BUTCHER OF DREAMS
A Suspense Novel About The Theater
Reading Groups - Suggested Questions
- What characteristics make Lee Fairchild a sympathetic heroine? What life experiences & choices have added to her vulnerability?
- Lee faces several conflicts as she strives to create the repertory theater of her dreams. Personally, what is she trying to overcome? What worries does she have about the success of the theater as the season-and the book-begin? As the novel reaches crisis, her personal conflicts within herself and with those around her gradually mount, as well as her professional concerns in her role as executive officer of the theater. What random & disturbing events threaten the success of the theater? Discuss the growing personal conflicts she's experiencing. Do these personal concerns interfere with what she's hoping to accomplish with her repertory theater?
- Many of the characters in Butcher of Dreams are unique. They exhibit personality quirks that may pique suspicion and distrust in the mind of the reader. Consider these characters: Ernst Kromer; Alan Dunbar; Barry Blackwell; Fleur Mahoney; Samantha Read; Michael Day, and Eric Mallory. What distinguishes each of these characters? Can you cite specific behaviors or personality quirks that aroused your suspicion or dislike? How do their actions affect Lee?
- Did you find the setting of Butcher of Dreams interesting? Authentic? The mix of New York off-Broadway theater types with the denizens of Hell's Kitchen created an erratic and threatening mood. What are some of the strange happenings and frightening events that threaten the success of the theater? Who seems most suspicious as the bizarre events and violence start to occur? As these events begin to threaten Lee personally, are your early suspicions confirmed or negated?
- The suggestion of the occult and belief in the supernatural are intertwined with the action and the characters of the story: Lee's Aztec mask with the curse connected to it, the murders on the third floor, Walter's interest and research about Nagualism, the Cult of the Animal Protector. This focus intensifies as the action evolves. What additional "clues" suggest that an occult presence is involved?
- Even minor characters add to plot development and increase tension at times. Consider the street bum, Eric, Carl, Harry, Walter. How do these characters complicate, cloud, or enhance the plot?
- The sociopathic, psychopathic personality plays a role in the novel's action. Several characters display borderline characteristics that might make them a suspect. Who are these characters? What traits did you recognize as dangerous? Drugs also play a role in erratic behavior. What suspects seem to have an affinity for drug use?
- The "bohemian" lifestyle often lived by artistic individuals is suggested through the characters in Butcher of Dreams. Did these alternate lifestyles concern or disturb you? Consider Alan and Walter, Heather and Amelia, Samantha and Barry, Lee and Michael.
- Consider Lee's relationships with her co-workers (Alan, Barry, Fleur, Harry, Kromer, Samantha., etc.); her "investor" Damon Collyer; Detective Green; Walter; Michael? Would you consider her effective in her dealings with these people?
- How would you evaluate Lee as a parent? Is she a good mother? Does she have a healthy relationship with her daughter?
- To discover that Detective Green is an aspiring actor seems an almost-tongue-in cheek comment about the New York mentality. Do you know any want-to-be artists who are striving to "make it" in New York while keeping "body and soul" together through other employment? What other characters desire a more active involvement in the theater world? Do you think that Detective Green takes a personal interest in the strange happenings surrounding the 42nd Street Repertory Theater? If so, what motivates this interest? Do you think the motivation changes as the novel progresses?
- Did you enjoy the novel? What part was most interesting? What characters did you find most sympathetic at first? How did these feelings change as the novel progressed? Consider Lee, Michael, Alan, Kromer-and any others that seem to stand out.
- Were you satisfied with the ending? Why or why not? At the close of the book, what future do you predict for Lee?