cover image Killer Dreams

Killer Dreams

Iris Johansen, . . Bantam, $26 (339pp) ISBN 978-0-553-80344-0

Bestseller Johansen (On the Run ), in her latest thriller full of heavy-breathing romance, turns to mind-control of the Manchurian candidate variety, a state induced by the chemical REM-4 and mysterious sleep-manipulation methods guaranteed to turn regular folk into killer zombies. It promises to be a lucrative technology, as one of the heroes in the novel predicts: "Mind control is just too tempting not to attract the scumbags of the world." The head scumbag is Robert Sanborne of Sanborne Pharmaceuticals, whose goal is to perfect the REM-4 program so he can sell it to the world's evildoers. The heroine, Sophie Dunston, a leading sleep researcher and the original inventor of REM-4, falls hard for Matt Royd, a former zombie who has come to his senses and is trying to kill Sanborne. Royd and Sophie, forced by circumstances to be allies, begin by hating each other and then—no surprise—fall wildly in lust and love. Johansen offers nothing new, but her many fans will overlook a rather improbable premise and be happy with a familiar cast of characters (many from the author's other novels), familiar situations and familiar outcomes. (June)