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Sleepless: A Novel | [Charlie Huston]

Sleepless: A Novel

The world is in the grip of an epidemic of sleeplessness and one man will risk everything to find out what caused it. In his signature style of fast-paced action, outrageous violence, and graphically described scenes, we are tossed into a dramatic turbulence unlike anything you've ever read or heard.
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Audible Editor Reviews

July 2010. Los Angeles. Midnight. Gridlock traffic. An explosion. Then darkness. Amidst this chaos, an armed man named Park calmly weaves his way through the darkened streets. Bombs exploding in city centers no longer frighten Park or most people. More terrifying: lying down in bed at night, wondering if you’ll ever be able to sleep again.

Welcome to the harrowing, apocalyptic world of Sleepless, Charlie Huston’s surrealistic thriller brought to life by Ray Porter and Mark Bramhall, the gravely-voiced narrators who deliver a tour-de-force performance of Huston’s engrossing novel. In a world eerily similar to ours, a mysterious illness leaves people permanently awake and desperately seeking DR33M3R, the highly-prized drug nicknamed “Dreamer” which brings relief to the growing hoard of insomniacs.

Park, an undercover cop, sets out to track down a rumor about an illicit network trafficking Dreamer. Another intelligent, tough, urbane character named Jasper hunts the same prize, but for different reasons. Both soon realize there’s more to this rumor. And you’re wise to be paranoid. Crazy conspiracy theories abound, some of which just might be true. Welcome home, fans of Philip K. Dick and The X Files.

Sounding like a mixture of a world-weary Humphrey Bogart detective and a steel-eyed Clint Eastwood character hell-bent on justice, Porter and Bramhall expertly deliver Huston’s blunt, precise dialogue like boxers methodically dismantling an overwhelmed opponent —one sharp punch at a time. Huston packs a lot of information into each sentence: Los Angeles geography and military jargon, as well as asides about video games, opera, typewriters, French wine, Craigslist, and nightclub etiquette. And yet no matter what the topic, Porter and Bramhall effortlessly toss off each sentence in a James Bond, martini-dry style.

Careful listeners know better. Beneath the stinging sarcasm and gun-blazing bravado, Park and Jasper care deeply about the disintegrating world around them. That’s why both men attack their assignments with a dogged determination. So be warned. Once you start listening to Sleepless, you might suffer from the same sickness as you race to hear the thrilling ending of this frightening yet captivating vision of the not-so-distant future. —

Publisher's Summary

The world is in the grip of an epidemic of sleeplessness, and one man will risk everything to find out what caused it. In his signature style of fast-paced action, outrageous violence, and graphically described scenes, we are tossed into a dramatic turbulence unlike anything you've ever read or heard.

Every day, more and more people have been found to have contracted the illness - they simply cannot sleep. The illness arrives slowly, usually revealing itself in a stiff neck. Then it blooms, keeping one from sleeping altogether, eating away at one's mind, birthing panic and confusion until, finally, one enters into the last few months before death, known as the suffering. Similarly, the disease took hold of the globe slowly and now has infected one in every ten people.

In Los Angeles, a straight arrow cop named Parker T. Haas is posing as a drug dealer, working undercover to prevent the black market trade of a drug known as Dreamer, a drug known to be the only thing that offers relief to people who are sleepless. He only knows so much about the drug itself: It is manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Afronzo-New Day; it is in small supply; it is in impossibly high demand. But in his darker moments, he admits to himself that his interest in the drug goes beyond the professional. His wife, Rose, has been sleepless for months, and they haven't yet found the courage to find out if their infant daughter is also sick. With Rose unwell and behaving erratically, Park's long hours are weighing on him, but he feels like he's on the cusp of learning something crucial. He feels like he's a few steps away from making the world a better place. So he presses on.

