Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber Book Review
The lowdown from Goodreads
Publication Date August 1, 2017
Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.
The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.
Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.
When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber Book Review
I finished it a while back & have been thinking of the best way to review it because there are so many things I enjoyed. Let’s get started.
First off, the idea of a podcast looking into a murder is perfectly timed. Everyone I know was crazy about Serial. Jessica & I were totally hooked on the S-Town Podcast, which has a similar premise. The main character, Josie, hears that a podcast is looking into her father’s murder. It’s re-examining what Really happened the night of his death & it throws her for a loop. Josie has spent the last several years running from her family’s complicated history. She’s changed her last name, traveled around the world & tried to keep a low profile. Even her live-in boyfriend doesn’t know the truth about her family.
The main character, Josie, hears that a podcast is looking into her father’s murder. It’s re-examining what Really happened the night of his death & it throws her for a loop. Josie has spent the last several years running from her family’s complicated history. She’s changed her last name, traveled around the world & tried to keep a low profile. Even her live-in boyfriend doesn’t know the truth about her family.
Podcasts, murder, twin sisters & a cult
Of course, this is no ordinary murder case. What fun would that be? Her twin sister, Lanie, supposedly witnessed the murder & placed their young neighbor as the culprit. He was sent to prison & he continues to maintain his innocence. Soon after their father’s death, their mother ran away and joined a cult. This unexplained act left the twins without parents. Instead of the sisters turning towards one another for support, Lanie goes off the deep end & betrays Josie’s trust. All these years later, there is still a wedge between them. Josie gets word her mother died & she’s forced to travel back to her hometown. Here she will face everything she’s been avoiding. She does this while trying to evade the notoriety from the podcast, which is no easy feat.
Kathleen does a heck of a job depicting the anxiety & stress that is placed on Josie by forcing her to face what she has spent years running from – her family and its sordid history. Are You Sleeping is ripe with suspense, family secrets, misplaced trust & a longing for closure & understanding. At the heart of the story are the questions of what Really happened that night? What did Lanie actually see? Can Lanie or Josie be trusted? Why did their mother leave them?
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber is one of my favorite books of 2017 & y’all know I am Really Into mysteries. Not since my girl, Claire Mackintosh has an author kept me waiting with baited breath. Something about this family & these characters is so relatable. I am a 48 Hours lover & reading this book from the view of the family changed my perception of how some of these murder stories can be exploited and/or open deep family wounds. Overall, this was an intriguing & satisfying read & I can’t wait to see what Kathleen does next. I am Really Into This!
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Kathleen Barber was raised in Galesburg, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law, and previously practiced bankruptcy law at large firms in Chicago and New York. A registered yoga teacher and incurable wanderer, when Kathleen isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband.
Her debut novel ARE YOU SLEEPING will be published on August 1, 2017 by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. It is also forthcoming from Pan Macmillan in the UK, Corbaccio in Italy, Heyne in Germany, HarperCollins Ibérica, and Michel Lafon in France.