Reviews of dark fiction (Under Construction)

No Sleep Till Wonderland by Paul Tremblay

Being that I enjoyed THE LITTLE SLEEP so much, I was excited to see the next in the series was available from NetGalley. I clicked on that request tout sweet and here we are.

NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND continues the story of Mark Genevich, P.I. and narcoleptic. With his dark, dry and wry sense of humor, I can’t help but feel sorry for the man. This time around Mark is hired by a man to follow his woman to see if she’s cheating on him. It’s all over pretty quickly when Mark discovers that she’s clean as a whistle. Then, somehow, Mark is caught up with a new best friend, (sort of), he’s pulling people out of burning homes, (kind of), and of course, he’s falling asleep and hallucinating and can’t tell what’s real. That’s just another day in the life of Mark Genevich.

I admit to still being fascinated by narcolepsy, which involves a lot more than falling asleep all the time. However, this being the second book now, I feel like I’m being hammered over the head with repeats of the different ways the situation affects Mark. I’m sad to say that Mark’s self-deprecating humor about his situation is also getting tired for me. I like the guy, but enough already.

Lastly, I’m having a hard time finding the whole thing believable, to be honest. In this book, Ellen, (Mark’s mom), is requiring him to go to therapy if he wants her to keep his office open. Let’s face it, a detective that falls asleep all the time-how successful is he going to be? Mark smokes, he drinks and he’s not supposed to drive. It costs money for cigarettes, liquor and Ubers or cabs. Is his mom paying for all that too?

Setting those particulars aside, there was a big reveal here that took my legs out from under me, and there were a few very tense scenes as well. I learned a bit about Cataplexy in this book and now that’s like my number one new fear. Imagine being awake and cogent, but unable to move or speak. (So yeah, now you can be afraid of it too.)

The mystery here ebbed and flowed, but it just didn’t get under my skin like the first book did. I still like Mark, but he has to take some control of his life. Otherwise, he’s getting kind of boring. I wish I could report this book was just as good as the first, but I don’t feel like it was. However, I remain eager to continue with the series in the hopes that Mark cleans up his act in the future and maybe comes up with a little bit of new material.

Thanks to NetGalley and William Morrow for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!

No Sleep Till Wonderland Book Cover No Sleep Till Wonderland
Mark Genevich Series, Book #2
Paul Tremblay
Crime noir, Dark Fiction
William Morrow
04/20/2021
E-Arc
304
NetGalley

Narcoleptic Southie PI Mark Genevich returns in this sequel to The Little Sleep from the Bram Stoker Award–winning author of Survivor Song and The Cabin at the End of the World.

Like most private eyes, Mark Genevich is something of a lone wolf. So group therapy isn’t a great fit. But his landlord/mother is convinced it will help his narcolepsy—ignoring the fact that his disorder is a physical condition. Truth is, he has the time. It’s been a year and a half since his last big case, or any case.

It’s never a wise choice to go on a two-day bender with someone you meet in group therapy, but there’s something about Gus that intrigues Genevich. And when his new drinking buddy asks him to protect a female friend who’s being stalked, the PI finally has a case. 

Unfortunately, he’s about to sleepwalk right into a very real nightmare. Before long he’s a suspect in an arson investigation and running afoul of everyone from the cops to a litigious lawyer and a bouncer with anger management issues. Genevich must keep his wits about him—always a challenge for a detective prone to unexpected blackouts and hallucinations—to solve the crime and live to show up at his next therapy session.

In Paul Tremblay’s follow-up to The Little Sleep, unreliable narrator Mark Genevich once again leads readers on a surreal and suspenseful wild ride through the mean streets of South Boston and his own dreamlike reality.

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