Reverie by Lauren Rico
Ready for a creepy romance for Halloween? Try Reverie by Lauren Rico. Set in a music
conservatory in New York City (warming my heart as that is one city where my husband studied violin for
many years), we see competition, hard work, romance—and ok, it’s Halloween—a creepy boyfriend,
sabotage and murder.
Jeremy, a talented horn player and manipulative psychopath, is put into an international
competition.Author Lauren Rico told me about how she developed this character. “So, my thought process
was, if you were to put someone with Jeremy’s psychological profile into that kind of pressure-cooker
environment, how far might he go to get what he wants?”
Julia and Matthew grew up together in foster care. Whereas Matthew came from a loving family killed in a car accident, Julia’s mother left her with an abusive father. “That’s when he [Jeremy] started to study her very carefully, to find out what made her tick….Abandonment issues, desperate for love, abused as a child… Jeremy couldn’t have found an easier target.”
The reader wants to wake Julia up as she sinks into the dysfunctional and dangerous relationship with Jeremy. Lauren writes from both the alternating perspectives of Julia and Jeremy, so that we know what is going on in the totally empathy-less mind of Jeremy and the unsuspecting mind of Julia. But fear and pain were her childhood normal and so the danger somehow is able to slip into her life.
“Where that becomes really dangerous–and rare– is if that individual knows how to wield that information as a weapon. It’s not enough to know which buttons someone has. To do real damage, you have to know where they are and how to push them to achieve maximum destruction.”
Interspersed with this disturbing relationship, we learn a great deal about music. It is clear that Lauren loves music, and if you go to her web site, you see her musical background helps her write with knowledge about her setting and characters.
Psychopaths "have to learn to study and imitate the appropriate responses from the people around them because they don’t know what certain emotions look like or what’s considered socially acceptable in specific situations. It’s not hard to see how someone who is wired like that would have no qualms doing, saying or being anything to get what he or she wants.”
Julia has more resilience than Jeremy gives her credit for and with the help of Matthew—well, you’ll have to read this to get to the ending. The drama continues in Rhapsody in which Brett, Jeremy’s brother, and his girl friend and social worker, Maggie become the narrative voices observing and analyzing Jeremy. The third novel, Requiem, is not yet published but promises to be as unsettling as the first two novels.
Lauren shared with me Julia's favorite breakfast. "I gave my main character my love of breakfast foods, especially french toast. Mmmmmmmm." Go to Chef Lisa's fabulous French Toast Casserole.