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Publisher's Summary

A tense, gripping psychological thriller, with Hitchcockian overtones, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Sophie Hannah and Rosamund Lupton.

Lara Finch is living a lie.

Everyone thinks she has a happy life in Cornwall, married to the devoted Sam, but in fact she is desperately bored. When she is offered a new job that involves commuting to London by sleeper train, she meets Guy and starts an illicit affair. But then Lara vanishes from the night train without a trace. Only her friend Iris disbelieves the official version of events, and sets out to find her.

For Iris, it is the start of a voyage that will take her further than she's ever travelled and on to a trail of old crimes and dark secrets. For Lara, it is the end of a journey that started a long time ago. A journey she must finish, before it destroys her....

Emily Barr is the well-loved author of the best-selling Backpack, the original backpacking novel, and 10 other highly acclaimed novels. A former journalist, she has travelled around the world and written columns and travel pieces for the Observer and the Guardian.

©2013 Emily Barr (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

“Thrillingly sinister… Single White Female with a twist, only far, far less predictable” (The Guardian on Stranded)

“Sleep-sabotagingly moreish” (Cosmopolitan)

“Gripping escapism” (Red)

“We can’t praise Emily Barr’s novels enough; they’re fresh, original and hugely readable” (Glamour)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,094
  • 3 Stars
    352
  • 2 Stars
    83
  • 1 Stars
    41

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,820
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    742
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    203
  • 2 Stars
    39
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    32

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    978
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    380
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    48
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Very enjoyable throughout - had to listen constantly, which is why the end was so frustrating . The last two hours moved so slowly and had so much filler that I had to fast forward periodically. This change was very noticeable from the rest of the book. Instead of coming to a satisfying ending with the same intensity that it had all along, it came to a slow flat end.

108 of 115 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 12-21-16

The train derails

It starts off great. A winner for several hours. Then it's like if another writer took over...or as if the author herself had no idea where the story was going. Suffice it to say that the characters end up having the most implausible lives! How could all this have happened to one person? To have the bad luck to have had so many disconnected evil people cross your life! Going into the final two hours, what had seemed like a solid four-star novel had degraded to three/stars already but, omg, the last two hours or so were absolutely unbearable. Ridiculous plot developments, one after another. Ridiculous out of character reactions from practically every character. I thought about stopping but for whatever reason kept going (was probably driving and it would have been too difficult to find another option). Can't recommend.

101 of 108 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • MM
  • 08-24-16

Don't waste a credit

Any additional comments?

I listened to this book on a road trip or I would've returned it about an hour into it. It took 15 chapters to get slightly interesting. Then after all was said and done it was not a good story line! Felt like the book really dragged on and on. I wouldn't recommend it.

85 of 91 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anne
  • Elsternwick, Australia
  • 07-13-13

A compelling listen from beginning to end

What made the experience of listening to The Sleeper the most enjoyable?

This book combines detailed characters with a complex and interesting story. It is told in sections in the first person by Lara and Iris and there are some good subtexts throughout.

Have you listened to any of Imogen Church’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I don't recall listening to Imogen Church but I really like her sound and style.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I have a long drive to and from work, and while I was listening to this story I looked forward to the trip so I could keep listening.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Imogen Church

Fantastic narrator! I find myself looking for books Imogen Church narrates because she embodies each character.

44 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • D.
  • 02-09-16

Good, had to keep listening

Where does The Sleeper rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I really enjoyed it. Similar feel to In a Dark Dark wood, and The Girl on the Train.

What does Imogen Church bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She's an amazing narrator. I would listen to more of her stuff

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

The Big Sleepers

The narrator was great unfortunately this book goes from one extreme to the other leaving you wondering if your listening or in a nightmare. It starts off great.....splendid but leaves you feeling sweet & low.The character's lack depth and the creativity is a Hot Ace Mess...leaving you on the night train lost in a web of a nightmare of the authors auwful imagination.

40 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb story, superb narration!

What did you love best about The Sleeper?

The narration by Imogen Church. She is fantastic!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lara. I loved being inside of her head as she led her double life.

Which character – as performed by Imogen Church – was your favorite?

Again....Lara

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The main character's truthfulness and vulnerability in regards to her life situation, her upbringing/family relationships, and especially her candor in describing her feelings about her life partner.

Any additional comments?

I think I actually liked it more than "The Girl on the Train"

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Phillip
  • GRANT, AL, United States
  • 07-15-15

Great story

Reading some of the reviews prompted me to write this one so that men aren't scared away by it being characterized as "chick lit" as to me this book was far from it. The plot was engaging and well written and Imogen Church is a great narrator and it was in searching for books narrated by her that I found this one. I personally would highly recommend this one.

47 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • jennifer
  • BROOKLYN, NY, United States
  • 09-06-15

Decent page-turner

I love Imogen Church's narration. It improved this good but not great book.
I'd have rather rated the story a 3.5 but that's not an option.

This book held my interest and had a satisfying ending.
But it's not great enough to earn the enthusiasm I have for IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware. Listen to that one! Same narrator. That book blew me away. But I digress.

