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Editorial 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.

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