Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

BLOG“The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.”

Recently, I listened to the Serial podcast for the first time and was completely hooked. So when I read the premise of Are You Sleeping I had to read it right away. This psychological thriller focuses on an old murder case that becomes the subject of a wildly popular podcast, and slowly unravels the lives of those involved. Josie Buhrman has done everything she can to escape that time in her life and the attention that came with it. The murder of her father shocked the town, and soon after her mother ran away to join a cult, and the relationship between the two sisters fractured, seemingly beyond repair. Ten years later, Josie is living a completely new life in New York, when a new podcast that is attempting to reexamine the case of her father’s murder becomes a mega-hit. This not only brings unwanted attention, but also raises many doubts regarding the case that Josie has been struggling with.

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“Reconsidered: The Chuck Buhrman Murder was splashed in bold red letters across a fuzzy black-and-white picture of my father. It was the headshot he had used for work, the one where he looked less like an actual college professor and more like a caricature of one, with his tweed jacket, crooked eyeglasses, and thick black beard. The faint twinkle in his eyes threatened to undo me. Daddy.”

Are You Sleeping is told from Josie’s perspective, along with transcripts of the podcast and tweets/messages of its many listeners. It is a fairly quick, easy read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The storyline is interesting and the way the author incorporates the podcast and social media is very well done, adding to the already compelling nature of the mystery itself. A large part of the novel is dedicated to examining the dynamics of Josie’s family, so there are times where it doesn’t feel too much like a mystery/thriller. However, it is all very readable that you can’t help but be completely immersed in the storytelling. This is a solid escape read and a good mystery.

BEST DAY EVER by Kaira Rouda

IMG_5793“I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…”

Paul Strom is a winner. He has a picture perfect life that is the envy of most, with a successful career, a beautiful wife, two little boys that are the image of him, not to mention the large home in a wealthy neighbourhood. Yes, Paul is a winner, and a perfect husband. So today he has planned a perfect getaway for his lovely young wife to their lakeside cottage, and everything is in place to make the day the best day ever. But as the trip unfolds, tension and unease creep in, raising the question of how much they truly know and trust one another.

“The perfect couple is the perfect illusion.”

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Told from the perspective of the man himself, Paul Strom, BEST DAY EVER is a page-turning dive into the mind of a narcissistic and arrogant psychopath. Does that grab your attention? It sure grabbed mine! This is not a typical thriller, and if you prefer a high-paced, action packed, rollercoaster with plenty of twists and turns, this might not be for you. However, if you enjoy a steady, gently-paced read and exploring the mind and thought-process of a twisted personality, then this novel is a great option. I was completely taken in by Paul’s voice from the very beginning right to the end, and truly fascinated by his character. BEST DAY EVER is dark, creepy, disturbing, and as Paul would say, a winner.

“Life: it’s transitory. And in life, there are always winners and losers. It’s nice to be a winner.”