I finished Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber 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 by Kathleen Barber 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 bated 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!
***This is what Kathleen is doing next! Check out my review for Follow Me by Kathleen Barber. This hits shelves in February 2020.
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The lowdown on Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber from Goodreads
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.