24 days is all it takes‘
– The Sleeper Lies
[ About the Book ]
ONE WINDOW, THREE LIES
I step forward, breathing fast. Movement. I force myself to take another step. I think about all of it, all of the deaths and all of the accidents and all of the pain. And I know what I need to do.
It’s March 2018, and the country is covered in snow. Roads are impassable, shops are running out of food, and official advice is to stay indoors. Marianne lives on her own and works from home, so this isn’t a problem. Until she wakes one morning in her house in the middle of nowhere and finds footprints trailing all across her garden. Half-asleep, she is at first curious. Then she realises the footprints stop at her bedroom window, and curiosity gives way to unease. Who was looking in at her, while she was asleep?
As the big freeze worsens and the stalker begins to leave disturbing mementoes, Marianne’s thoughts go back two decades to the schoolyard outburst that tore her childhood apart. Old feuds resurface, and the mystery of her mother’s death is pulled back into focus. Marianne begins to see patterns – is there a link between her stalker and the true crime story she’s been obsessively researching, or does the answer lie closer to home
In the end, 24 days is all it takes for everything to come crashing down.
[ My Review ]
The Sleeper Lies is the latest novel from Andrea Mara. Having just been published on February 6th with Poolbeg Press it is garnering plenty of praise from across the writing community and beyond, with Roz Watkins, author of Dead Man’s Daughter, describing the book as “creepy, twisty and unsettling, with relatable characters and a truly gripping plot.”
The Sleeper Lies is a story contained in a story taking the reader on a journey from a small community set in the Wicklow mountains to a small town in Denmark.
March 2018 and Marianne is housebound due to a big freeze. Living in a remote part of Wicklow, Marianne is unfazed by the weather warnings. She works from home, she can stock up locally, if necessary, by walking to her local village, and she has her online sleuthing community to keep her company. Waking up to a winter wonderland, Marianne looks out her window, initially taken aback to see footprints outside her house. Marianne suspects the postman, a kindly neighbour perhaps, but when the realisation kicks in that these footprints lead right to her bedroom window, Marianne is suddenly afraid. As more snow falls, the footprints are covered up but Marianne knows what she saw.
The house Marianne now lives in was her family home. Following the death of her father, Marianne returned from her city life and settled back in to living in such a rural setting, as her work was flexible and easily managed remotely. Marianne is constantly filled with reminders of her past and the history that is hers. The house is full of memories, both good and bad. After a few unsettling months Marianne was beginning to enjoy life again…until now.
As the days pass, Marianne receives other sinister messages, all small but enough to cause her concern. With the local police informed, Marianne attempts to continue with her day-to-day life but she starts to rethink her past and a possible connection with these recent rather threatening happenings. Marianne loves amateur sleuthing, so although concerned she is also intrigued about what is going on. As Marianne begins to pull back the covers of her past, she is about to make some very frightening discoveries.
Andrea Mara has interwoven multiple narratives throughout The Sleeper Lies, with red-herrings aplenty to capture and keep the reader’s attention. As mentioned at the beginning of my review, The Sleeper Lies contains a story within a story so full concentration is required to avoid confusion. To be honest I almost felt that the secondary story would have made an excellent stand-alone in it’s own right so I guess it’s fair to say that the reader is getting double the thrill when reading this book!!
The atmosphere is unnerving, in particular scenes from Denmark. There is a permanent chill in the air throughout. Marianne’s character is well fleshed out as her stress levels rise and she is faced with many lies and some dreadful truths. There is more than one unsavoury character in the story which helps add to the overall disturbing element and keeps the reader alert at all times.
The Sleeper Lies is another highly enjoyable read from Andrea Mara. Packed with suspense and lots of chills The Sleeper Lies is a complex and threatening tale. A foreboding, dark and very atmospheric read.
[ Bio ]
Andrea Mara lives in Dublin with her husband and three children. She blogs about balancing work and home at OfficeMum.ie
The Sleeper Lies is her third book. Her first book, The Other Side of the Wall, was shortlisted for the Kate O’ Brien Award 2018, and her second book, One Click, was shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of the Year at the 2018 An Post Irish Book Awards
Twitter ~ @office_mum