Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian (audio)

Title: The Sleepwalker
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Series: Sleepwalker, #1
Narrator: Cady McClain, Grace Experience
Published: January 2017, Random House Audio
Length: 9 hours 35 minutes
Source: Library
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire--the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night.

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge.

The morning of Annalee's disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee's husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs' Victorian home.

As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee's disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?

Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers.

My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Chris Bohjalian but it certainly will not be the last. It's also the first book in his new series and I have to say I found it so interesting! There is a prequel to this book, The Premonition, which I found out about after finishing this book, so I really need to get my hands on that book before the next book in this series comes out.

I found the way this story was told to be completely engaging and thrilling! A woman who suffers from sleepwalking has gone missing and it is from the perspective of her 21-year old daughter that we see how her family is handling what has happened. Interspersed within these chapters are details about the history of sleepwalking that I found to be utterly fascinating. I admit I really didn't know all the much about this topic.

I liked the characters in this book - I found them to be well-developed and interesting. I wasn't sure about the detective that we meet. I questioned the relationship that he develops with Liana, especially given their age difference and then when we find out that he has a history with her mom - my radar went up! Was this just me being overly suspicious or is there more to this that he is just not saying? 

This book is filled with intrigue and twists and turns. It really got under my skin. The confusion and grief that this family was dealing with was so palpable. I was as desperate as the family to find out what happened to the mother. And all the information we are given about sleepwalking kept me hooked.

I really enjoyed this book and loved the ending - I definitely didn't see that coming and am excited to see where this series is heading. I am anxious for the next book to come out, but definitely need to pick up the prequel to this series, The Premonition - I need to see if any pertinent information is given to us in that short story. I also plan to pick up a few other of Chris Bohjalian books as I really enjoyed his storytelling skills - any suggestions of where to start? 

Audio thoughts: This was a good audio to listen to and while both narrators were new to me, I enjoyed it. I thought that Cady McClain did a great job telling the story and Grace Experience did a good job with the history of sleepwalking. At times, it was a bit stilted, but overall, it was good.

Books in this series:

     0.5  The Premonition
     1.     The Sleepwalker  


1 comment

  1. I have loved MANY of Bohjalian's books. I can recommend Skeletons at the Feast, Midwives, Trans-Sister Radio, and many others. He's awesome. I definitely will get to this one at some point.


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