Title: None Shall Sleep
Author: Ellie Marney
Published: September 2020
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Readership: Young Adult
Trigger Warnings: Murder/death, violence, blood (a lot of it), reliving traumatic events
I received a copy of None Shall Sleep from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Interviewing convicted juvenile killers for the FBI leads Emma Lewis and Travis Bell on the hunt for a serial murderer who targets teenagers. A riveting YA thriller that will keep readers on the edge of their seat from start to finish.
When they’re drawn into an active case targeting teenagers, everything starts to unravel. Over Travis’s objections, Emma becomes the conduit between the FBI and an incarcerated serial killer, nineteen-year-old Simon Gutmunsson, who is a super-intelligent sociopath. And although Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he’s also an expert manipulator playing a very long game …
Can Emma and Travis stop a serial killer on the loose – or will they fall victim themselves?
Long-time follows of Noveltea Corner will know how much I adore Ellie Marney’s books, ever since I was first introduced them around five years ago. Marney has a fantastic way of sucking you into the story and refusing to let you go for the entirety of the book.
None Shall Sleep is a young adult psychological-thriller that is set in the early 1988s, as the Behaviour Science Unit in the FBI is beginning to gain traction in the United States. In the middle of a serial killer who targets teenagers, one of the FBI agents leading the investigation, brings in two teenagers with unique experiences to interview incarcerated juvenile serial killers in the hopes of gaining insight into the current case. This leads Emma and Travis to Simon Gutmunsson, a sociopath with his own insight – and agenda – to do with the current case.
First up, this is the first psychological-thriller (in long time) that I’ve absolutely adored. I think the premise is fantastic, and setting it in the 1980s when the Behavioural Science unit is still being established allows for a bit of the suspension of disbelief in Emma and Travis being retained to interview juvenile offenders on the behalf of the FBI. It also rather neatly encapsulates a lot of my favourite things from watching Mindhunter and, before that, Criminal Minds.
We have two really interesting protagonists, both with fascinating backstories. Emma survived a serial killer, and Travis’ family were deeply affected by one – and while we get information on both of these events, they took place in the past and are not the central focus of the plot. We see how these events shaped both these characters and how it continues to affect their decision making years later. Add on to that Simon, who was both an entirely disturbing and charismatic character, who is the smartest person in the room, and you’ve got a great cast who you just want to keep reading about.
While we mostly read from the point of view of Emma or Travis, we do get occasionally chapters or sections from the perspective of the characters surrounding them, including Agent Cooper and some of his colleagues, and this allows us some insight into how the adults within the narrative view these younger, untrained people contributing to the case.
Aside from the serial killer plot line (which is fantastic, but if I talk about it, I’ll spoil it), I loved the exploration of these characters as they begun to understand that the way they viewed things within the case were different and unique to others around them. Any scene with Emma interviewing Simon gave me chills, and seeing how it affected her afterwards was crucial to understanding Emma as a character.
This is definitely a page-turner, and not for the faint of heart. There’s a lot of disturbing imagery (we are talking serial killers here) but none of the descriptions of that were ever over-done. It’s definitely something that you might need to turn the lights on to read.