Sleepy Head

sleepyheadSYNOPSIS: The art of inducing fear in a reader via the printed page is a speciality of only a few skilled craftsmen. Mark Billingham is such an author, and Sleepy Head is such a book. The blurb on the jacket warns that we are in for a disturbing experience and that is precisely what we get: “He doesn’t want you alive. He doesn’t want you dead. He wants you somewhere in between”.

The killer who Billingham’s protagonist Tom Thorne is up against is a particularly creepy specimen: he has savagely killed three victims but his fourth, although alive, is perhaps not so fortunate. She has undergone a deliberately induced stroke and although all her senses are intact, she is totally unable to move or communicate. This hideous condition, called Locked-in Syndrome is, however, quite possibly the killer’s first miscalculation … or is it? Soon the dogged Thorne (given to distrusting his own abilities) is playing a cat-and-mouse game with a psychopathic killer. And the brilliant and sadistic killer is just as interested in leading Thorne a merry dance as he is in fulfilling his degraded obsessions.

All characterisations here are spot-on, even the killer (although one wonders just how many more hyper-intelligent psychopaths readers will be prepared to take) while the British setting is handled with intelligence, the horrific set pieces with real élan:

His head moved up, through the hole and into bright white light. He blinked quickly to adjust and opened his eyes. Thorne’s last thought, before his body turned ice cold and began to shake quietly, was that he’d been right to be afraid…

Barry Forshaw

REVIEW: The premise is ok, but I can’t get my head around the barrage of fractured sentences, terrible punctuation, and gross language. There are a lot redundant expressions and repetitive phrases… Seriously, it needs editing to say the least.

I honestly don’t understand what all the hype for this book is about. I gave it a well-deserved one star rating.



6 thoughts on “Sleepy Head

  1. Bad editing will kill a book for me. I often use Amazon’s “look inside” feature and if I find poor editing, grammar, etc., there, that’s enough to make me move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Or, no editing? I know exactly what you mean. I often use Amazon’s feature too, but in this case, (and luckily for me… I guess?) this was a free promotion from Amazon where one gets to pick a free book out of several they are endorsing. I picked based on genre, thinking I might enjoy it… Talk about getting it wrong! 😦

      Thanks Mae! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done, Kev. for your honest review on ‘Sleepy Head’. I paid £780 for my book ‘Where Lies My Heart’,to be professionally edited, published on Amazon in April 2016.


    1. Thanks, Kathy… I strongly believe in being entirely honest in a review. I think Sleepy Head is possibly riding on the back of the author’s previous books or profession?

      Just about anyone can spew words out on a page… That doesn’t work for me, and like myself, you obviously want your work to be the best it can be, and therefore pay to have it edited. The book in question needs a lot more than that, I’m afraid. Thanks for your comment. 🙂


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