Book review: The Dream Thief

Catherine Webb’s The Dream Thief.

Author: Catherine Webb
Publisher: Atom

Following on from the previous three books in the Horatio Lyle series, the titular character finds an unwelcome guest on his doorstep – a young girl, poisoned and dying. As the investigation unfolds, Lyle and his team discover that something is seriously wrong in the East End, something that revolves around a hushed whisper of a name – Old Greybags.

While this book can be read as a standalone, we strongly recommend starting at the beginning of the series to fully appreciate Webb’s main cast, and their progression throughout. The writing is, as expected from the award-winning author, particularly strong, although the curious typographical choices may take some getting used to. Chances are, though, if you’ve read her adult fantasy novels under the nom de plume Kate Griffin and were taken along by her prose, you’ll likely have the same response here. The book is squarely aimed at the young adult market, although Webb takes a few chances with her readers, refusing to sanitise much of the content and leaving a creeping sense of fear intact throughout.

This inherently gives the problem for an adult audience that she doesn’t go far enough, of course, and were it written for an older readership, it could quite easily have been a neat little thriller. As it stands, the book performs well for teenaged eyes, although it’s not quite the best in the series to date. It’s mainly for those younger enthusiasts who will enjoy reading a carefully plotted and characterised mystery adventure, however, not for those looking for a Point Horror-esque blitz read – the capacity for turning right back to the beginning at the end and going through again from a different perspective is very strong indeed.

[isbn name=”The Dream Thief”]978-1905654253[/isbn]