Dreams of the Dead

Dreams of the Dead

by Perri O'Shaughnessy


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The latest spellbinding thriller featuring attorney Nina Reilly, now in mass market. Nina must defend herself from a vicious killer she had every reason to believe was dead…but her nightmare is far from over.


Two years ago, Nina Reilly had to defend Jim Strong against charges of murder, after which the sociopath—who devastated many lives, including Nina’s—vanished and was presumed dead. Now Philip Strong, Jim’s father and millionaire owner of a Tahoe ski resort, has come to Nina with a letter from his fugitive son, demanding his share of the profits from the pending sale of Philip’s resort. Nina’s certain it’s a con, but to prove that means exposing the secrets of someone very close to her. Then two local women are brutally murdered, and Nina probes their ties to her new client. As Nina’s worst fears flood back, she’s about to discover that the dreams of the dead can still destroy the living.

First-rate excitement from “a master of the legal thriller” (Vincent Bugliosi), Dreams of the Dead holds readers spellbound with its breakneck pace, pulsing human drama, and serpentine twists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476798493
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 08/30/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 516,253
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Perri O'Shaughnessy is the pen name for two sisters, Pamela and Mary O'Shaughnessy. Together they have written twelve Nina Reilly legal thrillers, a stand-alone thriller, KEEPER OF THE KEYS, and one short story collection, SINISTER SHORTS. Pamela, a graduate of Harvard Law School, practiced law in Monterey, San Pablo, and South Lake Tahoe, California, for sixteen years. She lives in northern California. Mary worked as a multimedia editor for many years. She lives with her husband and children near San Francisco.

Read an Excerpt


Sandy Whitefeather walked into the inner office, closed the door, and sat down in one of the orange client chairs, wearing her usual expression of firm dignity. On the phone with a probation officer who was preparing a sentencing report for one of her criminal defense clients, Nina raised her eyebrows, but Sandy’s expression did not alter.

The secretary and lone staffer in the Law Offices of Nina Reilly, Sandy ordinarily stood at Nina’s desk, so either she was tired or some cataclysm was afoot. Since at 8:00 a.m. Sandy usually was well into her fourth cup of coffee, she probably wasn’t tired. She had been hard at work when Nina arrived, and Nina had meant to ask her what was bringing her into the office so early these days, and why she would close out the file on her computer whenever Nina came near.

Outside, the weather had turned cloudy, the thick white clouds that meant they would have snow. This was the tumultuous season, as the mountains left winter and moved into spring.

“Sorry, gotta go. Call you back later,” Nina told the officer, and hung up. “So?”

“Scumbags have been sitting in these chairs for four years now,” Sandy observed. She wore a belt with small silver conchas and tan leather cowboy boots under a long skirt. A member of the Washoe tribe, Sandy had lately gone country-western in her dress, and the appearance of a snorting stallion in the parking lot one night would not surprise Nina.

“They do the job.” Nina got up, spun one, and tried not to notice the ugly brown stain not exactly adorning its back. When had that got there?

“We need new chairs. Comfortable. Leather so they clean easier.”

“That’s low on the list.” Nina indicated the stack of files and phone messages stacked neatly on her desk. “Today, we work on generating cash, not spending it. As I recall, you told me Friday that we are low on the accounts receivable front, no surprise, considering that nobody in town has a dime to litigate these days.”

“Fine, if you like cooties.”

“So hire a steam cleaner. Do we need to have this conversation right now? Is that why you came in? I’m working.”

“I saw brown leather chairs at Jay’s Furniture over in Reno this weekend. Four hundred apiece, but your clients can rest their heads and they won’t have to put their arms on this cold chrome.”

“No money for extras now.”

“How about if you could make five thousand bucks in ten minutes?”

Nina waited, but Sandy sat, arms crossed. Unable to stand it any longer, Nina asked, “New client?”

“Someone we know awaits outside.”


“Philip Strong.”

“Strong?” Nina felt a nasty stirring in her gut. For two years, she had tried to put that name out of her mind.

“Jim Strong’s father.”



“That’s over.”

“You’d think.”

“What did Philip say?”

“He’ll pay a big retainer for a problem he has.”

Nina covered her eyes with her hand.

“You look peaked. Maybe you ought to see a healer. I know one up at Woodfords everyone says—”

“Philip Strong’s waiting in our outer office?”

“Marched right in five minutes ago. I was busy writing something important, but he didn’t mind interrupting. Says it’s urgent.”

Nina heard herself, voice higher-pitched than usual. “I don’t want to.”

“You may not want to, but you oughta. Listen. You have an appointment with Burglar Boy in twenty minutes. Just hear Philip out and I’ll scoot him away when you’re done.”

“Send him upstairs to John Dominguez.”

Sandy shook her head. “Claims he needs to consult with you. Only you.”

“Why is he here?”

