The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian

sleep

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Book Blurb from Goodreads.com:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night.

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee’s disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods.

Annalee’s husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs’ Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee’s disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?

Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers.”

My Review:

Annalee Ahlberg had always been afflicted with sleepwalking. Her sleepwalking activities produced events where she would leave her home and be rescued by family members. Afterwards, Annalee would have no recollection of her night-time activity. Her daughters, Lianna and Paige Ahlberg, thought that their mother’s condition was under control.  One morning they awake to find that she is missing from the family home.

Lianna takes a break from her college studies to help run the family household during the investigation of her mother’s disappearance. While the family waits and fears for the worst, Lianna becomes involved with Gavin, the young detective assigned to the case. Lianna learns that Gavin is also a sleepwalker and was good friends with her mother through a sleepwalker support group.  Through Gavin, she learns more about her mother’s disorder and is a unsettled about the nature of their friendship.  As time passes, Lianna begins to examine her mother’s whereabouts before her disappearance. She questions her friends, doctors and support groups in hopes to understand her mother’s affliction. The family continues to remain hopeful but on edge until Annalee is found.

This story is enhanced by providing great insight into the mystery of sleepwalking. The female characters are very real and you forget that the book is written by a male author. The combination of intrigue, drama, and uncertainty makes this a good read.

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