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Dreamworld [Paperback]

Jane Goldman
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Feb 2000

Stunning thriller featuring murder in the utopia of a Florida theme park, from a major new talent in the fiction world.

It’s another perfect day at Dreamworld, Florida’s famous family vacation spot. Until its most popular character turns up murdered.

When Lisa Schaeffer agreed to play the part of Kit-E-Cat, she expected to spend her time cuddling children, not getting stabbed and winding up with blood all over her fun fur costume, her unsavoury boyfriend dead at her side.

A double death is not the sort of attraction the Dreamworld authorities want to publicize, and so their impressive security force swings into action. The utopian image must be preserved; no illusions shattered.

Few are more sincerely devoted to this aim than rookie patrol officer Sylvia Avery, a smart, sensuous twenty-something with a shadowy past and an ambitious streak. But when another grisly murder suggests a new, more sinister possibility, Avery is forced to investigate the side of Dreamworld that visitors never see: the catacomb of hidden supply tunnels, the ultra-confidential research complex where top neuroscientists explore new avenues of virtual entertainment, the reality behind the whitewash. But just how close can she get to the horrifying truth without jeopardizing Dreamworld’s reputation, her job or even her life?

Stunning suspense, non-stop surprises and dark wit combine in this thrilling novel from the hippest, sharpest, most talented new voice in fiction.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (7 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002259109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002259101
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.4 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,040,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

The theme park called Dreamworld is a place where people feel safe--safe to bring their children, and safe to heal the damaged children that they themselves once were.

Around her, the visitors who had hurried to get into the park earlier that day fell blithely under its spell. No need to hurry now, plenty of time, they joined the gently bobbing human tide...this dreamy, insistent current of tired, happy people.

Security guard Avery has serious emotional pain in her past and her loyalty to Dreamworld is as unconditional as her love for senior executive Hayes. When murder and suicide strike, she agrees to a cover-up for the sake of Dreamworld, and only gradually discovers what she has agreed to...

Jane Goldman's first thriller brilliantly evokes the sunlit avenues and dingy maintenance tunnels of the world's favourite theme parks; she makes brilliant use of the large body of urban legends about theme parks, the stories people tell knowing them false and fearing they may be true. Avery finds herself investigating the sinister R&D department on an adjacent site--Goldman's informed speculations about the future of the entertainment industry make for some terrifying twists. Jane Goldman is already a star of teenage non-fiction publishing; her first novel is inventive, often charming and often terrifying. --Roz Kaveney


‘Sharp, unusual and at times very funny: a pop thriller laced with dark shadows’
Michael Marshall Smith

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First Sentence
Of all the songs that accompany theme-park attractions, which is the most insidiously catchy, the most precious, can't-get-it-out-of-your head annoying? Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! 16 Jan 2010
This book almost jumped off the shelf at the bookstore and into my arms. I immediately fell in love with the crazy adorable stuffed animal on the cover and knew this book had to join my collection. And I'm so glad it did.
Growing up in Southern California, we always heard rumors about underground tunnels to whisk the "bad people" away from Disneyland. At one point my brother tried convince me there was even a jail in the Magic Kingdom. I never believed him, until I read Dreamworld, that is!

"Dreamworld" exposes the underbelly of a huge theme park in Florida. Sylvia Avery's job at Dreamworld is to make sure that the public doesn't see any of the bad people, the drunks, disorderlies, etc. She simply whisks them away from sight! But when a suicide-murder takes place in the park, the reader is taken on a ride of a lifetime.