“No details, but I’m thinking it’s about his ski resort.”

Paradise Ski Resort. Nina pictured the lodge up the mountain behind town, the enormous stone fireplace, handsome people pulling off their rigid boots, downing hot toddies, beers, and champagne, singing loudly, throwing arms around each other before eventually venturing out into the night, heading for their rented condos or a long night of gambling. Straddling the border between Nevada and California, a neighbor to Heavenly Ski Resort, Paradise was a hidden gem. The lifts cost less, the lodge had delicious food, and the runs rivaled world-class Heavenly in their variety.

Those really in the know, though, remembered that two years earlier the resort had seen a serious family tragedy, one Nina didn’t care to remember.

“I don’t know why, but the phrase deep pockets popped up in my mind the minute I saw him,” Sandy continued. “You should fit him in.”

Nina leaned back in her chair. The sharp sunlight of Lake Tahoe in March lanced through the window. Only a few miles to the east in Nevada, across the Sierra massif, in the high desert, the sun reigned most of the year. Outside in the well-plowed street of the mountain town, old Hummers and other full-size trucks and SUVs tankered by as though the price of gas had never been close to five bucks a gallon, the vehicles spattered brown with slush.

Nina made her palm into a stop sign. “I never want to hear Jim Strong’s name again.”

Sandy nodded. “Neither does Philip, I’m thinking. Look, he’s one of the few people left in this town with money.” Sandy scratched at the metal arms of the chair, then leaned forward to see the result of her handiwork. “But what strikes me is that you need to know what’s going on here even if we don’t accept him as a client.”


“’Cuz if it’s about his son, it affects you. You’ll get lassoed into his stuff sideways if you’re not careful. At least find out why he came.” Sandy had the strongest fingernails of any human on the planet, it appeared. They continued scratching on the chair arm in one tiny place. The chrome began to disappear as though she were using a tiny Brillo pad.

“Direct him upstairs.”

At the door, Sandy turned once more to Nina, her eyebrow cocked into a final question mark.

“Tell him I’m sorry,” Nina said. The door closed, and Nina went to the tiny mirror by the door, examining the blowy hair, the darkness under the eyes, the brown eyes that now appeared almost amber, translucent in the reflection from the light behind her.

No one had ever hated her, hurt her, or scared her as Philip Strong’s son had. Nina would never recover from the blows, never. Knowing Jim would never come back helped her to sleep at night. She walked a few more steps to the corner of the big window, where she liked to look out over her personal shimmering sliver of Lake Tahoe.

In the outer office, voices competed for airspace, Sandy’s mostly prevailing. Nina recalled Philip Strong as a quiet man, and Sandy seldom raised her voice, so why all the shouting? A crash made her rush to open her office door and take a look.

Sandy, feet stuck to the floor, sturdy as a tripod, gripped the back of Strong’s parka like a bouncer. Sure of her hold, she shoved him implacably toward the door. Strong grabbed the jambs, preventing her from propelling him out, yelling, “I need to see her!”


Sandy paused and looked back at Nina, eyes her usual cold coal black. “Told him you had other plans for him. Upstairs.”

“I’m not leaving!” Philip cried. “This is important, damn it!”

Sandy’s grip tightened. Nina, recalling some old business between Philip and Sandy’s mother, something vague, something that probably made Sandy nuts, said, “It’s okay, Sandy.”

Sandy held tight. Was that a hank of hair stretching between the fingers of her left hand? Philip yelped again. “Really?” Sandy asked after a few moments of Philip’s twisting left and right, bubbling with anger but unable to free himself from her hold.

“Yes,” Nina said.

Sandy let go.

Philip, caught off guard, nearly fell to the floor, tried to regain his balance, and set a hard hand against the wall to steady himself. He pulled a hand through his thinning hair as if to recapture his lost dignity.

Sandy adjusted her belt and brushed off her skirt.

Then they both looked at Nina. “I found a minute,” she said.

“Thank you.” Strong righted himself and said, “Sorry, Sandy.”

“Hnf.” Sandy went to her desk and plopped down to a ringing phone. While she answered it and Philip Strong tucked his shirt back into his pants, Nina took a good look at him.

He had aged. Thick, dark hair that once curled around the bottom half of his skull had diminished to wispy white strands since she last saw him. He had lost weight in two years. He must be in his sixties by now. Even so, he maintained an attitude of physical health, wearing a red parka and jeans that accentuated stringy, once athletic legs. He stared back at her as if he’d forgotten what she looked like. He looks haunted, she thought.

“Come in,” she said, holding the door.

Almost as the door clicked shut, he was saying, “I have news, Nina. It’s killing my family. It might kill you, too. But you need to know.”

She tensed. A threat, not even two minutes into the conversation. She had been right to want him upstairs, not here, in her face, frightening her.

“Jim’s alive. My son’s alive.”

