Sleep No More by Iris Johansen


Pros: The character of Kendra – Going to have to check out her series!

Cons: Dull, predictable story, that doesn’t show off Eve’s talents

I always liked Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan books. Note the past tense.

Sleep No More disappoints on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with the fact that this book has nothing to do with Eve’s forensic sculpting ability. Even though that’s her career, and the books typically follow a pattern whereby Eve has to reconstruct a face from a skull, identify the person, and figure out the manner of death.

However, in this book, Eve’s dealing with a personal situation. Nothing wrong with that, it’s just that it’s a departure from the usual formula. And I’d be Ok with that, if the situation were exciting and realistic. But in this case, it’s just a mess.

Eve and her mother were never close. This theme is explored throughout the series. So when Sandra comes to Eve looking for help “for a friend” Eve knows there has to be more to the story. Sure enough, there is no “friend”, the situation Sandra describes hits much closer to home. A woman named Beth has been in a hospital for over a decade. Kept drugged into a near-catatonic state. Except now she’s missing. How does a woman who’s been essentially asleep for over 10 years suddenly disappear? And, how is Eve’s mother involved?

Well, I won’t spoil anything for you but suffice it to say that Beth has a very close connection to Eve and her mother. Furthermore, she left the hospital because she knew her life was in danger. Of course this raises more questions than answers. Why would anyone want to kill a near-comatose woman? And why now, after 10 years of constant care?

Eve sets out to find answers. Helping her are her significant other, Joe, who appears in many of the books. And a new character named Kendra. Kendra is a very interesting character. She has a unique skill that I found very refreshing.  I was thrilled to discover that after this introduction, she stars in her own series of books! I haven’t read any of them yet, but I am going to have to check them out.

But back to the story – in the end, it’s exactly what you would expect. Over a decade ago, Beth saw something she was never meant to see. And some very rich people are willing to do – well – pretty much anything – to make sure she never speaks up about it.

That’s it. Nothing very exciting or original. I think the whole point of the book was to give Eve something to do outside her normal work. But it’s dull, and predictable. And it contains even more than the usual amount of paranormal activity that’s typically found in these books. Frankly, I can do without those segments. Even if you’re a huge fan of Eve Duncan, you can skip Sleep No More and not feel like you’re missing a thing.

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