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In Dreams, by Dennis Moore Book Review | SFReader.com
In Dreams, by Dennis Moore Genre: Horror Anthology Publisher: M.A.R.S. Press Published: 2007 Review Posted: 8/6/2007 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
In Dreams, by Dennis Moore
Book Review by Jeff Edwards
Have you read this book?
Editor's Note: The author of the book in this review should not be confused with 'C. Dennis Moore,' who is, besides being a regular reviewer at SFReader, also a horror/thriller/suspense author.
In Dreams is a collection of four tales "brought together," says author Dennis Moore, "by their shared dream-like qualities." What he fails to mention is that these dreams are decidedly wet.
You see, the men in Moore's stories don't pick up women so much as fight them off. One pitiable wretch bemoans the fact that he is "cursed with good looks; women always seemed to fall for him." Another fellow gets lucky with a single mother because the woman believes spending the night "with anyone" is "better than spending it alone."
For their part, the ladies parade around in provocative outfits like sheer mini-dresses and see-through bodysuits. There's even a ludicrous scene involving a female mechanic wearing "short - very short" cut-off jeans and a grease-stained white T-shirt; Moore gushes that "she could be featured in a Playboy pictorial entitled 'Working Woman,' or some such thing - she was that beautiful." Naturally, this goddess is soon making love to an irresistible man atop a desk in the gas station's office.
The author apparently spent more time dreaming about these women than developing his plots. In "Diana," a man is held captive by a witch whose "magic is based on the power of sex"; the temptress and her companions summon demons during orgiastic rituals. Yet Diana also exhibits the traits of some kind of "sexual vampire" - so is she a witch or a vampire? In "Road Tripping," a young man skips town on his gambling debts but takes a break from cross-country hitchhiking to hook up with the aforementioned shapely mechanic. In "Paranoia," a suburbanite loses himself in delusional fantasies - usually starring his neighbor's wife and daughter.
Of the four stories, "Dark Winter" is filled with the most promise - and problems. Moore began writing the piece in the mid-1990s but abandoned it until assembling his book; the result is disjointed. The major issue is the author's inclusion of flashbacks: The narrative wanders between the present day and scenes set ten years before, seventy years before, and one week before. Only an extremely skilled writer could pull this off, and Moore isn't up to the task: He relies on clumsy transitions like, "But, now to continue with the present." Still, there are compelling elements sparking in the embers: a house with a "grim secret," a menacing chimney monster, and a mother who violently punishes her child. If Moore had managed to better integrate the house's history - perhaps using "The Shining" as a template - he might have created a memorable closing tale for his collection.
Despite its shortcomings, In Dreams showcases enthusiastic storytelling, and Dennis Moore's writing, while juvenile, may appeal to a certain demographic - predominantly male, of course. If the author wants to attract a broader audience, though, he'll need to discipline himself to think more about well-built plots and less about well-built women.
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