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  • review by Paul Burston


Since winning the Dead Good Books Most Unreliable Narrator Award for her fourth psychological thriller, The Escape, C.L. Taylor has remained on the bestseller lists. Her last novel, The Fear, was about a woman who’d been groomed as a schoolgirl. Her latest, Sleep, has an equally strong premise. Our heroine, Anna, is involved in a road accident in which two people die and another is badly injured. Riddled with guilt, Anna struggles to come to terms with what’s happened. And that’s just the start of her troubles.

As Anna recovers in hospital, she’s convinced that someone is trying to kill her. Her boyfriend Alex thinks she’s imagining things. But when Anna is discharged, she continues to see signs that something isn’t right – notes left on her car, a growing feeling that she's being watched. Slowly but surely, she and Alex drift apart. And all of this happens in the first 50 pages.

Desperate to make a fresh start, Anna leaves London and escapes to a hotel on a remote Scottish island, where she finds work as a receptionist. As the guests settle in, her fears that someone is out to get her become more pronounced. There’s a storm brewing, the wi-fi is down and there’s no phone signal. Then someone dies and we're in classic Agatha Christie territory. How can Anna sleep when she’s convinced that there's a killer under the same roof?

Sleep is a terrific read – knowing, snappy and spine-tinglingly tense. It kept me awake for two nights running. C.L. Taylor has murdered sleep – and she’s done it in style.

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