Sleepless

Sleepless

by Charlie Huston

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Overview

What LAPD cop Parker Hass wants is a world both safe and just for his wife and infant daughter. But then a plague of insomnia strikes. Working undercover as a drug dealer in a Los Angeles ruled in equal parts by martial law and insurgency, Park is tasked with cutting off illegal trade in Dreamer, the only drug that can give the infected their precious sleep. After a year of lost leads, Park stumbles into the perilous shadows cast by the pharmaceutical giant behind Dreamer. Somewhere in those shadows a secret is hiding. Drawn into the inner circle of a tech guru with a warped agenda, Park delves deeper into the restless world. His wife has become sleepless, and their daughter may soon share the same fate. For them, he will risk everything. Whatever the cost to himself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345501141
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/28/2010
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.92(w) x 11.34(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Charlie Huston is the author of the bestsellers The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death and The Shotgun Rule, as well as the Henry Thompson trilogy, the Joe Pitt casebooks, and several titles for Marvel Comics. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


park watched the homeless man weave in and out of the gridlocked midnight traffic on La Cienega, his eyes fixed on the bright orange AM/FM receiver dangling from the man's neck on a black nylon lanyard. The same shade orange the SL response teams wore when they cleared a house. He closed his eyes, remembering the time an SLRT showed up on his street at the brown and green house three doors down. The sound of the saw coming from the garage, the pitch rising when it hit bone.

Techno-accented static opened his eyes. The homeless man was next to his window, dancing from foot to foot, neck held at an unmistakable stiff angle, flashing a hand-lettered sign on a square of smudged whiteboard:

blessings!!!

Park looked at the man's neck.

The people in the cars around him had noticed it as well; several rolled up their windows despite the ban on air-conditioning.

Park opened his ashtray, scooped out a handful of change, and was offering it to the wild-eyed sleepless when the human bomb detonated several blocks away and the explosion thrummed the glass of his windshield, ruffling the hairs on his arms with a rush of air hotter than the night.

He flinched, the change falling from his hand, scattering on the asphalt, the tinkle of it hitting and rolling in every direction, lost in the echoes bouncing off the faces of the buildings lining the avenue, the alarms set off when windows were shattered and parked cars blown onto their sides.

By the time the coins had stopped rolling and the homeless man had gotten down on his hands and knees to scrabble for his scattered handout, Park was reaching under his seat for his weapon.

The Walther PPS was in a holster held to the bottom of the driver's seat by a large patch of Velcro. Clean, oiled, and loaded, with the chamber empty. He didn't need to check, having done so before he left the house. He took it from its holster and dropped it in the side pocket of his cargo pants. It was unlikely any of his customers would be this far west, but it would be typical of the universe to send one just now to see him with a sidearm clipped to his waist.

Climbing from the car, he closed and locked the door, secure in the knowledge that the traffic jam would not be breaking up before sunrise. He was working his way through the cars, all but a very few of them sealed tight now, their occupants rigid and sweating inside, when the street was plunged into sudden darkness.

He stopped, touched his weapon to be sure of it, and thought about Rose and the baby, asking the frozen world to keep them safe if he should die here. But the darkness didn't invite any new attacks. Or if it did, they were yet to come. More likely it was an unscheduled rolling blackout.

He edged between the cars, watching a man in a sweat-twisted suit pounding the horn of his newly scarred Audi, raising similar protests from the cars around his. Or perhaps they were intended to drown out the screams coming from the flaming crater at the intersection.

Those flames were the brightest illumination on the street now, almost all the drivers having turned off their engines and headlights to conserve gas. He could feel them on his face already, the flames, baking the skin tight. And he remembered the cabin in Big Sur where he took Rose after they first knew about the baby, but before the diagnosis.

There had been a fireplace. And they'd sat before it until nearly dawn, using what had been meant as a weekend's supply of wood on their first night.

His face had felt like this then.