"Dreamworld" has murder, suspense, and plot twists. This book is hard to put down. I've already recommended it to many friends and will continue to do so.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down! 16 Feb 2000
I don't know what book that other guy was reading, but the Dreamworld I just read was a bonafide page-turner! I bought it after reading a glowing review in a newspaper last week and I was not disappointed. I have not written a review on Amazon before but I had to speak up because I thought it would be a shame if someone avoided this book because of that review - they would be missing out on a treat. Dreamworld is full of original ideas, intriguing characters and unpredictable swerves in the story. I found it extremely suspenseful and tightly plotted and I certainly didn't see the final twist coming ... and I take violent exception to the suggestion that this makes me a reader of cereal packets. Books are, of course, a matter of taste, but it seems childish and unnecessary to imply that others are inferior because they happen to disagree with you. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Dreamworld to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What is it with female detective writers? 13 Mar 2001
By A Customer
A good start; I'll be keeping an eye out for future books by this author (in the hope that they'll be slightly more tightly plotted). My main complaint was the ending. Why is it that female detectives always seem to end up passing out at the end of the book, only to wake up and be told "You survived... whilst you were asleep, all the plot strands got resolved" (or something along those lines). Step forward Janet Evanonich, Sue Grafton, even Laurell K. Hamilton. Why can't female detectives be the ones to take control of the inevitable 'showdown with the villain' situation and defeat them? Is it just that writers don't know how to write about a woman overpowering a man (and the villains are still always male)? Sherlock Holmes never had to pass out to solve a mystery!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nancy Drew and the theme park mystery 26 Feb 2001
By A Customer
I really wanted to like this book. I have a lot of respect for Jane Goldman, and although the blurb put me off a little (I read the American copy, I don't know if its the same on the British), the list of acknowledgments featured some of my favourite people (Adam & Joe, Baddiel & Skinner, Neil Gaiman and of course Jonathan Ross) so I prepared myself for something good. Unfortunately, this might well be the worst book I have ever read - its badness makes me angry and tired. I should have trusted my blurb-reading instincts.
The writing style is meant to be American, but all the characters have a British way of interacting, with American slang liberally sprinkled. This makes it hard for Americans to understand (according to the reviews) and jarring for the British in a 'Jonnie Depp liking The Fast Show' kind of way.
This aside, the main complaint I would have with this book is that it comes completely from the Nancy Drew school of story telling. Pick any of the Nancy Drew Files and you basically have this plot development outline. The premise that if you keep making the main character jump to wrong conclusions about the murderers identity then the reader will automatically follow, really takes the mick after FOURTY CHAPTERS, when it's obvious right from the beginning - before you even know what crime has been committed, exactly who the bad guy is. Even Avery's constant swooning (in a professional, yet feminine way naturally) at the college-boy love interest, is very, well, NANCY DREW. Even the ending, which was trying so very hard not to be cliched, was just really cliched.
There is nothing wrong with the main story of this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book for teens 27 Aug 2004
By Emma
I only bought this because of the very eye catching cover! But am glad I did. Even if the story is meandering, and although it becomes obvious who the killer is before you approach the end, the writing is excellent. The insiders view of the park is fascinating, Jane Goldman has clearly done her research!! Sometimes it could have done with a little less of the commentary that didnt lead anywhere. But I couldn't put it down; although it was obvious, I needed to see how it resolved. I would reccomend it for reading on the train, not one to sit down and read the whole way through in one go!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite, contrived andobvious 3 Feb 2000
By A Customer
Boring. A formula thriller awash with cliches and unburdened by believable characters Dreamworld disappoints on every possible level. Tension? If you reach the last 50 pages still unaware of the murderer's identity ... then maybe you should stick to reading the back of breakfast cereal packets.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Far better than i ever imagined! READ THIS!!!
Wow! i loved this book so much. i couldn't stop reading it. once you have readit though you start to think that their could be some truth behind the ideas. Read more
Published on 20 May 2006 by Katrin Princess
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Jane Goldman's attention to detail is superb, and all the more impressive considering that she is not american, all the minutiae of american life has been well studied. Read more
Published on 16 July 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Patience is required!
When I first picked up this book I expected it to be far more sinister and more thrilling, but maybe I was over- anticipating. Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars Middle of the road
Not sure about this book. Far too much detail for my liking which made you feel an outsider from the story. Easy book to get into and quite enjoyable too.
Published on 15 Jan 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars Formulaic but Fun
OK, this book doesn't hold too many surprises, and the 'twist' you can see coming a mile off, but it is well written and the theme park setting is well realised. Read more
Published on 15 May 2000 by CJ
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, kept me happy on the Tube
Not the best read in the world, but not bad either. I got the impression here was a fairly competant British writer, writing for an American market, when she would have done a... Read more
Published on 28 Feb 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiassen meets Highsmith
No offense to the ladies, but it's quite rare when a female novelist matches the casual and funny evocation of life's underbelly that a Carl Hiassen or an Elmore Leonard is able to... Read more
Published on 19 Feb 2000
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