In My Dreams I Hold A Knife by Ashley Winstead was a total #bookstagrammademedoit and I have no shame in admitting that, because I am so glad I picked it up. This psych thriller set on an elite college campus had killer character development (pun intended..), a searing plotline and an atmospheric setting. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it kept me guessing until the bitter end. This one is perfect for spooky season reading.
A ten year college reunion drudges up the past for a group of six friends whose friend was found murdered in her bed their senior year. Her murder went unsolved and the case has went cold, until their secrets come to light to uncover what truly happened.
This has got to be the fifth book this year that I have read with a collegiate campus setting. I am not sure what draws me to dark academia, but when I sit down and think about it, I think it has to do with the fact that I can so easily put myself into that time in my life. When I read what these characters are doing and experiencing in college, I reflect back on my college experience and feel a deeper connection with them. Though, my college roommate did not end up murdered, so I guess I cannot completely empathize with them.....But the excitement of being out of your parents house, the thrill of first loves, drinking at run down student housing complexes, trudging through exams and lecture halls. It feels like yesterday and man, do I miss those days.
I am always hesitant to pick up hyped thrillers, so I did go into this one with a bit of skepticism on how good it would be. I have to say, I ate crow. Winstead does a fabulous job with crafting well rounded characters. Each one had their own backstory that brought depth to the plot and she peeled back each layer as the story progressed. The concept of "keeping up with the Joneses" is something that so many of us can relate to, especially when it comes to a time in your life where fitting in seems like the most important thing in the world. What I loved was how each character had their own dark history and secrets that somehow played into their friend's death. The story was unpredictable and set at the perfect slow burning pace. The story flips timelines between past and present and is told in a non-linear fashion with an unreliable narrator that is strangely likeable. I appreciated how this one didn't have the usual tropes that most thrillers these days have, especially when it comes to a lead female protagonist.
All in all, In My Dreams I Hold A Knife is a well written psychological thriller with depth that really impressed me.
4 - 4.5 stars
If You Like Dark Academia You Should Read:
The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
The Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing