In All My Sad Dreaming

Mystery & Thrillers

By John Caulfield

Publisher : Better Karma, LLC

ABOUT John Caulfield

John Caulfield
John Caulfield was born in May 1964 in Cape Town, South Africa. He completed his schooling at the South African College School and went on to study at the University of Cape Town where he obtained a degree in English as well as a post graduate degree in Law.           In 1989,  More...



If you love intelligent thrillers, you will not be disappointed by the complex plot with unexpected twists set against the backdrop of the new South Africa, with all its mystery, beauty, and unfathomable contradictions. Captain Blake plunges into a twilight world of inexplicable accidents, mail-order brides, music, madness, and murder. In the shadow of Table Mountain, the city streets appear familiar yet dreamlike. His mission is to trace his attackers, but Blake soon finds himself side-tracked by the cold-blooded execution of a prominent Cape Town attorney. As the investigation races toward its climax, Blake's sense of dissociation intensifies, and it becomes clear that he is struggling, not only to catch a killer, but also to reclaim his sanity, as well as his very life.

To learn more about John Caulfield -

Calling all intellectual crime reader (Colin Dexter / PD James, etc). Caulfield may still be remembered at the Cape Bar in Cape Town, as well as the DPP's Office in Cape Town.


“This atmospheric police procedural with a twist is an example of noir at its finest. A series of deaths draws Captain James Blake out of his hospital bed and back to the streets of Cape Town, South Africa. Four musicians seem to be the victims of a murderer’s spree, but each death is carried out differently; there is no pattern to point to a serial killer. While some of the deaths look like accidents, the grotesque shooting of Norman Filmer leaves no doubt that this was a murder.

Captain Blake, recovering from a point-blank shooting, questions what is real and what is a product of prescribed medications. Methodically, he interviews spouses and girlfriends, learning about mail order brides, music, and accidents. A photo of the musicians and a successful album, In All My Sad Dreaming, hold clues to the deaths. Captain Blake fights a growing feeling of disassociation, visions flitting at the edge of his sight, and confusion as he draws ever closer to the killer.

The first-person perspective creates an intimate bond between reader and narrator. For example, readers are not able to look dispassionately at death. They feel what Blake feels and see what he sees—up close and personal. “On the wall behind the settee, a fist sized mess of blood and gore still clings to the grey wall, and as I stare at the dark stain, a cold emptiness begins to sweep through my soul,” he says.

One feels Blake’s fragility and unease; his confusion and frustration are enhanced by strange visions. One incident reoccurs throughout the book: “I scramble out of the chair and hurry towards the door. There is a tinkling sound, and I glance down to see a small silver object spinning on the tiles between my feet…I crouch down to investigate, the curious object vanishes into the ether.”

With a talent for creating an aura of suspense and mystery, John Caulfield holds the reader in his hands, carefully doling out clues and bizarre facts, such as the musical notation of a gull’s cry: “She laughs. ‘The cry of the gull—it’s an augmented fifth, a special chord. It’s always the same interval, you see.”

The book draws to a close much as it began: “The hospital is behind me now…” Between these bookend paragraphs, the author crafts an intriguing, multi-layered novel. Caulfield resists the need to explain and trusts the reader to understand. He maintains a cat-and-mouse game between author and reader, but fairly played. No withheld clues are foisted at the last minute, no dead ends, misdirection, or convoluted trail of bread crumbs. A few extraneous words do weaken the Caulfield’s authority. But this otherwise masterfully crafted, multi-layered mystery will bring pleasure to anyone who enjoys a dark, ethereal, cleanly plotted police procedural.”> 5-Star Dawn Goldsmith – Clarion Review<


“The race against oneself is not usually one to save your own sanity. "In All My Sad Dreaming" tells the story of James Blake, a man who finds himself in a haze after an attack leaves him hospitalized. Trying to find out why he is the way he is, his journey takes him deeper into the culture and underworld of South Africa, giving readers a glimpse of the African nation that few understand. "In All My Sad Dreaming" is a riveting psychological thriller, sure to please.”> 5-Star Mid-West Book Reviewer<