The Hambledown Dream

I bought this book on a “buy three and get one free” promotion, and to honest I picked it because Dean Mayes was a first time author and I know how hard it is to get started and I wanted to give him a hand up.  I had no real idea what the book was about except that it was about two guitar players. It has languished on my Kindle since November 1st.  I’m getting so many books in my Kindle library that I decided I’d better get caught up on my reading so I clicked on The Hambledown Dream.

What a wonderful surprise it was! This book was way more than I had ever expected.

In Australia:

“How could it have come to this?”

Denny Banister’s life was full of promise. He had success, friends, personality, love and dreams of a great future. And he had magical fingers on the guitar.

Then suddenly he experienced a few days of not feeling well and swollen glands in his neck.   He passed it off as the flu, but when he felt better the lump did not go away.  By the time he went to have it checked out, he had an aggressive form of lymphoma that had metastasized before he ever knew he had it.  It took mere months for his life to ebb away. He was surrounded by family, his hand clasped in the hand of his love when he died. He was 25 years old.

“This is not over were the last words he uttered as he looked into the eyes of his beloved.

In Chicago:

“How could it have come to this?”

A gurney is shepherded along by a medical emergency team dressed in green scrubs. The limp, wasted body of a druggie who has overdosed lies on it. His clothing is dirty and damp. Stringy, greasy vomit stained hair covers the young man’s face and chest. They don’t know who he is; only that he is about 25, that he’d been found unconscious at some rave party and that drugs were involved.

Already additional staff are ready and waiting with emergency equipment set to go. Intervenous—application of defibrillator paddles sending electrical currents streaming into the body; once, twice—no results. Then a desperate third try.

The oppressive blackness that the young man has hung in parts slowly, replaced byshades of grey. There is movement, shadow, texture and a glimpse of something else that he’s not sure of.

“This is not over” a whispered voice echos in the gloom.

The young man fights,coughs, sputters,  and retches.

What is your name? a voice asks

Four days later Andy DeVries rides the train home.  Four days. No one had come to see him—not one person. He knows he has few real friends; most of them are hangers-on, more interested in the drugs he can supply him, than him as a person. Andy is a drug dealer and a courier for the makers of the drugs.  He gets a good cut on what he sells.  But this last event has fingered him with the police.  None of his “friends” will want to have anything to do with him, for fear they will get nabbed.  His legitimate job is working in a pub; but he is their worst employee. Always late, lazy and arrogant.  He and his father have no relationship.

He  has almost died and nobody cares.  Suddenly, Andy feels weary, angry, rejected, afraid and lonely as he makes his way home.

Andy has one passion; his guitar—the only thing of value that he owns.  He attends the school of music at the university, where he studies classical guitar under the tutelage of some of the finest practitioners of the art in Chicago. He has been screwing up all along, missing classes and exams, but this time he missed a crucial exam and he could find himself kicked out.  This is would be a final blow for him.

As the book progresses, Dean Mayes slowly unfolds a paranormal element that is key the story line. Andy starts to remember places, people and a life that he doesn’t know. He changes personally from being a lowlife, to becoming hard working and responsible.  He is given another chance and his music becomes a central focus in his life. His musical ability grows. He has always had talent, but now his fingers work magic on the strings.

He remembers a beautiful face, a love and intimate fragments of a shared life. He wants to find that life, that love, that face.  Is it possible or is it just a dream after all?

“The Hambledown Dream” is a wonderful story of timeless, unforgettable love. Mayes does a wonderful job of “word painting” people and scenes and events. I could feel the energy, see the places and visualize the people and their emotions.

You will find Dean Mayes at

I toast to you a great write and a great read!