Author: Romy Hausmann
Publication Date: 24th June 2021
It’s over, my angel. Today I’m going to die. Just like her. He’s won.
It’s been years since Nadja Kulka was convicted of a cruel crime. After being released from prison, she’s wanted nothing more than to live a normal life: nice flat, steady job, even a few friends. But when one of those friends, Laura von Hoven – free-spirited beauty and wife of Nadja’s boss – kills her lover and begs Nadja for her help, Nadja can’t seem to be able to refuse.
The two women make for a remote house in the woods, the perfect place to bury a body. But their plan quickly falls apart and Nadja finds herself outplayed, a pawn in a bizarre game in which she is both the perfect victim and the perfect murderer . . .
I was a huge fan of Hausmann’s debut novel Dear Child so I was very much looking forward to reading Sleepless and, whilst very different from Dear Child, it is every bit as quietly chilling, intelligently written and well paced. The story follows Nadja, a woman convicted of a terrible crime in her childhood. Since her release she has been trying to build a quiet and easy life for herself which is thrown into chaos when her friend and boss’s wife, Laura, enlists Nadja’s help after killing her lover. However, things are not as cut and dry as they first appear.
Sleepless has three narrative strands in play at the same time and at first it is unclear how they connect but each one slowly draws the reader in and leaves you wanting more. It does take a while for the threads to intertwine and they do so in a way that is both unexpected and fascinating. Sleepless is quite an unusual book – it maintains a rather sinister atmosphere throughout and the way the story turns itself on its head more than once is a testament to Hausmann’s skill as an author. Her writing is sharp yet sensitive and despite Nadja being a bit of an enigma I was still on her side in this twisted tale. I don’t want to give anything away about the twists and turns of the narrative but I will say it really took me by surprise more than once. There’s a creeping intensity to Sleepless that I just loved and the themes of guilt, trauma, culpability and justice make for a unique and eerily compelling read. I’d definitely recommend to thriller fans looking for something a bit outside the norm.
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.