He tried to recall the name of the cabin they had stayed in. Bluebird? Bluebell? Blue Ridge? Blue something for sure, but blue what?

Blue Moon.

The name painted just above the door had been Blue Moon. With a little star-accented teal crescent that Rose had rolled her eyes at.

Are we supposed to think we're in fucking Connecticut, for Christ's sake?

He'd said something in response, some joke about not cursing in front of the baby, but before he could remember what it was he'd said, his foot slipped in a great deal of someone's blood, drawing him back to the present, and the flames here before him.

The wiper blades on a Hummer H3, one of the few vehicles with intact glass this close to the blast, were beating furiously, cleaner fluid spraying, smearing blood, batting what looked like a gnarled bit of scalp and ear back and forth across the windshield, while the young woman inside wiped vomit from her chin and screamed into a Bluetooth headset.

Looking at a man on the edge of the crater, his entire jawbone carried away by a piece of flying debris, Park only wondered now at the instinct that had made him take his weapon from the car rather than his first-aid kit.

zzz

it wasn't the first human bomb in Los Angeles. Just the first one north of Exposition and west of the I-5.

The sound of the detonation rolling across the L.A. basin and washing up against the hills had brought me out to my deck. One expects the occasional crack of gunfire coming from Hollywood on any given night, but the crump of high explosives in West Hollywood was a novelty. A sound inclined to make me ruminant, recalling, as it did, a pack of C-4 wired to the ignition of a VC colonel's black Citroen in Hanoi, as well as other moments of my youth.

Thus nostalgic, I came onto the deck in time to see a slab of the city, framed by Santa Monica, Venice, Western, and Sepulveda, wink into blackness. Looking immediately skyward, knowing from experience that my eyes would subtly adjust to the reduction in ground light, I watched the emergence of seldom seen constellations.

Under these usually veiled stars, the city burned.

Only a small bit of it, yes, but one of the more expensive bits. A circumstance that would no doubt have serious repercussions.

It's all well and good in the general course of things if Mad Swan Bloods and Eight Trey Gangster Crips want to plant claymore mines in Manchester Park, or for Avenues and Cyprus Park to start launching RPGs across Eagle Rock Boulevard, but suicide bombers less than a mile from the Beverly Center would not be tolerated.

Uncorking a second bottle of Clos des Papes 2005, I rested secure in the knowledge that the National Guard would be shock-trooping South Central and East L.A. at first light.

Nothing like a show of force to keep up the morale of the general citizenry in times of duress. The fact that the display would be utterly misdirected and only serve to brew greater discontent was beside the point. We had long passed the stage where the consequences of tactical armed response were weighed in advance. Anyone with the time and wherewithal to put a map on a wall and stick pins in it could see quite clearly what was happening.

I had such a map, and said wherewithal, and many pins.

If red pins are acts of violence committed by people traditionally profiled as potentially criminal perpetrated against those who have not been so profiled, and yellow pins are acts of violence perpetrated between peoples traditionally so profiled, and blue pins indicate acts of violence carried out by uniformed and/or badged members of the soldiering and law enforcement professions upon peoples so profiled, one can clearly see patterns of tightly clustered yellow pins, encircled by blue pins, concentrated to the far south, east, and north of the most prime Los Angeles real estate, which is, in turn, becoming pockmarked by random bursts of red pins.

It is, on such a map, the vastness of the territory devoted to yellow-on-yellow acts of violence and blue responses in relative proportion to the wee acreage dotted with red, that should give one pause.

It looked, upon little or no reflection, like the pustules of a disease spreading inexorably against the feeble resistance of a failed vaccine, carrying infection along the arteries of the city, advancing no matter how many times the medics raised the point of amputation up the ravaged limb.

That it was a symptom of a disease rather than the disease itself was an irony I never chuckled at. There being little or no humor to be found in the prospect of the end of the world.

But I did appreciate it. The irony, and the fact that the disease that was killing us ignored the classifications and borders that defined so clearly for so many who they should be killing and why.