©2010 Charlie Huston; (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (135 )
5 star
 (32)
4 star
 (46)
3 star
 (27)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (12)
Overall
3.5 (55 )
5 star
 (14)
4 star
 (15)
3 star
 (16)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (6)
Story
3.9 (57 )
5 star
 (20)
4 star
 (19)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    Lynda Rands Belleville, IL 06-09-10
    Lynda Rands Belleville, IL 06-09-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    35
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Not typical, but very very good"

    I love Charlie Huston's Hank Thompson trilogy (Caught Stealing, etc)- he does full-energy noir better than any modern author since James Crumley. This is a very different book and also wonderful. The narrators did an excellent job of portraying the different first-person voices and the story itself is compelling and terrifying. The first chapter or so is a bit tough to key in to, since you are dropped right in the middle of the story with characters that are not yet introduced, let alone developed. Give it a chance, it's a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Pollack Cumberland, Maine USA 03-14-10
    Andrew Pollack Cumberland, Maine USA 03-14-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    103
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    151
    32
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    1
    Overall
    "Fantastic - Great to see Huston stretching himself"

    I was a bit worried when I read some of the negative reviews. Wow, those people were just wrong.

    Huston sets up a sort of love child between Perfect Dark and Hannibal in this book. The styles and words and descriptions and patters all work together to set the moods. The meticulous perfection of a hired killer and the exhausted over-think of a philosopher-cop cum overstressed husband and father in a city that is disintegrating into chaos around them all.

    Ignore the swapping between the two narrators. It's not quite tied solely to the point of view of the speaker -- I think it's more about the state of pace and style in each part, but even then I'm not really sure. Just go with it and let the voices do the job of setting pace. It works.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Randolph, VT, USA 03-01-10
    Thomas Randolph, VT, USA 03-01-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "true horror is low key and microscopic"

    at the risk of reviewing, reviews I have a feeling that those bored by or confused by this book are the same people that have thumb callouses from texting at 75 words per minute.I probably don't share much genetic stock or communication proclivity with these people and personally think Charlie really told a terrifically detailed and terrifying story here. Anyone who read Steven King's "The Stand" while in the first stages of a cold or flu, will understand when I say, this is what Mr. Huston does with our food supply including the "corn syrup is good for you" commercials.
    I gave the book a 4 star rating only because it scared the heck out of me and I can't recommend anyone not in the right frame of mind reading or listening to it, if I hadn't had corn meal pancakes for breakfast I would have given it a 5.
    Don't share this book with anyone who doesn't realize in what kind of a mess the human race is in, or perhaps you should spread it as far as possible, just because Thomas Malthus was discredited doesn't mean he was wrong.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nichols Charlotte, NC, USA 02-16-10
    Nichols Charlotte, NC, USA 02-16-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Sleeper"

    Thank God my eyes were spared the pain my ears endured, it is so ironic that the the book is about people who can't sleep, when this book would be the perfect cure.This guy could not walk down the isle of a grocery store without describing in every detail every item on every shelf on both sides, and by the time he was done he would have forgotten what he came to the store to buy. I hate wasting money so i said that i would finish the book somehow,but when i found myself wanting to smash my ipod to bits, i figured it was time to count my loss and quit.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Tallahassee, FL, United States 02-09-10
    Ruth Tallahassee, FL, United States 02-09-10 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
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    Overall
    "Very good"

    I loved the two narrators. Porter and Bramhall were terrific. It helped to keep the characters straight. I am not a gamer so I cannot attest to the accuracy but thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of the story. I thought it was a real page turner.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Brooklyn, NY, USA 02-02-10
    Aaron Brooklyn, NY, USA 02-02-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    2
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Great Read"

    Great listen - compelling characters, well read, both narrators were excellent. If you like noir-ish fiction and a reasonably plausible near-future scenario, buy this. Well drawn characters, even the evil mercenary. I listened to this Audiobook even when I had written materials at hand. In tone and prose, it reminded of "The Road".

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rick Salt Lake City, UT, United States 04-17-13
    rick Salt Lake City, UT, United States 04-17-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really?"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing


    Has Sleepless turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes


    What about Ray Porter and Mark Bramhall ’s performance did you like?

    They were fine


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Waste of time


    Any additional comments?

    I bought this based on a couple good reviews by others. I like books of most styles but could never get into this story in any way. My rule is to stay at least 5 chapters just in case my interest picks up. I have only booted a book once after 5 in the last couple years and I listen to two books a month on average when I travel for work. I made it all the way through this book and wish I hadn't.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol 01-23-10
    Carol 01-23-10 Listener Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    REVIEWS
    27
    8
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "If there was less than 1 star..."

    This was the biggest waste of a credit imaginable. The story line sounded interesting, but it was far from that. I finished it, but only because I had nothing else to listen to or read. I normally listen constantly every day to a book, this I kept skipping whole days and feeling like I was wasting my time. Hope he doesn't write anything else.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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