“The Sleepwalker” Book Review

Author: Chris Bohjalian

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Type: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸


One morning, Annalee Ahlberg’s children wake to discover that their mother has disappeared in the middle of the night. Knowing that their mother suffers from sleepwalking, Lianna and her sister Paige immediately contact their father who is out-of-town for a conference along with the police and neighbors to get a search party going. With no clues to where Annalee went, aside from a small piece of fabric from her nightshirt which is found hanging from a tree branch by the Gale River, the search eventually fizzles out.

With the case having gone cold due to a lack of clues and a body, Annalee’s daughter Lianna works to understand both her mother’s sleepwalking and who she was as a person. As Lianna delves into her mother’s history, she finds herself being drawn to one of the detectives investigating her mother’s disappearance, Gavin Rikert. With mounting questions about: what drew her mother out of bed that night? what exactly Gavin’s relationship to her Annalee was? If her mother is in fact dead, where is the body? Lianna slowly puts the pieces of what happened that night together as clues prove to be slow in forthcoming.


I was fortunate enough to receive a galley copy of Chris Bohjalian’s newest book, The Sleepwalker from the publisher and as with other books I have read by Mr. Bohjalian, this was a truly enjoyable and unique story to read. This is also going to be a hard review to write as I don’t want to give away too much, but I’ll do my best. One of the main things I loved about this book was how much it taught me about sleepwalking and the different types of sleepwalking that exist as I knew next to nothing about this condition. The characters were wonderfully fleshed out and I found that I was just as frustrated as the main character Lianna was in her search to figure out who her mother was and what happened the night of the disappearance.

Upon learning what happened to Annalee, I couldn’t help but feel like Lianna in that I knew all along what happened that night, as the clues were provided to me earlier in the story but I didn’t want to believe that was what happened. The old adage, of often the simplest answer is the correct one came to me as it proved to be true. Despite silently berating myself for not figuring it out sooner, I still enjoyed the story and can’t help but marvel at the fact that once again, Chris Bohjalian has managed to weave such a complex and intricate story that not only held my attention but provided just the right amount of misdirection and red herrings to keep me second guessing where I thought the story was heading.

Even though I loved this book, and I love the writing style, I gave it a four out of five rating because I found the first part of the book to be a bit slow. Despite this, the book did pick up in pace and drama for me once I finally settled in and I ended up flying through the second half of the book with no trouble.

If you’re a fan of Chris Bohjalian, you definitely do not want to miss this book.



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