Review By Gabrielle

From start to finish, this highly anticipated thriller did not disappoint.

Favourite Quote:

‘Don’t you ever wonder what you might have done when you were asleep?’

Most people get uncomfortable right around here. The majority of crimes have a distancing factor. We revel in stories about people just like us; but who are also not like us. But sleep doesn’t allow that qualification.

Sleep is the one universal, the night as constant as the day.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

What if your nightmares weren’t really nightmares at all?

We spend an average of thirty-three years of our lives asleep. But what really happens, and what are we capable of, when we are sleeping?

Anna Ogilvy was a budding twenty-five-year-old writer with a bright future. Then, one night, she stabbed two people to death with no apparent motive—and she hasn’t woken up since. Dubbed “Sleeping Beauty” by the tabloids, Anna suffers from a rare psychosomatic disorder known to neurologists as “resignation syndrome.”

Dr. Benedict Prince is a forensic psychologist and an expert in the field of sleep-related homicides. His methods represent the last possible hope of solving the infamous “Anna O” case by waking Anna up so she can stand trial. But the doctor must be careful treating such a high-profile suspect—he’s got career secrets and a complicated personal life of his own.

As Anna shows the first signs of stirring, Benedict knows he must determine what really happened and whether Anna should be held responsible for her crimes.

Only Anna knows the truth about that night, but only Benedict knows how to discover it. And they’re both in danger from what they will discover.

Hang onto your hats for this one, folks. It was a wild ride of a read; there were so many twists and turns that I felt like a kid dismounting a rollercoaster by the end. I was a little dizzy, adrenaline coursing through me, and so wanted to do it all again. This is definitely one of my favourite thrillers I’ve ever read.

The premise of Anna O is simply delicious. I just love thrillers that centre around psychology. For all our research, there is so much we still don’t know about the human mind and it makes for great plots. In this story, we are exploring the science of sleep which is utterly fascinating. Anyone who has come into contact with someone sleepwalking can relate. As a teenager I regularly babysat a girl who would sleepwalk. I would sit in the quiet house after putting her to bed, doing homework, and she would silently appear. She startled me every time. She’d walk around the house picking up items and putting them back down, holding conversations, or getting a drink of water in the kitchen before I could coax her back to bed. She looked and functioned like she was awake, but something was off about it. It was a little freaky if I’m being honest, so perhaps I was particularly primed for this book. The concept that someone might commit a murder while sleepwalking does not seem far-fetched to me.

I loved the structure of the story and how Matthew played with perspective. Most of the book is told from the perspective of Ben (Benedict) allowing us to really get to know this character. I liked Ben and found him to be a well-developed character. A few chapters are from Anna’s notebook, allowing us glimpses into her life leading up to the crime. Here and there, are chapters featuring other characters that are key to filling out the story with other details that the reader couldn’t otherwise know. What is interesting is that these chapters are in the third person, unlike Ben and Anna’s first-person chapters. This gives us a sense of closeness to Ben and Anna. I really enjoyed this choice by Matthew. It made me want to ask him if he made this choice from the outset or if that came about in a later draft. Either way, it is highly effective.

If you are looking for a thriller that will suck you in and keep you guessing right until the end, check out Anna O.

Thank you, HarperCollins for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.