Thanks to the folks at Book Promotions here in SA who bring us titles from Quercus, I received a copy of Sleepwalkers. It looked like an interesting title but I knew nothing about Tom and I hadn’t even heard of the novel. I finished reading ‘The Twelve’ first and then got stuck into Sleepwalkers, and three chapters in I was absolutely and completely hooked. And not only because of the flowing writing style.
Sleepwalkers isn’t an Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Horror novel, so I guess that’s why it explains how I missed it – it’s a thriller, and a damned good one, at that.
The novel focuses on two characters – Ben, who is married, has two kids and works as a mechanic, and Toby, a kid who gets bullied constantly.
They are connected, but I won’t spoil just how, and as the story progresses this connection is revealed and tested, with plenty of twists and revelations that I never expected. Plot-wise this book was absolutely brilliant – it kept my mind racing ahead to try and piece together the clues that Ben and Toby found regarding their lives and not once was a left disappointed when I was proved wrong. Both characters are pushed to their absolute limits (there were plenty of occasions when I flinched, grimaced, shook my head, stunned), and in a way I was, too – I literally didn’t want to get back to work, or sleep, or eat on some occasions, and sometimes I just had to put the book down because it was too intense and hectic, sort of like how you force yourself to take a breath after an intense adrenaline rush.
Character-wise, both Ben and Toby were great, although there was another character that entered the tale that sometimes threatened to steal the show. I won’t say anything about this person because I don’t want to reveal who it is, but this character showed depths of resilience, stubbornness and strength that really had be cheering.
Ben put me in mind of the type of man and husband most men want to be, not heroic, but true, steadfast, know what I mean? Even in the face of the growing mysteries of his life he fought like hell to remain true. And Toby was the quintessential bully-target – intelligent, reserved, targeted, and his journey into his own mysteries was wonderful, dark and unsettling.
I haven’t read a thriller quite like this – it not only made me wonder more about the force behind the mysteries but about how I might handle such a situation (rather poorly, I think) – usually dramas are able to pull this off, and sometimes comedy’s, but thrillers are usually about the pace, the inventive situations, the killers, etc. So the drama in this novel caught me off guard with the sincerity and beauty of it and I felt it really worked and added to the tale.
Sleepwalkers has been optioned for television and I’m not sure how it will translate, but this novel is damned good – it was entertaining, it held my attention straight through, had moments that freaked me out, made me swear, laugh, cringe, cheer – I’d definitely watch a TV-adaptation of this novel, but it would have to be exceedingly kickass to even sniff at this novel’s quality.
Really hope this book gets widely read, it deserves legions of fans! Definitely one of my top reads of 2012!
9 / 10
To purchase your copies, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. Check out Tom’s profile at Curtis Brown or IMDB for more info on him and his work. Sleepwalkers has also been optioned for TV – hope it happens!