Monday, July 8, 2013

THE RULES OF DREAMING By Bruce Hartman Review and Giveaway $$$50

Bruce Hartman


The Rules of Dreaming

A novel of madness, music — and murder.

A beautiful opera singer hangs herself on the eve of her debut at the Met.  Seven years later the opera she was rehearsing—Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann—begins to take over the lives of her two schizophrenic children, the doctors who treat them and everyone else who crosses their paths, until all are enmeshed in a world of deception and delusion, of madness and ultimately of evil and death.  Onto this shadowy stage steps Nicole P., a graduate student who discovers that she too has been assigned a role in the drama. What strange destiny is being worked out in their lives?

Opening paragraphs

Late last summer, after less than two months at the Palmer Institute, I witnessed an extraordinary performance.  One of my patients, Hunter Morgan (that was not his real name), sat down at the piano in the patient lounge and started playing like a virtuoso.  Hunter was a twenty-one year old schizophrenic who had lived in the Institute for the past seven years, and as far as anyone could remember he’d never touched the piano before.  The piece he played was classical music—that was about all I could tell—and it sounded fiendishly difficult, a whirlwind of chords and notes strung together in a jarring rhythm that seemed the perfect analog of a mind spinning out of control.  He continued playing for about ten minutes and then suddenly stopped in the middle of an intense climactic passage.  Without acknowledging his audience—which consisted of his sister Antonia, his nurse Mrs. Paterson, a few other patients and myself—he stood up from the piano and ran out of the room.
Since I was new at the Institute, the impact of this performance was lost on me at first.  I assumed that Hunter had been studying the piano from an early age.  It wasn’t until later that afternoon, when I reviewed Hunter’s chart and questioned Mrs. Paterson specifically about the piano playing, that I realized how uncanny this incident really was.

“You mean he’s never played the piano before?” 


Bruce Hartman has been a bookseller, pianist, songwriter and attorney.  He lives with his wife in Philadelphia.  His previous novel, Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead, was published by Salvo Press in 2008. 

My Review:
This was weird. I was unsure if these characters were dreaming or just plain crazy. I liked the idea of the different delusions  It makes me wonder what people dream about. I have been told that I talk in my sleep, and that made me wonder if any of these characters talked during their "delusions". I wanted to read this book because of the cover, and the cover fits the book. The suspense had me guessing until he end, and I am still thinking how the ending was even possible. I never would have guessed it.
I love this quote from page 207 :"Nicole laughed. “The killer is always the last person you’d 
suspect, isn’t it? If you’re the detective, that would be yourself.”"
I loved the end, and the poem summed up the book for me very nicely. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.!

Bruce will award a $50 Amazon or gift card (winner's choice) to one randomly drawn commenter.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Buy Link


  1. Good review! Like the reviewer, I also talk in my sleep...although not as much now as I used to. My college roomie said I was quite the conversationalist (and giggler) in my sleep. SO, also like you, I'd wonder if they were dreaming or would talk during their delusions--which I think that people do. Interesting!
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  2. Interesting review. I'm not sure if you liked it or not, but a 4 star rating means it's at least pretty interesting! Thanks for sharing, I'm really intrigued by the differend delusions and dreaming has always been of interest to me.

    andralynn7 at gmail dot com

  3. Don't you love it when a book makes you sit up and say: I didn't see that coming. ? A sign of a well-written story, IMHO. The reality vs. delusions in this story reminds a little of 'The Donors' by Jeffrey Wilson, a horror story with a lot of crap happening but the reader doesn't know if it's real or if the characters are dreaming it, and if it's all a dream, how are different people connected in the same dream.

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  4. Weird can indeed be very good. Loved your review thank you.


  5. It is great to see something new that pushed the envelop. I look forward to the authors "weird" visions

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  6. great review! weird is definitely good!


  7. Music can change lives...
    Thanks for the contest.

    slehan at juno dot com