Waking with Strangers is the sequel to Sleeping with Strangers, which leaves you with a series of cliff hangers. Without that background, you'll probably find Waking with Strangers a little hard to follow. Having read both books, I felt like they were really two parts of one book rather than being a book with a sequel. Why? Here's one reason: Waking with Strangers opens with a very long erotic sequence that doesn't belong at the beginning of a standalone book. The sequence only makes sense if it's in the middle of a longer book.
Here's the basic plot: Gideon is in London performing his chores as an assassin where he realizes that he's been targeted for death by a broken-nosed hit man, probably related to a job Gideon did recently. Gideon has befriended a woman, Lola Mack, he met on the plane whose boy friend has dumped her. A second woman, Mrs. Jones, also returns to Gideon, whom he had also met on the plane. The three enjoy each other in bed while Gideon tries to forget about the danger beyond his hotel room door. Meanwhile, the love-of-his life, Arizona, helps Gideon track down the stalker. Gideon is also determined to come to terms with his prostitute mother who also operates in London. From there, Gideon and the broken-nosed man circle one another until one gets the upper hand. Then, the surprises begin. The tension comes because Gideon is never certain who is on his side . . . and who is his enemy. Stealing pleasure helps to make the risk bearable.
Waking with Enemies lacks a lot of the edge that Sleeping with Strangers had in exploring the life of a hit man. There's extreme danger in Waking with Strangers, but not very much of it. With the exception of a few scenes, Waking with Enemies could be about an unmarried suburban executive who meets some exciting women. By spacing the books apart in time (publishing two books), those who read the books months apart won't feel the same danger and excitement when they begin this book as they did while reading Sleeping with Strangers.
If you read the two books back-to-back now that they are both available, you'll probably find that you think Waking with Enemies is a four-star book.
Those who like a lot of physical action (aside from bedroom sequences) will probably feel like this book is too psychological for them.
In the two books, Mr. Dickey does a fine job of three things:
1. Portraying how having illusions about reality cause problems.
2. Exploring the value of tracking down out illusions and trading illusions for more accurate perceptions.
3. Describing how much more love we can enjoy if we open ourselves to those around us.
For those who enjoy reading well-written sexual encounters, Waking with Enemies will not disappoint.