When local animals begin to go missing, Philip decides to take a gun with him on his evening run for protection. Sure enough, he and his dog are suddenly attacked and Philip shoots—not to kill, but to possibly maim and scare off the creature. When he realizes he has actually shot a man, Philip brings the guy home and tends to his wound, only to watch as it rapidly heals. That’s when Phillip realizes the man is not necessarily fully human. The guy is no help, for all he can remember is his name, Adam, but that’s not the strangest thing about him. Philip begins to understand he has brought home a vampire of a sort, one that thrives on animal blood and not human. Now the two men settle into a strange sort of existence with Philip trying to help Adam unravel exactly what he is and why he can’t remember anything about his past.
The premise of Dreams, Memories, and Reality by Edward Kendrick was a solid one and a good basis for a paranormal/sci-fi story. In fact, prior to Adam and Philip actually meeting, I was fully swept up in the mystery and drama of the novel. Between trying to figure out exactly what type of creature Adam was, to determining if he was a victim of a race who despised him or a criminal who had been banished from their midst, I was hooked and fascinated by the clever writing. Then Adam and Philip met and the story began to fall apart for me.
It started when Philip had little to no reaction to Adam’s liking and existing on blood only. Philip’s response to that gem was so mundane you would think he had been used to running into vampires on his nightly run. Plus, there was a hint in this particular scene that Adam had some physical changes when he felt threatened or was hunting and that was never really pursued or fully explained. Unfortunately, this same kind of blasé attitude continued when Adam seemingly learned English and became fairly adept at absorbing the culture and history of Earth in just a few days. There was no questioning this turn of events; instead, Philip just took it all in stride and seemed to have no concerns or curiosity about any of it.
I think I could have accepted this strange behavior from Philip, but when his best friend and neighbor had the exact same reaction, I just shook my head in disbelief. I was disappointed that a story I felt had established some mystery and suspense at the beginning had now dissipated into a ho-hum kind of story that was mainly about Adam and Philip fighting off their attraction. After that, it fell into the same trajectory often found in this kind of story where the two main characters fail to talk about their feelings with each other and end up hurt due to the lack of communication.
I wish I could say that this was the only flaw in the story, but things got a bit more insane with the two guys meeting other supernatural beings and worrying more about how one of them was lusting after Adam, rather than the fact that they were paranormal creatures neither of them even knew existed. From there the story raced to an ending that I did feel was both plausible and had an interesting twist, but unfortunately, it came so late in the novel even that subplot could not be fully realized or explored.
This novel had a good beginning and great promise, only to lose most of its emotional impact a few chapters in. I think this author has really fantastic ideas, but the execution in this case faltered, leaving behind a story that is lacking in the excitement that you can glimpse at the start of the book.