visions and chilling nightmares take a toll on his life as he wrestles with the mental anguish, guilt, and grief eating him inside.
While driving his girlfriend home from their date, Jesse and Christine are involved in a fatal car crash, which claims Christine’s life. Jesse is shocked by this new reality and is left reeling with the pain of loss. He is soon overwhelmed by grief as his dreams are plagued by recurrent nightmares of the night his girlfriend died. To cope, he sets out on a year-long road trip with no real destination in mind. Upon his return home, he works on getting his life back together, even though he is still haunted and broken by the devastation the crash caused. Whilst attempting to piece his life together, Jesse’s old friend, Lenny, introduces him to an ambitious news reporter, who is new to their town, with a keen interest in unsolved mysteries from twenty years ago. Although initially unwilling to help with the cases, Jesse eventually comes around to assist the reporter with some of her investigations. Despite finding new distractions and gaining a sense of normalcy in his day-to-day life, the continuous torment of his increasingly disturbing nightmares and visions threaten Jesse’s mental stability by night. Will Jesse be able to overcome his struggles, or will the ghosts from his past, strange visions, and nightmares be his downfall? Additionally, will all the cold cases of his small town finally be solved?
In this novel, Sarver offers a finely constructed work of fiction. I appreciate how well-written and balanced the multiple genres in the story are and how the mash-up worked in complementing the overall storyline. The main character’s narration of his thoughts and feelings gives an intimate deep-dive into his state of mind. The beauty of this is that despite the enchanting paranormal aspects of the story, most of the character’s emotions and struggles are relatable.
The author’s remarkable use of description in depicting the main character’s ominous visions and dreams—which often left the character and I feeling a shared sense of dread and, at times, puzzlement of their true meaning—impressed me. I liked Jesse and his complexities as a character, and I especially enjoyed his dark sense of humor and cynicism. I also appreciated the well-drawn and distinct set of supporting characters whose personalities and interactions with the main character made things more interesting. Furthermore, the relationship development, dialogues, and interactions between the characters were all believable.
As the narrative progressed, I liked that it quickly gained an air of mystery and intensity that gripped my attention all the way to the end. The fact that there were more than one mystery to solve kept me actively engaged in drawing suspects and motives from the clues presented. I loved that as the narrative drew to a conclusion, the rise in suspense and build of tension had me on the edge of my seat expecting the worst but hoping for the best.
All in all, the author skillfully weaved a thrilling and memorable read, which I’m happy to rate 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this novel to anyone looking for a captivating read with interesting twists and turns. Fans of whodunits who have a taste for the paranormal experience will definitely enjoy sinking their teeth into Wolf River Dreams as well. I will mention that although the book appeared to be professionally edited, I did find minor errors that were overlooked. But the errors were few and didn’t detract from my overall experience with this novel.
Wolf River Dreams
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