THE SLEEPER redeems itself by avoiding cheesy love scenes and cringe-worthy dialogue. It does not focus on a hard-bitten detective, thankfully. Contemporary references ground this story in reality, which I also appreciate. It does contain a decent twist. Overall a credit well spent, but not an exceptional experience.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vanessa
  • 02-22-14

Excellent.

Was initially discouraged from listening to this book on reading a bad review; this has certainly taught me that, though we are entitled to our own opinion, sometimes it is worth giving a book a try despite being put off. I am so glad I did!

Excellent suspense thriller, with a well written story and an excellent plot. (No spoilers here!)

The reason I found this book is because I was looking for another read by Imogen Church. As I discovered in the previous book I listened to read by her, I cannot speak highly enough of her narration. She is very easy to listen to and has a lovely tone of voice and accent. Ideal for reading any kind of book. I will certainly carry on listening to any further books, in the genre I enjoy, narrated by Imogen. If I was an author, I would request it be read by this narrator without question.

56 of 58 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • L
  • 09-01-13

Gripping

a very exciting listen. It kept me wondering until the very end. I happened to be listening in the place where the final scene was set so it was spookily realistic !

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • MAGGS
  • 09-14-16

The Sleeper - narrator spoke so slowly she was putting me to sleep

The Sleeper - narrator spoke so slowly she was putting me to sleep , so boring.
I listened to this many some time ago & as I hadn't reviewed it would
Try it again but could as narrator was ssssoooo boring

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-15-18

Two dead cats?.

An investigator leaves her remote Cornwall home for months , leaving her two cats alone ?. No more mention of her beloved pets after telling us that she has no neighbours or friends ,so leaves extra food down. So incredibly irritating , let alone forgetful from the author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • peter
  • 07-22-13

A bit disappointing - more melodrama than thriller

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Probably not. I found this download in the crime and thriller section, but this is a bit misleading. It is sort of 'chick-lit' with a twist. The thriller aspect is quite thin (even though endlessly drawn out) and very much secondary to the rather dramatic (I would say melodramatic) emotional experiences of the two female protagonists. The eventual 'baddie', when he shows his true colours, is almost a caricature villain.

Having said all that, it was a bit of fun and I didn't feel like asking for my money (credit) back. I did keep going to the end.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Shorten it by 25%, mainly by removing some of both Lara's and Iris's more longwinded emotional outbursts.

Have a more believable villain especially towards the end when he reveals himself.

What three words best describe Imogen Church’s performance?

Well done with some pretty awful dialogue.

Her presentation of Sam as the clinging husband was hilarious.

Was The Sleeper worth the listening time?

Just about.

21 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ann D
  • 05-12-18

Compelling and original!

There are so many formulaic books in this genre. The Sleeper is not one of them. It has a intriguing plot, with richly drawn characters. I especially liked fiesty, vegetarian Iris. It would be great if she turned up in later books by this author. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss Claire E Hanson
  • 12-27-16

Great story. Good narration except male voices.

Story was great. A few unexpected twists. Narration was pretty good though some of the male voices sounded almost pantomime which detracted from them a little! Didn't ruin the story though.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • S. Christie
  • 07-12-13

Fantastic!

What made the experience of listening to The Sleeper the most enjoyable?

The narrator was superb. Her ability to perform each part so believably aided my enjoyment immensely.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favourite character was Iris, she was very believable and warm, with immense likeability. She embodied all that is wonderful in true friendship, loyalty, a sense of humour and honesty. I would like a friend like Iris.

Which character – as performed by Imogen Church – was your favourite?

Olivia. Imogen's accent and acting ability is second to none. The tone of her voice summed up Olivia's difficult and dogmatic personality and her moodiness and sulkiness.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I was happy to listen to it in chunks, however, it only took me 3 days to complete it, as I was keen to keep following the plot development. The story really does have you sitting on the edge of your seat, and although it was slightly laboured at times, I enjoyed it tremendously.

Any additional comments?

Absolutely fantastic book, and one I would recommend. I will certainly be reading more by this author.

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 08-13-13

Chick Lit thriller

Would you try another book written by Emily Barr or narrated by Imogen Church?

Never. Quite how she's been published I do not know. If Cecelia Aherne wrote trashy thrillers this would be the outcome.

What was most disappointing about Emily Barr’s story?

Characterisation. She's gone at it with a sledgehammer. There's a line about coffee in the book that literally made me cringe. Read it yourself to discover the horribly flaccid metaphor, bleurgh!

How could the performance have been better?

By the reader deciding not to play every male character as a dope or a spiv.

What character would you cut from The Sleeper?

The lead, Lara, what a wet weekend she is. And her husband Sam. Oh, where to start?!

Any additional comments?

The Sleeper is the kind of novel that makes me feel like I should take up writing, as I'm certain it'd be better than this drivel. The reality is I'd be crap, but seriously does one really want such nonsensical thoughts passing through ones grey matter when one is trying to enjoy a story?

46 of 62 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs
  • 09-02-13

Awful

I've given up on this it was another recommendation from Audible and it is dreadfully slow never mind sleeper I'm in a coma!

15 of 20 people found this review helpful