Reviewed by Marte
TITLE: When all the World Sleeps
AUTHOR: Lisa Henry & JA Rock.
NARRATOR: Greg Tremblay
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 12 hours and 11 minutes
REALEASE DATE: January 12, 2017
Daniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so: he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper’s house—with Kenny inside it—after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night.
Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn’t believe Daniel’s absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar, tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night—for the sake of the other townsfolk. Daniel’s fascinating, but Bel’s not going there.
Yet as he’s drawn further into Daniel’s dark world, Bel finds that he likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace he’s ever known. But Daniel’s demons won’t leave him alone, and he’ll need Bel’s help to slay them once and for all—assuming Bel is willing to risk everything to stand by him.
Phew, this was a rough one. It was very emotional, twisted and dark, but so amazing. It’s a book that leaves you drained, but at the same time glad to have read it.
Daniel Whitlock has been sleepwalking ever since he was a boy. He walks and talks as if he’s awake, but he is in fact sleeping. He has no recollections of his actions during these episodes, and it has landed him in all kinds of trouble over the years. For instance, during one of his sleepwalks he makes a crude comment to another guy in town, Kenny Cooper. Kenny then attacks Daniel at a later date (when Daniel is awake), and brutally beats him to an inch of his life. No charges are filed even though “everyone” knows Kenny and his friends did it. Small town, you know. After Daniel recovers, one night he sleepwalks and sets fire to Kenny’s house with Kenny still inside and Kenny burns to death.
The story takes place several years after Kenny’s death. Daniel did his time for it. His defense was sleepwalking, and the whole town feels he got off too easy and think the sleepwalking is bullshit. Everyone in town shuns him. He is the town’s freak. Kenny’s friends harass him. Daniel lives alone in his cabin out of town, hiding in a way.
Daniel is depressed. He struggles with huge amounts of guilt. He feels he deserves the towns judgment of him, but most of all he is sleep deprived. He fears sleeping. He’s trapped. He does whatever he can to stop himself from sleepwalking, including chaining himself to his bed.
“Do you know what you do, when all the world sleeps?”
I fuck everything. I kill people. I’m crazy.
Daniel has a run-in with Joe “Bel” Belman, the local cop. Bel has had a crush on “the weird Whitlock kid” since he was young, and takes an interest in him after some incidents. He starts seeing the real Daniel. The Daniel who hasn’t had anyone looking after him or talking to him kindly in years, and who doesn’t think he deserves to be happy. But Bel wants Daniel, even though he’s fucked up.
Daniel and his struggles just broke my heart. Bel becomes his life line, his rock. Bel is kind, patient, and willing to help and show him the kindness Daniel has missed all his life. The narrow-minded people in the town, including Daniel’s parents frustrated me to no end. So much shit kept happening to Daniel even though he tries so hard to keep out of trouble. Daniel and Bel start a relationship, but it’s hard, especially for Bel, to know the boundaries for their relationship. Bel doesn’t believe Daniel is indeed sleep walking in the beginning, but the more he sees, the more he believes. Daniel behaves like another person while he sleepwalks. He gets bolder, and more seducing. Bel doesn’t want to take advantage of Daniel like that. Bel also needs to deal with Daniel destructive thoughts too. Daniel wants to punish himself for being like this, and for what he has done.
Daniel and Bel’s developing friendship and relationship is profound, and beautiful to watch. It warmed my heart seeing Daniel get some compassion and love. I’m satisfied with the end where I could see good things for them in the future.
Lisa Henry and JA Rock’s writing and storytelling is phenomenal. As always, I should say, their stories are always something special. Daniel and Bel’s story is not easy. It’s not pretty. It’s dark and emotional. There is love, though, but it isn’t a feel-good book. I felt emotionally exhausted after reading. There were scenes that pushed my limits, and squeezed that familiar emotional ball I get in my stomach when I read Lisa and JA’s stories. They have a way with words that just pulls my emotional strings.
The audio is done by Greg Tremblay. If you know your narrators, you will know he is one of the best. He is certainly one of my favorite narrators. His narration of When All The World Sleep is just fantastic. He makes the story, and character come alive. Through his narration you can really feel how the characters feel, the desperation, the frustration, the love and relief.
When All The World Sleeps is an amazing story, expertly narrated and brought alive by Tremblay. It’s one of my best reads/listens. Highly recommended, but brace yourself.