The Sleepwalker

The SleepwalkerThe Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox
Series: Aidan Waits Thriller #3
Publisher: Doubleday
Released: July 11, 2019
Pages: 400
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Show synopsis

As a series of rolling blackouts plunge the city into darkness, Detective Aidan Waits sits on an abandoned hospital ward, watching a mass murderer slowly die. Transferred from his usual night shift duties and onto protective custody, he has just one job…

To extract the location of Martin Wick’s final victim before the notorious mass murderer passes away.

Wick has spent over a decade in prison, in near-total silence, having confessed to an unspeakable crime that shocked the nation and earned him the nickname of The Sleepwalker.

But when a daring premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead and another one fighting for his life, Wick’s whispered last words will send Waits on a journey into the heart of darkness…

Manipulated by a reticent psychopath from his past, and under investigation from his new partner, Detective Constable Naomi Black, Waits realises too late that a remorseless contract killer is at work.

Can Aidan Waits solve his last case before fleeing justice?

Or will his name be next on the hit list?

I went into The Sleepwalker really wanting to like it a lot. After The Smiling Man I was excited to see where the story would go next, or, rather, to see what Aidan Waits would do next. Unfortunately The Sleepwalker didn’t quite satisfy me in the way I hoped it would.

It’s possible that this book would have worked better for me if it had been read immediately after the previous one. While I recalled that Aiden was in trouble, and the constant peril he was in, this is the first of the three books where it didn’t feel real to me. From the start of the book Aidan acted, and the story developed, in a way which felt like it would only be justified if the threat to Aiden was more imminent and severe than it appeared to be. This is probably my fault, as I remember being entirely immersed when I read the previous book ten months ago, but this book never gave me the opportunity to reimmerse myself in the desperation of Aiden’s life. By the end of the book I was getting there, but from the start I was left with having to be told, and take it as a given, that the situation was dire enough to justify Aiden’s desperation, rather than feeling desperate along with him.

The crime that this book revolves around, the turns in takes, and the characters we get to know through the investigation ties the story together quite wonderfully. As with the previous books, the story seems to be less about the crime and more about Aiden, but in this case everything that goes on is related enough to the centrepiece that is the murder that it always looms in a way I didn’t get from The Smiling Man.

The book ends with several loose threads, the reader has to imagine what happened next in a way that felt completely right and satisfying to me. I’m not sure whether these threads will ever be completely tied up, but at this point I’m certain enough that I like Knox as a writer that I’ll certainly buy whatever he writes next – whether it’s tying up these threads, or starting something new.

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