© 2011 Mary O’Shaughnessy and Pamela o’Shaughnessy

Customer Reviews

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Dreams of the Dead 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Perri O'Shaughnessy and her Nina Reilly series but this one seemed to rush to and then through the ending without a proper closure. We had loads of buildup with Kurt, Paul, Bob, and even Kelly and then 'boom' it was all over with a sentence or two. Give us a little more next time please like you did in the other 303 pages. Great story development around the Strong family and the suspense surrounding Jim and the sale of Paradise. Loved how Sandy is always worked into the story so well. Hope it's not so long until we hear about Nina again.
SusieFL More than 1 year ago
I love the Nina Reilly series and look forward impatiently to the next release always! This book was good but too short, didn't spend enough energy on the re-establishment of Nina-Paul relationship and why Bob suddenly decided not to go to Sweden. I like them long and meaty with a lot of interpersonal back and forth. This book was triple spaced and just seemed to be the result of trying to get SOMETHING out there for the fans. A bit of a disappointment. Hopefully won't be the norm !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
O'Shaugnessy keeps you guessing and at the end when you think you know "who done it" you are surprised. Thoroughly enjoyable. A fan.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Lake Tahoe attorney Nina Reilly and Philip Strong share a tragedy. Two years ago, his son Jim killed his adulterous wife Heidi and allegedly murdered his younger brother Alex. Soon after the homicides, Jim vanished and was assumed dead (see Acts of Malice). Philip informs Nina that he was finalizing the selling of his Lake Tahoe resort ski lodge but the sale was blocked in court allegedly by Jim who is apparently living in Brazil. Philip believes the affidavit is a fraud filed by someone trying to obtain his son's share of the receipts. Nina fears Jim lives and remains a threat to her family and friends especially when females associated with casinos are suddenly murdered. The unexpected but realistic twists to this Nina Reilly thriller make for a powerful tale as Nina recalls what her then boyfriend prosecutor said when she defended Jim that. He believed the man was a psychopath who will go after her and her family if he is convicted. She believes he is back in Tahoe while her "protector" Paul von Wagoner knows someone stalks his former lover. Dreams of the Dead is a super thrilling twister. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Page turner for sure, so much happening, tough to leave and put down but I needed to sleep.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best ever book,
MmeRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I did not enjoy this latest installment in the Nina Reilly series. The editing and proofing were so bad that the errors were distracting - there seemed to be one after another.But the worst part was that the story could have ended almost before it began. Convinced that the affadavit from the "son" was a fraud, and considering that there was a living father and sibling, why didn't Nina demand a DNA test? Instead, she sends an untrustworthy PI to Brazil to attempt to find this person and puts Paul in an untenable position.
Cats57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dreams of the Dead by Perri O'ShaughnessyLong time readers of Perri O¿Shaughnessy, pen name for sisters Mary and Pamela O'Shaughnessy, will know that in an earlier book ¿Acts of Malice¿ Jim Strong who is at the heart of this new book, had been taken care of by Paul van Wagoner¿permanently. Or, so we thought. Has Jim come back to life now that his father Phillip wants to sell the fading ski resort? New readers will not have a particularly difficult time getting into this newest book if they do not want to read the others in the series. BUT, I really do encourage you to take some time and read them in order at your leisure. The entire series is well worth it (well except for one book that is.).While this book may not have had the heart stopping action that some of the previous books have had, it has somewhat more of a mystery surrounding everything. Plots within plots¿ mysteries within mysteries. And a great big moral question standing in Nina and Paul¿s way.¿Dreams of the Dead¿ has its usual cast of characters and then a few new ones thrown in for good measure and a bit of comic relief. This book is an intense nail-biting ride. One minute you will think you know for sure what¿s going on and the next you will be flummoxed.If I have any criticism for this book, it is that I¿m wondering just why the Ms.¿s O¿Shaughnessy felt the need of having the character Sandy(Nina¿s aide) writing a book and then adding that book into this one. It didn¿t add any pleasure for me since I felt it was just thrown in as some filler.Still even with that little fly in the ointment, I feel that this was one of the better books that the sister¿s have produced lately and I would recommend this book and this series highly to anyone who likes legal thrillers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not disappoint! You truly feel like your a member of the family watching from the outside. After a few books you can easily visualize Tahoe and the surrounding area. Excellent read from these two authors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never would have figured out who the murderer was...excellent writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please write more Nina books!
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kadydid More than 1 year ago
Once again the pages of O'Shaughnessy's book went flying too fast. I could not stop because I really care about Nina, Paul, Sandy and Nina's family. It is like reading about my own family, perhaps cousins. This book kept you guessing until the end. I changed my mind serveal times as to who the killer was and also the sub plot of whether Nina would realize that Paul is her true love. I love Tahoe and visited there twice so I can picture the scenery. Why did you make me wait so long for a book? Hope another is on its way soon.
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