David J. Schow, Author . Subterranean $40 (140p) ISBN 978-1-931081-81-8

A scientific experiment to link participants through dreams gives way to a sensitive exploration of the emotional barriers that keep people apart in Schow's first novel in more than a decade. Events center on the sleep research laboratory of Dr. Helen Gold, who has carefully culled her pool of applicants for three promising guinea pigs: Melinda, a nondescript bookstore clerk; Jovanna, a sleekly sculpted fashion model; and Gilbert, a jaded pop journalist. They seem to have nothing in common, other than their ability to dream in similar brainwave patterns that produce a unified pattern of "dream sounds." But a moment of unexpected intimacy between Melinda and Gilbert suddenly exposes a daisy chain of desire that binds all three and sets off uncanny experiences outside the clinic, including simultaneously experienced episodes of physical and psychological malaise and dovetailing identity crises. The farfetched explanation for these puzzling expressions of interconnectedness leads back to Dr. Gold's bizarre objectives, which requires some prolonged exposition to ferret out. However, this in no way detracts from Schow's sharply etched studies of three very different modern characters whose personalities have been tempered by thwarted emotional needs and whose quest for fulfillment opens doorways to mysterious possibilities. Their vulnerability softens the cynicism of his usual hard-boiled approach, and the result is a moving, offbeat dark fantasy that rises above the usual genre fare. (Aug. 4)

FYI:Schow's last novel, The Shaft (1990), was published in the U.K. but never released in the U.S.

Reviewed on: 07/21/2003
Release date: 07/01/2003
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