A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian - Feature and Review


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.



The SleepwalkerThe Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian is a 2017 Doubleday publication.

This book caught my eye when it started to crop up on my Goodreads feed. So, I made a request for my Overdrive library to buy a copy of the book and would like to thank them for adding it.

Touted as a suspenseful thriller, ‘The Sleepwalker’ delves into the murky world of sleep disorders. What happens when someone walks in their sleep? Could they engage is risky behavior? Could they harm someone or themselves?

That is what is on the mind of Lianna Ahlberg when her mother goes missing. Did her sleepwalking condition play a role? Are all the rumors about her to be believed? Was she in an accident or did something far more sinister take place?

This story is a little moody and there is an edgy atmosphere that left me with an uneasy feeling all the way through the book, unsure who to believe or who to trust.

The sleep disorder theme, which is a major thread throughout, touches on Parasomnias, and sleep sex. Some of the imagery and symptoms made me feel a little uncomfortable, but, the topic is fascinating and prompted me to do a little internet search on it.

While the story has its intense moments of psychological suspense, it was also a story about family and all its complexities, especially when coping with such an unusual family trait.

However, the story took a surprising turn towards the end and I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about it and still don’t, to be honest, it is thought provoking and the storyline is original.

Fans of Psychological Thrillers will enjoy this one.





Lincoln, Vermont’s Chris Bohjalian is the author of 20 books, most of which were New York Times bestsellers. His work has been translated into over 30 languages and three times become movies.

The paperback of his new novel, "The Guest Room" -- a literary thriller about a marriage in crisis, two remarkable women, and human trafficking -- was just published.

He also has a new novel arriving on January 10, 2017, "The Sleepwalker." (You can read a prequel to it, a 40-page e-short called "The Premonition," on November 29, 2016.)

His books have been chosen as Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Hartford Courant, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, Bookpage, and Salon.

His awards include the ANCA Freedom Award for his work educating Americans about the Armenian Genocide; the ANCA Arts and Letters Award for The Sandcastle Girls, as well as the Saint Mesrob Mashdots Medal; the New England Society Book Award for The Night Strangers; the New England Book Award; Russia's Soglasie (Concord) Award for The Sandcastle Girls; a Boston Public Library Literary Light; a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Trans-Sister Radio; and the Anahid Literary Award. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and a New England Booksellers Association Discovery pick. He is a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

He has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. He was a weekly columnist in Vermont for the Burlington Free Press from 1992 through 2015. 

Chris graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College, and lives in Vermont with his wife, the photographer Victoria Blewer. Their daughter, Grace Experience, is a young actor in New York City. Among the audiobooks she has narrated are "Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands," "The Guest Room," and a part of "The Sleepwalker."

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