The disease didn't care for distinctions of class, race, income, religion, sex, or age. The disease seemed only to care that your eyes remain open to witness it all. That what nightmares you had haunted only your waking hours. The disease considered us all equal and wished that we share the same fate. That we should bear witness as we chewed our own intestines, snapping at what gnawed from the inside.

It wished that we become sleepless.

I could sleep.

Choosing, that night, not to.

Choosing, instead, to pour another glass of overrated but still quite good Rhone into an admittedly inappropriate jelly jar, and to settle into an overdesigned Swedish sling chair to watch that small, expensive fragment of the city burn.

Herald, I knew, of worse.

7/7/10

today beenie said something about Hydo knowing "the guy." What's encouraging about this is that I didn't ask. Hydo called for a delivery and I went over to the farm to make the drop (100 15mg Dexedrine spansules). He asked if I wanted a Coke and I hung around long enough to scroll through my texts and map my next couple deliveries. Beenie was there, making a deal to sell some gold he'd farmed, but mostly just hanging out with the guys. Hydo passed around the dex to his guys and they all started speed rapping while they hacked up zombies and stuff. One of them (I think his name is Zhou, but I need to check my notes) started talking about his cousin going sleepless. The other guys all started telling their own sleepless stories. Beenie asked if I knew anyone. I said yes. They all talked some more, and the one guy (Zhou?) said he put an ad on Craigslist to trade a level 100 Necromantic Warlord for Dreamer to give his cousin, but the only response he got was from a scammer. That's when Beenie looked at Hydo and said, "Hydo, man, what about the guy?" Hydo was in the middle of an exchange in Chasm Tide. His front character was on his monitor in the Purple Grotto, getting ready to pass off the gold to a Darkling Heller as soon as one of the guys confirmed that the PayPal transfer had come through. But everyone stopped talking right after Beenie spoke. Just Hydo talking to the Darkling on his headset, telling him he'd throw in a Mace of Chaos for another twenty euro. He was acting like he hadn't heard what Beenie said. But he gave him a look. And Beenie started shutting down his MacBook and said he had to roll. I pocketed my phone and finished my Coke and said later.

Beenie was my first in with the farms. I met him at a party on Hillhurst. He knows a lot of people. They like him. If he says Hydo knows "the guy," it might be true.

In any case, I didn't say anything. I just walked out of the farm behind Beenie. We talked while he was unlocking his Trek and putting on his helmet and elbow and knee pads. He said he was looking for some opium. He has this thing for old Hollywood and read somewhere that Errol Flynn described smoking opium, "like having your soul massaged with mink gloves." Now he wants to try it. I told him I'd see what I could do. Then he pedaled north on Aviation, probably headed for Randy's Donuts.

I made a note to ask around about opium. Made another note to look over my list of Hydo's known associates.

Finished deliveries.

A suicide bomber on the way home.

I did what I could. Not much. I think I stopped a boy's bleeding long enough for him to get to the hospital. Who knows what happened to him there. Traffic got messed up for miles. Once the EMTs and paramedics showed up, I spent most of my time passing out water. A lady thanked me when I saw her fainting in her car and got her a bottle.

A witness said the bomber was a woman, a New America Jesus insurgent. He said he knew she was a NAJi because she screamed "something about Satan" before she blew herself up. He also said she was staggering like she was drunk. NAJis don't drink. A Guard told me that looking at the size of the crater she left, she was probably staggering under the weight of the bomb. He said that kind of blast was what they got in Iraq from car bombs. I said something about how at least he wasn't there anymore, and he asked me if I was "fucking joking."

