Fresh Meat: Sleep No More by Iris Johansen

Sleep No More by Iris Johansen is the 14th Eve Duncan forensic sculptor thriller (available October 16, 2012).

Sleep No More is a thriller with just a hint of the paranormal. That paranormal element is nothing as concrete as a werewolf or a vampire but is there nonetheless in a couple of inexplicable phenomena.

Eve Duncan and Joe Quinn are pulled into an investigation of a missing mental patient by Sandra, Eve’s mother. 

As in most thrillers, we have intrigue—why was the patient in the hospital in the first place, who is paying for her upkeep, why is the hospital itself not being truthful, and did she just wander off or did she escape? The action, the suspense, and the intricate plot are all there but I’m not giving any of that away here—just know that people are chased, people are injured, people die, there are plots within plots and more than one person has a separate agenda.

Because Eve and Joe are working nearly blind, having to piece everything together from the beginning, and the author gives us some of the bad guys’ points of view, the pacing can get a little slow at times. But there is enough action to keep the pages turning.

This book is heavily populated with greedy, self-centered, evil characters who tend to hold equally some capacity for genius and pure stupidity. One of the legs underneath the entire plot is Rick Avery, a man with the charm of Johnny Depp—ensuring that every woman within the sound of his voice immediately trusts him, but with the morality of a three-year-old child. 

Beth was looking at him with an expression of growing horror. “She was twelve years old.”

“She had a hard life. I gave her enough money so that she’d have a choice whether she wanted to go with any other man again. I wanted to make sure that our time together was only good for her.” His hand stroked her cheek. “So stop looking at me like that, Beth. It hurts me.”

“I don’t want to hurt you,” she said dully. “But twelve years old, Rick. Why?”

He didn’t speak.


“It’s hard to explain.” He shrugged. “It’s just…preference. Why not? I told you that I didn’t hurt anyone. I made them feel good, not bad.”

“And… how did you feel, Rick?”

“I loved them,” he said simply. “They were fresh and sweet and like the first breath of spring. Nothing complicated, just bright and happy and wanting to make me happy.”

His mother Nelda, too, is a serious piece of work but she fits right in with greedy Dr. Pierce, the sexy and manipulating Stella, the downright mean hypnotist Dr. Gelber, and the evil voodoo assassin.

Basically though, this book boils down to three things: the pervasiveness of greed, the desire for power, and the importance of family on our general makeup.

See more coverage of new releases in our Fresh Meat series.

April Dawn is an avid reader who will get her nose out of a book long enough to walk the dog but frequently burns dinner due to “I’ll just read to the end of the chapter” syndrome. She reviews fantasy novels at because, hey, anything is more exciting than her everyday life!


  1. Maria (bearmountainbooks)

    Great review! I am NOT a fan of multiple POV, especially that of the villain. Some of the fun of a novel is having to “guess” what motivates the bad guys and the mystery of who they are. Plus…those sections are generally more “creepy” than “mystery” to me.

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