In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Sourcebooks Landmark. Aug. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781728229881. $26.99. THRILLER
DEBUT College friendships and affiliations can mold and shape a person; so can a family’s unrealistic expectations in this debut thriller by Winstead. Protagonist Jessica Miller feels the pull of her friends and her family as she plans a triumphant return to Duquette University for her 10-year reunion. Jessica did quite well for herself at Duquette (though her father wanted her to go to Harvard) and found a group of friends known as “the East House Seven.” The group splintered 10 years ago when one of their own, Heather, was killed and Jack, another of the East House Seven, was accused of her murder. Though Jack wasn’t convicted, his life was ruined. Now, 10 years later, Jessica, long obsessed with being No. 1 and perfect, wants to show her former friends how great her life is. When Jessica and the remaining East House friends reconvene, they learn that Heather’s brother is intent on finding her killer—and he thinks it’s one of them. Chapters jump between past and present, old secrets are revealed, motives are explored, and many head-snapping plot twists abound in this psychodrama.
VERDICT Though some plot points strain credulity, and most characters are thinly drawn, Winstead’s first novel successfully gets inside Jessica’s head and conveys the excitement and terror of college days.
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