Chris Bohjalian’s The Sleepwalker had me reading until I found out whodunnit. Unfortunately, I read until I went to bed – and then had trouble going to sleep. I resisted googling “sleepwalking” – better not to now how factual the references were.
Bohjalian’s sleepwalker is a beautiful architect with an English professor husband and two girls, one a college senior, the other nine years younger; she suffers from a sleepwalking condition that may have caused her death. Her history reveals a night when she almost jumped off a bridge and another when she spray-painted the hydrangea in the front yard – remembering neither event.
When Annalee’s sleepwalking seems to be in remission, her husband leaves for an out of town conference, despite the possibility she might walk into the night without him nearby in bed. The next morning, her daughter discovers her missing, and as the search continues, possible perpetrators emerge until finally the body is found – only to restart the investigation and the story in a different direction.
Throughout the plot, red herrings draw the reader into fake paths, highlighting character flaws and revealing salacious possibilities. Bohajlian builds the suspense with background on each of the suspects – the husband, of course; the detective who shared coffee and her condition; possible unknown lovers. But I never guessed who really did it and how, despite the killer’s short ramblings of anonymous notes between the chapters. No spoilers here.
A fast-paced thriller with Bohjalian’s trademark surprise ending, The Sleepwalker is a mystery with Gothic tones and Alfred Hitchcock intrigue.