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Sweet Dreams, Irene: An Irene Kelly Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Jan Burke
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2002
Irene Kelly is a reporter with a fierce integrity. Detective Frank Harriman is her lover and friend. Now they're both about to be plunged into political hellfire when a ruthless politician rocks a race for district attorney with a stunning allegation: his opponent's son is in the clutches of a satanic cult. The charge takes a fatal turn when a local woman is brutally murdered, and the grisly crime scene bears unholy implications. Tracking the clues takes Irene behind the closed doors of an isolated home for troubled youths, where obscuring the truth is only part of a stranger's diabolic game. To win it, Irene will have the devil to pay.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Politics and murder mix in the second mystery, after Goodnight, Irene , to feature Southern California newspaper reporter Irene Kelly and her homicide detective lover, Frank Harriman. Jacob Henderson, teenaged son of a district attorney candidate whose mudslinging race Irene has been covering, asks her to prevent his father's opposition from announcing that the youth is a member of a satanic cult. Sammy, Jacob's girlfriend, tells Irene that the group is pagan but not satanist. She admits, however, that she and others in the group, most of whom live in a youth shelter, fear the man in a goat's-head mask who is their new leader. That night, Frank's elderly neighbor, founder of the shelter, is found murdered, with a rough drawing of a goat's head left on her front door. Then Sammy leaves Irene a message that she has run away from the shelter, which is run by the murdered woman's grandson. After another gruesome murder and mutilation, Irene is kidnapped and taken to a remote cabin where she is systematically beaten. Graphic torture scenes and Irene's cunningly crafted escape give the tale a jagged, somewhat unexpected edge.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The sequel to Goodnight, Irene ( LJ 2/1/93) depicts this reporter in the newly minted relationship she enjoys with Las Piernas (California) homicide detective Frank Harriman. Now covering the dirty politics involved in a local district attorney's race, Irene Kelly investigates slanderous allegations of Satanism and witchcraft against one candidate's teenaged son. The cultlike murder of Frank's elderly next-door neighbor, meanwhile, complicates both Irene's job and her relationship with Frank. Generally well written, a little fanciful, and lighthearted in tone. A good choice.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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FRANK SCARED THE HELL out of me on Halloween, and we hadn't even finished breakfast. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Slickly written June 7 2004
Format:Hardcover
This is the second volume in the Irene Kelly/Frank Harrison series .Set as previously in California the book involves newspaperwoman Irene Kelly in shady politics and smear campaigns .She is approached by the 16 year old son of a DA candidate a personable young man who is being wrongly accused of involvement in a Satanic cult .He was present at a meeting of such a group but was seeking to persuade a friend to leave the meeting .The friend in question is Sally a homeless girl who has taken refuge from an unsatisactory home life by running away and is currently living in a shelter for street kids .This is run by Irene's neighbour the kindly Mrs Fremont who is brutally slain in a mannner suggesting Satanic involvemnet .
Soon after Sally is also killed and the reasons are linked to her diary which contains revelations .Before the case is resolved Irene is kidnapped and beaten by two thugs Devon and Raney -and some will find these scenes rather strong meat .
The captivity scenes are quite harrowing and tend to distoirt the novel somewhat .
Its a decent enough book but somewhat clumsily structured -the identity of the killer is revealed with about a quarter of the book remaining while the revelation of the man behind all the violence comes as no great suprise
There is rather too much time given to the familial troubles of Irene's lover the cop Frank Harrison ,in particular his mother's resisitance to the relationship but a lively sea bound climax brings thinks to a satisfactory ending
It marks no real advance on its predecessor but those who enjoyed that book will enjoy this volume too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Miles ahead Feb. 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This one is miles ahead of "Goodnight Irene," though I liked that one as well. It's just that the author has matured somewhat and so has the style. At any rate, "Sweet Dreams" is another in the "Irene" series and well worth the time and money you invest in it. Highly recommended--it's a fun read.
Also recommended: Bark of the Dogwood by McCrae and The Da Vinci Code by Brown
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2.0 out of 5 stars predictable, pedestrian mystery Dec 1 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This "femjep" mystery has all of the flaws of a beginning effort and few of the charms. The focus is really on the relationship between reporter Irene Kelly and detective Frank Harriman. Solving the mystery is almost incidental. And Irene doesn't do much investigating. Things happen to her and she overlooks obvious clues (e. g., the cable truck sitting outside her house for several days). She finds herself in far more physical danger than any one person would face in a lifetime, and yet the solution to the crime pops up when she isn't even looking for it. Burke has an annoying habit of trying to misdirect the reader -- which a mystery writer is supposed to do -- but in such a heavy-handed way that no reasonably intelligent reader is going to be fooled.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as the 1st April 23 2000
By "gayeharbor" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Usually 2nd books by an author aren't quite as good as the 1st. I was happy to finish Sweet Dreams Irene just as happy as I was when I finished Goodnight Irene. Jan Burke has a way of giving her characters such interesting lives. Irene is a person most readers want to be. Her life is interesting and Frank makes her complete. The plot with the election,covens, and murders is as fun to read as most people would want. I'm sorry I waited so long to hear about Irene and I plan on reading more!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Burke works out the bugs June 29 2000
By Peter A. Kimball - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the second "Irene Kelly" from Jan Burke, who eventually went on to win an Edgar award for "Bones". Kelly began life in "Goodnight, Irene" as a reporter in the city of "Las Piernas" ("The Legs") on the coast south of Los Angeles. Kelly is the most assault prone reporter in the world leaving out Colombia and Chechniya. We have a newscaster in Chicago named Russ Ewing who has become the guy that accused killers call up to turn themselves in to so the police don't kill them. He has had something like 50 or 70 accused killers turn themselves in to him and hasn't been wounded once, yet Irene sustains more injuries than James Garner did in "The Rockford Files". Go figure.
