Having just returned from a holiday, it’s time to catch up with reviews of books I read whilst I was in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Today’s book, Sleep, is a fitting start with the jet lag I’m feeling as I could certainly do with some rest!
My grateful thanks to Nelima Begum and Sabah Khan at Avon Books for sending me a copy of Sleep by C.L. Taylor in return for an honest review. I was delighted to host C. L. Taylor on the blog when The Missing was published in a post about Cally’s childhood fears you can see here. I love Cally Taylor’s writing and have my review of The Fear here and of The Treatment here.
Published by Harper Collins imprint Avon on 4th April 2019, Sleep by C.L. Taylor is available for purchase through these links.
All Anna wants is to be able to sleep.
But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…
To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.
Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.
Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.
Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…
My Review of Sleep
A new job on the Isle of Rum is about as far as Anna can get from her past – she hopes…
I always enjoy reading C.L. Taylor’s books because they are twisty, fast paced and exciting but in Sleep I think the author has surpassed herself. Admittedly the reader needs to buy in to all the dramatic events but I had no problem in doing so. I was so sucked into the action that I had no idea what would happen next and at times I found my pulse racing and my heart thumping as I read. The pace is fast and furious, surging along like the storm waters in the river near the hotel. I was almost afraid to put down Sleep in case I missed something!
I loved the claustrophobic setting with a remote hotel, just seven guests and the pathetic fallacy of the storm so that reading Sleep felt a very atmospheric and almost visceral experience. There’s a very visual aspect to the writing too and I think Sleep would make a brilliant TV series or film. The physical isolation is an effective metaphor for the personal isolation all the characters feel.
What works so well is the fact that all the characters have secrets, fears and various levels of guilt or trauma so that I suspected every single one of them as the person wanting Anna dead and had to keep changing my mind as I read. This made for an incredibly exciting and engaging read. In fact, although Sleep is perfectly readable simply as a fast paced thriller, C.L. Taylor’s exploration of motive, guilt and the way in which we make judgments about those around us is an equally compelling element to the narrative. I loved the Shakespearean references to sleep too as they add another layer of complexity and threat.
I raced through Sleep because it held my attention so completely. C.L. Taylor has created a gripping and irresistible story that I found riveting.
C.L. Taylor lives in Bristol with her partner and son. She started writing fiction in 2005 and her short stories have won several awards and have been published by a variety of literary and women’s magazines.
C.L. Taylor was voted as one of the Bestselling Adult Fiction Debut Authors of 2014 in The Bookseller.