Created by Paul Tremblay
"It's about two o'clock in the afternoon, early March. In South Boston, that means a cold hard rain that ruins any memories of the sun. Doesn't matter, because I'm in my office, wearing a twenty-year-old thrift-store wool suit. It's brown but not in the brown-is-the-new-black way. My shoes are Doc Martens, black like my socks. I'm not neat and clean or shaved. I am sober but don't feel sober."
-- opening paragraph, The Little Sleep
Would-be tough guy South Boston P.I. MARK GENEVICH has a little problem. He can't stay awake.
Hes narcoleptic, which means he can't help from dozing off at the most inopportune times -- and he's got it bad -- he's also prone to hypnogogic hallucinations. Not exactly the sorta malady you want your private detective to suffer from. That's why, as he explains, he doesn't do much actual "fieldwork." "I research. I do genealogies, find abandoned properties, check the status of out-of-state warrants, and find lost addresses.... I'm no action hero. I find stuff in the internet ether."
So Mark's there one day, surfing the 'Net, when a young woman, a contestant on an American Idol-like show, waltzes into his office claiming a man stole her fingers, it's not like she had to wait in line. But when Mark realizes it must have been a hallucination, he stilll can't explain the manila envelope containing risqué photos of the same woman that he finds on his desk later. So, is it a blackout or blackmail? And is the fact she's the DA's daughter important? And that the DA may have been one of Mark's late father's friends?
Yeah, I know it sounds goofy and far-fetched as hell, but the author's done his homework. Of course, the title of the first book in this proposed series (The Little Sleep) is a deliberate shout-out to Chandler (check out that opening paragraph), but this wacky and wicked spin on the genre recalls nothing so much as Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn.
At times the plot seems to just drop off, only to veer suddenly in another direction, much like Mark coming off of one of his "little sleeps," and more than once the plot doubles back on itself; Mark being an infuriatingly unreliable narrator, but ultimately his relationship with his long-suffering and protective mother, Ellen, redeems him and grounds this mystery, making The Little Sleep one of the more original and possibly even inspiring novels of 2009.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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