Irene Kelly is a reporter with a fierce integrity. Detective Frank Harriman is her lover and friend. Now they're both about to be plunged into political hellfire when a ruthless politician rocks a race for district attorney with a stunning allegation: his opponent's son is in the clutches of a satanic cult. The charge takes a fatal turn when a local woman is brutally murdered, and the grisly crime scene bears unholy implications. Tracking the clues takes Irene behind the closed doors of an isolated home for troubled youths, where obscuring the truth is only part of a stranger's diabolic game. To win it, Irene will have the devil to pay.
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September 01, 2002
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Excerpt from Sweet Dreams, Irene by Jan Burke
Frank scared the hell out of me on Halloween, and we hadn't even finished breakfast. He accomplished this by looking up over the top of the morning paper and saying some of the most frightening words in the English language: "I'd like for you to meet my mother."
For a minute I hoped he was reading a "Dear Abby" letter out loud, but no such luck.
"What?" I said, not so much because I hadn't heard him, but as a stalling tactic.
"I said I'd like for you to meet my mother. Do you have plans for Thanksgiving? Maybe you could ride up to Bakersfield with me and join our family gathering."
"I don't know. I'll have to check with Barbara. She may be counting on me showing up at her place."
He put down the paper and made a who-are-you-trying-to-kid face at me, and said, "You'd rather spend Thanksgiving with Kenny?"
He had me there. "Well, no, I wouldn't." Barbara is my older sister, recently reunited with her ex-husband, Kenny O'Connor. Kenny's dad and I had been the best of friends, even after my sister and Kenny had their messy divorce. His dad, affectionately known simply by his last name, O'Connor, had been my mentor and confidante at the Las Piernas News Express, the newspaper I work for. But O'Connor had been murdered that last summer, and in the aftermath of that event, Kenny and Barbara got back together.
O'Connor's death also led to my being reunited with an old acquaintance, the man who sat across the breakfast table from me. Frank Harriman is a homicide detective with the Las Piernas Police Department. Neither of our employers were too nutty over the idea of a cop and a reporter getting together, but we decided we could survive a little criticism, given some of the other things we had survived that summer.