Charlie Huston, Sleepless. Ballantine, 2010. ISBN 978-0345501134 368 pp. $
The premise of this confusingly narrated novel is revealed on page 36: about a year ago, 10% of the population began experiencing a weird disease that prevents them from sleeping, and within a year, leads to death. It’s now a widespread epidemic. Narcotics cop Park is part of an undercover investigation to find a black market drug called Dr33m3r that is a cure for the disease; heightening the stakes his wife and
newborn daughter both have the disease. The story is told from an omniscient POV, Park’s first person diary entries (unlabelled) and an unknown third character.
It’s so hard to get a grip on this story, because the reader is immediately catapulted into gritty gripping action scenes, but they don’t appear to be connected right away, and it’s unclear who is speaking, with poor transitions and little characterization. I set this aside after four chapters.