Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reading Report: The Innocent Sleep

Written by Karen Perry
Henry Holt and Company, 2014; 323 pages

As The Innocent Sleep begins, Harry and Robin are young artists living in Tangier with their son Dillon.  One night, while Harry is preparing a birthday dinner for Robin, he suddenly remembers that he's left her gift at the café in town. Robin is still at work, and the café is only a five minute walk away, so Harry decides to run out while three-year-old Dillon is asleep upstairs. Dillon is a problem at bedtime, as he doesn't sleep easily, so once in a while Harry has been in the habit of slipping small amounts of sleeping pills into Dillon's nighttime drink -- something he knows is wrong, but on this night it does solve the difficult problem. Also on this night, though, disaster strikes. While Harry is out, an earthquake hits the city. Dillon is apparently killed when the house is destroyed, although his body is never found.

Five years later, Harry and Robin have moved back to their native Dublin and are trying to rebuild their lives, while still grieving for Dillon. Harry's career as an artist is beginning to take off and Robin, who has abandoned art to study architecture, has just discovered she's pregnant again. Things seem to be going well enough, until Harry gets a glimpse of a child he's sure is Dillon on a crowded Dublin street, and the past -- along with its secrets -- comes crashing back on them.

Could the child really be Dillon? How could he have survived the earthquake? And how would he have ended up so near them in Dublin? Was the sighting just a figment of Harry's guilt-ridden imagination? Or is someone playing a cruel and dangerous game?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this one very much, in spite of a few slightly bothersome complaints. All the way through, I kept having the niggling feeling that there was just too much coincidence and convenient turn-around going on. But then it is a thriller, and you know, going in, there will definitely be surprises, twists and about-face plot developments. So I just made up my mind to go with the flow. As it were.

Also, the frequent changes in narrator/point of view got tedious very quickly. The two main characters, Robin and Harry, take turns narrating the chapters -- and I'm getting a little fed up with that technique. But those were really minor flaws and not enough to spoil the reading experience for me.

Certainly a book I'd recommend to anyone looking for a quick, suspenseful read.

(Just gotta say this. The whole time I was reading The Innocent Sleep, I had trouble getting beyond the fact that the author, "Karen Perry," is actually a two-person writing team -- Dublin-based authors Paul Perry and Karen Gillece. Not that I care whether or not a book has multiple authors; I think that's fine. But why not just use both names?)

I received my copy of The Innocent Sleep free of charge from the publisher, through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. No other compensation was received, and no one influenced my opinion of the book.

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