Book Review: Sleepwalkers by Tom Grieves

book cover: Sleepwalkers

book cover: Sleepwalkers


A disturbing, gripping psychological thriller that keeps you guessing to the end

What the blurb says: “Blink. Keep your eyes open. Blink. That’s it. Don’t go back to sleep, not yet. If it weren’t for the nightmares, Ben would say he had a good life. He’s happy with his steady job, and loves his wife and kids to death. But it’s hard to ignore the dark, violent images that are so vivid that he often worries that the dreams are real and everything else around him is a lie.

Toby also suffers from nightmares. And the scars on his fifteen-year-old body are a ghostly reminder of actions he doesn’t remember or understand. Two people, two separate, unremarkable lives.

When their dreams and doubts collide and become too powerful to ignore, one fact will become clearer than any other – that the truth they are running towards is the very thing from which they should be fleeing.”


Rather like The Matrix, Sleepwalkers has the characters, and therefore the reader, questioning ‘what is the true reality?’ Three strangers – Ben, Toby and Anna – want to find out. Family-man Ben wonders if he’s just ungrateful for his seemingly pleasant albeit average family life, and is haunted by violent nightmares. Teenage Toby puzzles over how he came to have the scars that line his body, and if they are linked to the strange dreams he’s been having. And teacher Anna wonders whether this really is all there is in life. As their paths join, and they set out to discover what the truth really is, they discover that their lives are more connected than any of them could have guessed.

As Ben and Toby try to work out why their dreams seem more real and more vivid than their waking hours they discover a truth more shocking than they could have ever imagined. I found that I quickly cared about these characters and wanted them to succeed in their quest, even though I feared it could end badly for them. As the danger drew closer (I won’t tell you what – no spoilers here) I found myself holding the book tighter and reading faster and faster.

Tom Grieves’ writing is stunning: pacy, bold and completely absorbing.

In this action filled, disorientating and gripping story, nothing is exactly as it first seems. Sleepwalkers had me reading well into the night, unable to put the book down, and trying to puzzle out the truth (and what the characters will do when they find it) right to the end.

Highly recommended.

My Favorite Books of 2012

My favorite books of 2012

My favorite books of 2012

At this time of year everyone seems to be making lists of their top ten, twenty, fifty or hundred things of 2012.

So, just to be a little different, I’m not going to make a list.

Instead, I’m going to talk about my five favorite books of 2012 and why I loved them. And I’ll talk about them in the order that I read them in.

Here goes …

Talking to the Dead by Harry Bingham (Orion). This part police procedure, part psychological thriller follows Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths on her first murder case. It’s beautifully written, darkly quirky, and leaves you wanting more. And luckily for us there will be more. I believe the second book in the Fiona Griffiths series will be out in 2013.

The Fall by Claire McGowan (Headline). This  crime thriller tells the interwoven stories of three strangers – Charlotte, Keisha, and DC Matthew Hegarty – who are thrown together in the aftermath of a murder in a nightclub. With hugely compelling characters, a super-rapid pace and numerous twists and turns, it’s a real page turner. Claire McGowan’s next book, The Lost, is definitely one to look out for when it comes out in April 2013.

The Affair by Lee Child (Bantam Press). Another great Jack Reacher novel. This one is set six months before the opening of Killing Floor and follows Reacher on a mission in a small town in Mississippi. It’s everything you’d expect – quick-paced action, imaginative problem-solving, a love interest, and the bad guys getting Reacher’s very own brand of justice.

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne (Headline). This young adult crossover novel is a real rollercoaster read. In diary form, it tells the story of Emily Koll, Archway Young Offenders Institution’s most notorious inmate. It’s sad yet funny, tense yet light-hearted, chilling yet warming, and fragile yet powerful. Through Emily’s story of love, grief, hate and revenge, you discover what drove her to do what she did.

Sleepwalkers by Tom Grieves (Quercus). This gripping psychological thriller follows the stories of adult Ben and teenage Toby – two strangers experiencing vivid and terrifying dreams – as they try to make sense of the jumbled up fragments of forgotten memories that haunt them. A real edge-of-your-seat read, I found this story un-put-downable.

So, there you have it. My favorite books of 2012.

What were your favorites?