The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian: A Review
The Sleepwalker by Christ Bohjalian is not your average mystery novel. The investigation of the disappearance of a woman who sleepwalks is intertwined with a bit of psychological thrill and romance. Annalee Ahlberg's husband rarely goes out of town without her because of her sleepwalking but after years of incident-free nights, he decides to attend a conference. That night, Annalee goes missing and shortly after, a very small piece of her nightgown is found stuck to a tree branch near a river not far from her home. Her family wonders whether she has accidentally drowned, intentionally jumped into the river, is walking around with amnesia, or if something more sinister has happened to her. Her daughter, Lianna, who has suffered from sleepwalking in the past, begins a relationship with the detective who has been assigned to Annalee's case. Through this relationship, Lianna finds out that the detective, Gavin, has been friends with her mother because he also suffers from parasomnia. Lianna digs into Gavin's history and begins to wonder about her own sleepwalking past as she tries to find out where her mother might be.
I found that the first half of this book moves somewhat slowly but the second half more than makes up for it. This book not only left me asking "whodunit" but whether or not this was a whodunit, at all. There is a lot of fascinating information about the different kinds of parasomnias and their effects on the sufferers and the family of the sufferer. This book is also about the relationships between married people and the secrets that are kept between family members. Most of the characters in this novel were not the most developed but there were some intriguing revelations made about some of them as their secrets were unveiled. This book can be emotional but it is not overly sad. There are some graphic parts but they were not enough to turn me away from the narrative. The relationship between Lianna and Gavin was an interesting romance. Lianna always wonders how close her mother and Gavin were and what that means for the relationship. I was left still rooting for them to be together, though. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to just about any reader. You don't have to be a fan of mystery or suspense to like this book because there is enough psychological drama and romance to keep the story going to readers of all genres. I am excited to read more from Bohjalian in the future!
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