Anyway, I wrote an Amazon review of "Goodnight, Irene" in which I identified many "beginners' faults" of detective writing. The good news is that "Sweet Dreams" corrects many of these faults and is thus a significant improvement over her first volume. I will take credit for this myself when I figure out how she read my review in 1993.
To begin with, the plot, which involves real or imagined Satanist activity at election time, is a lot more original and better designed than in her first work. Irene has stopped riding around in the cop car with her beau Frank all the time, which was an improbable feature of "Goodnight." She does more actual detection here than there. She tosses the blood around with less slapdash abandon in this book, although there's still room for improvement. For example, when a bloody human heart turns up, it doesn't get the attention that it really should, you know? The police test it to confirm that it's really human blood, but there doesn't seem to be much interest in WHOSE heart it is, etc., particularly considering that they should be able to make the same guess that the reader does.
One carry-over from the first book is that Irene is still prone to falling into stupid traps, as Frank points out:
"Why the hell did you go out to that field that night?"
"I've asked myself that question many times."
"I just don't understand it. You're smart. But I swear to God, Irene, sometimes you do something so..."
"Stupid," I finished quietly.
Well, *sigh* knowing you have a problem is the first step. Also, I have to say that the action flags a bit about three quarters of the way through, and after that there is some Penguin's Folly stuff. I just now invented that term. "Penguin's Folly" is from the 1960's Batman TV series, which was on for two half-hour segments per week. At the end of the Tuesday night segment, the Penguin (or whoever) would tie Batman and Robin to a death machine, and then RUN OFF AND LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED. Every time. And then at the beginning of the Thursday night segment, Batman and Robin would get out of it. Hence the term, "Penguin's Folly."
I also have to say that Kelly is not nearly so well-described or deep a character as she could be; she doesn't seem to have much in the way of higher interests, other than reporting, Frank's body, and staying alive. This has something to do with the breakneck style that Burke is using in these early volumes (she may change later), where you have not much chance to catch your breath, and the text is full of elaborate "detective story style" metaphors the way a box of Ghirardelli's chocolates is full of grams of fat.
So there's still room for improvement in this volume, but the learning curve from "Goodnight, Irene" to this one is encouraging, and in fact her third volume, "Dear Irene", is better yet.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tolerable May 27 2009
By Rhiannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The annoying thing here is after being introduced to most of the cast in GOODNIGHT IRENE, several of their personalities seem to have completely changed as of this book (taking place several months later). Irene, still back at the newspaper, is covering the local election for District Attorney, and thanks to her involvement with homicide cop Frank, banned from crime stories. The son of one of the DA candidates comes to her, explaining that he is going to be accused by the other candidate of being a Satanist, by way of a photo of a group of Satan worshipers, and wants to tell his side of the story. Frank's elderly next door neighbor is murdered, the killer(s) leave satanic symbols at the scene. Irene suspects the symbols are meant to throw people off, although for a reporter she does very little research on Satanism and Wicca (what the group in the "satanic photo" claim to be) other than going to the local pagan shop and asking a couple questions of the owner. (ok maybe I am being biased here because I know a lot about Wicca, and some of the people who gravitate toward it). As in the first book Irene suffers from a total lack of foresight to call Frank or any of the other cops involved and share information, and this gets her into greater trouble. I am constantly frustrated by writers who use this "give the reader everything but don't let the different characters share with each other" method, and I just spend half the book screaming "just call someone and tell them what you know and the murderer will be easy to spot". I plan to continue reading the series, although I am currently not sure if this is because I hope it will get better, or because I am punishing myself.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Miles ahead Feb. 2 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This one is miles ahead of "Goodnight Irene," though I liked that one as well. It's just that the author has matured somewhat and so has the style. At any rate, "Sweet Dreams" is another in the "Irene" series and well worth the time and money you invest in it. Highly recommended--it's a fun read.
Also recommended: Bark of the Dogwood by McCrae and The Da Vinci Code by Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Dreams Feb. 27 2014
By Cindy Boepple - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Love this series. Irene and Frank are great characters as well as,their friends and family.
On to the next book!!
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