Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

My Rating: 4.5/5 Beans
Author: Kathleen Barber
Pub Date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books


Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father's murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay.

The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

If you know me well, you know that I'm a huge podcast junkie. I have a lot of favorites, but I especially love series that fall into the true crime genre. So when I first saw Are You Sleeping making its rounds on bookstagram, I took a peek at its description and immediately knew that this would be the perfect summer indulgence.

I wasn't wrong. 

For me, Are You Sleeping is not so much about plot twists as it is about character studies. Sure, the ending is somewhat predictable, but the story is so well written that it didn't bother me. It's a truly addictive read, and the reason I'm a little behind on sleep today. 

The pacing of this novel is not unlike the pacing of an actual true crime podcast. It infuses a slow, suspenseful build with bold, intoxicating high points sprinkled throughout that keep you hooked until the very last page. 

"The only thing more dangerous than a the truth."

Kathleen does an amazing job of incorporating Reddit and Twitter feed screenshots, as well as transcripts of the true crime podcast that wreaks havoc on Josie and the past that she so desperately tries to keep hidden. Without even realizing, Are You Sleeping seeps into the readers subconscious and asks us the hard questions: Should someones private life be allowed to be sliced up into bite sized pieces of entertainment? Especially when it involves a murder investigation? 

How far is too far?

I don't know why this story resonated with me so much. I couldn't relate directly with the actual narrative, but I felt a strange connection with the emotions of Josie and several of the other main characters.

Grief, depression, and the importance of being open and honest in relationships. It's all there, hidden under the cracks and the underbelly of this beautiful debut novel from Kathleen Barber. 

At the end of it all, Are You Sleeping is a thrilling examination of what it means to unearth the truth in its most fragile state, and what you decide to do with it...

Are You Sleeping will be available to purchase August 1st! Thank you to Gallery Books for sending over this finished copy for me to review, please note that all opinions are my own.

Are You Sleeping: A Novel
By Kathleen Barber