Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sleep No More
Sleep No More
© 2002 Greg Iles
Circumstances warranting my reading a third Greg Iles this book , which is a bit unusual. I have in times past read two books in one week by the same author, but I think reading multiple books by the same author in the same genre is a first. Iles makes it easy: his books are thrillers, genuine page turners. I can hammer through one in one day and not feel fatigued in the least. Sleep No More was the Iles book I'd intended to begin the week with, but my sister checked it out before I could and so I read Third Degree instead. As it happens, though, I'm babysitting for her and have her library books available for reading as well as mine.
Sleep No More is set in Natchez, Mississippi, as were The Quiet Game and Third Degree. Unlike the former Natchez books, however, this is not a first-person Penn Cage narrative. The book is written in the third person, and from the perspective of a husband and wife whose lives are thrown into confusion and chaos shortly after their daughter's victorious soccer game. Was it the underdog team winning that threw the universe into chaos? No. Instead, a woman named Eve Sumner walks by main character John Waters and whispers in his ear a phrase known only to him and his college love -- a woman whose passions consumed his life, in ways both good and bad. That was a love ended by her rape and death at the hands of unknown strangers in New Orleans.
Eve -- and through her his former love Mallory -- begin to haunt John. When he confronts Eve about the mystery phrase, she enrages him by telling him that she is his former love -- come back from the dead. Such was the effect of Mallory on John during his college days that Eve has resurrection his obsession with her, and together they begin an affair even as John struggles with the truth of the matter. Is she really the soul of his former -- and now present -- love, or is this some elaborate scheme? His friend Penn Cage -- hello, Penn, fancy seeing you here -- seems to think so. Cage is not a believer in the supernatural, and he believes that Waters' corrupt business partner Cole is trying to disrupt Water's life in some way for his own selfish benefit. Things only grow more mysterious after Eve dies and Waters' wife Lily begins acting like a woman posessed.
The book is a thriller: its opening premise is quite interesting, and Iles executes the tension well. I did not expect the plot to go the way it did. Like his previous offering, Sleep No More does not fail to entertain, although after three books of his in the same week, I am (understandably) growing weary of Iles' sexy southern gothics. A break may be recquired.