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Sleepless 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
edofarrell More than 1 year ago
Charlie Huston is probably the most off-beat of writers. You never know what he's going to come up with. His novel, "The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death" is one of the best I've ever read. Sleepless is true to form. It posits a well-developed scenario and populates it with wonderful characters and crisp dialog. The basic plot line is believable and sets the framework for a dramatic story that is engrossing and thrilling. I loved the drama and the tension that builds around the characters as the story winds to an end. I won't bother with a detailed plot recap, you've read those in the professional reviews. While not as good as 'The Mystic Arts ... ' this book is nonetheless a homerun. Well worth the money.
Dito More than 1 year ago
"Sleepless" is a darkly original novel, mixing elements of crime fiction and speculative fiction into one bizarre glimpse of the very near future. People around the world are becoming "sleepless", rendered unable to sleep by a mysterious disease. As their brains malfunction and short circuit, they begin to go mad. Chaos and civil unrest are brewing as society begins to fall apart. The main character is an undercover narcotics cop, on the search for the bootleg drug that will allow the sleepless to sleep. Along the way, he stumbles across a black market of not only drugs, but also virtual goods from a gargantuan online game. There are elements of James Ellroy, Robert Crais, Cory Doctorow, and Charles Stross - all combined into one dark, strange, tale. It's an excellent book, both a page-turner and a thought-provoking work of fiction.
Skully_1970 More than 1 year ago
I am not a Sci-Fi reader however the cover of this book kept calling to me to the Sci-Fi section of my book store. I wouldn't categorize this book as Sci-Fi. It lies somewhere on the edge of: crime novel-apocalyptic-sci-fi thriller. I think anyone who is looking for something different will enjoy this book
Fopner More than 1 year ago
Huston's Sleepless is a great near-alternate future in the classic "what-if" scenario book tradition. The writing is very tight, gritty, immediate and demands attention. The characters are an interesting mix and the protagonist has the right blend of above average, but still relatable, qualities that let you empathize and cheer for them. The writing is very well done in that it truly reflects the mind patterns you experience when going without sleep. The urgency, inability to think deep while yet feeling deep, the flitting about from thought to thought...all of that is captured very well with compelling writing. A final note: i went 4/5 stars on escapism because, while Sleepless definitely takes you away and makes you keep reading, it is not an entirely uplifting read and for some people (my wife included) that interferes with its ability to serve as an escapism vehicle.
Stork2009 More than 1 year ago
Another great book from Huston, sometimes a little too much detail on the medical but incredibly original
Penforhire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Charlie Huston's style. This novel seems to expand his range. It gives me hope for another possible Joe Pitt novel. Huston doesn't usually cast such a wide net as he does here yet he still manages to boil the story down to a couple of viewpoints. I think he makes the reader work harder here than in his other work, more left to the reader's inference or imagination, but I don't mind so much (cost him a half-star of rating to me).It is very slick how he defies genres here, as in some of his other books. If anything, I am surprised by the sliver of bittersweet sunshine at the very end of the book. Don't get me wrong, there's no Disney going on here!It seems I rate this book slightly lower than some of his others, still abve average to me but I felt, um, rudderless at times. Maybe that's my failing as a reader and you'll laugh at me.Some of his thoughts on how society would 'distill' under extreme stress feels very genuine to me. I visited a high-end legal office in Century City a few times. Heck, they have relatively fancy security staff and do-everything facilties now! I can easily imagine them becoming a more armored enclave.
SamSattler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An ultimately fatal disease, one that steals the ability of its victims to sleep, has infected approximately 10% of the world's population. Not only is there no known cure for the disease, even how it claims its victims is still a mystery. Those infected by the disease generally survive for a year before succumbing to the disease's final stage, one causing such a painful death that it has come to be known simply as "the suffering." Long before death, however, victims have lost much of their memory and their ability to focus on the present.It is the summer of 2010 and Los Angeles is a city under siege. Armed, gated and barricaded communities have sprung up in the wealthier parts of southern California to protect residents from the drug gangs and domestic terrorists that prey on those unable to protect themselves. The sleepless, in