Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

Parasomnias are a big part of the plot in The Sleepwalker. They are more than just sleepwalking, There are additional sleep problems like sleep sex, night terrors, and nightmares. Typically a person experiencing a parasomnia might be hard to wake and once awake they might not remember at all what happened while they were experiencing the episode.

Lianna's mother is a sleepwalker. One night while everyone is asleep, she leaves the house and disappears. It's presumed she was sleepwalking and something happened to her that prevented her coming home. Lianna experienced episodes of sleepwalking and night terrors when she was younger. Now she is worried a little about what might happen to her and her sister if they experience the same sort of behaviors.

During a massive search for her mother, Lianna meets a detective with the State Police who was also a friend of her mother. Gavin and her mother had formed their own sort of mini support group since they had parasomnias in common. Lianna finds herself drawn to the detective. They begin a covert sort of dating relationship.

The Ahlberg family doesn't want to give up hope on finding Annalee, but the longer she is gone, the less likely it is they will recover her alive. This kind of tension in the family is hard on them all, but particularly it would seem on Paige, Lianna's younger sister.

The mystery continues for the rest of the book. There are red herrings and suppositions. As the book progresses, the speed of the action increases. By the time I reached the end I was reading as fast as I could. It was a real page turner.

Structurally, each chapter is introduced by what could be a journal entry by another voice. The rest of the book is pretty much written from Lianna's point of view. You wonder who it is that is saying the things in the beginning of the chapter about their experiences with parasomnias. As the mystery goes on, the things seem to take on more and more potential for revelation, but without an identity.

The writing is beautiful. The sentence structure is varied and words are well chosen.

Overall, I give t his book 5 out of 5 possible stars. It's a good mystery/thriller written beautifully. Lianna makes a great narrator. I liked the structure of the different voice at the beginning of each section. And I stayed up half the night to finish it risking a book hangover, but I had to know what was going to happen next. This is the first book I've read by this author. I will have to read more of his works,

If you enjoy books where you might learn a little (in this case about parasomnias)  and a  mystery that becomes a bit of a thriller then you should find this book enjoyable.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.