their quest for something to give meaning to their lives, dominate the city's night life, and wander the streets by the hundreds in search of amusement. The only thing that offers physical relief from the disease, even if only for a while, is a new drug officially labeled as DR33M3R, but which has, of course, become known on the street as Dreamer. Unfortunately, the company manufacturing Dreamer is unable to produce it at a pace anything near the demand for the drug.Into this world comes Parker Haas, an undercover policeman determined to learn the truth about Dreamer and the company that produces it to such great profit. Haas knows, first hand, how desperate the sleepless are to get their hands on Dreamer - his wife suffers from the disease and he fears that his baby daughter may have become infected, as well - and he suspects that the pharmaceutical giant producing it may be up to no good . Parker Haas is determined to bring as much justice back into the world as he can despite the odds against him and the increasing likelihood he will not survive his efforts."Sleepless" is a depressing and complicated story. It is combination science fiction and detective thriller and it is filled with subplots that are not always easy for the reader to follow. Charlie Huston is well known as a literary stylist but his approach to prose in "Sleepless" is as often confusing as it is effective. For example, he uses two first person narrators to tell his story, something I suspect that most readers will only come to realize after reading a substantial portion of the book in confusion. Huston does distinguish, from the beginning, between the two voices by indenting paragraphs dealing with one and not indenting those of the other. By the time most readers figure this out, however, events will be jumbled enough in their mind that much will have been missed in the reading process.Perhaps Huston wants to give his readers a taste of the frustration, irritability and difficulty in focusing the victims of the sleeplessness disease feel. If so, he succeeds in spades. Rated at: 2.5
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is the present. Ten percent of the population has been rendered permanently sleepless by a contagious prion. As a result, civilization is breaking down. Wildfires rage out of control outside Los Angeles, while the city itself has become a war zone. The sleepless play video games and take drugs for relief, but only one drug can really bring peace: Dreamer, which is in short supply.Park is an LA cop, working undercover to sniff out black market sales of Dreamer. His wife is sleepless. His infant daughter may be as well. Park himself is finding it impossible to cope with what the world is becoming. He became a cop because he wanted to dispense justice according to the rules as he understood them, but those rules don¿t really apply anymore. Then he discovers a murder scene from which he takes a thumb drive. On that drive is a file that points to a larger conspiracy involving Dreamer and the company that manufactures it. Despite being told to drop the investigation, Park can¿t help but pursue it. His black-and-white sense of justice requires him to.On the other side of the coin is Jasper, the narrator. Unlike Park, he not only embraces the apocalypse that he watches unfold from his hillside house overlooking the city, but he thrives in it. He is an emotionless mercenary, hired to do whatever needs doing, and very good at his job. His employer has asked him to recover her stolen property, a particular thumb drive that Jaspers discovers was taken from a murder scene. And so Park¿s and Jasper¿s paths begin to entwine.Sleepless is not just a noir crime story with an apocalyptic setting, although that certainly describes the plot. But in the course of telling that story, Huston examines the failings of modern society and wonders what it might transform into. The hero, Park, is unable to process the changes he witnesses. He is obsessed with returning the world to what he thinks it used to be, of making it ¿right¿ for his daughter to grow up in. In one poignant section from his journal ¿ which is included in the narrative ¿ he insists that his daughter has to grow up, she has to. But at the same time, he can¿t admit that the world may be destroying itself for no reason, and that he can¿t stop it. ¿It¿s not too late,¿ he says, but when we read his words, we have a sickening sense that it probably is.Jasper, the anti-hero, also needs for his life to have meaning. In his own way, he is also obsessed with, and he believes that the nature of his death will bring symmetry to his life and make its purpose clear. He doesn¿t expect any other outcome, yet when the unexpected happens, he can adapt fluidly, unlike Park. He doesn¿t want to reverse what is happening. He makes himself part of the new world emerging instead, even as it disintegrates around him. And we gradually realize that even though he is a cold-hearted killer, he is much more of a hero than Park is capable of being.This book gave me a lot to chew on. Huston has created a dark, surreal Los Angeles and a vision of the apocalypse that thoroughly captivated me. The only faults I had with the novel were that I found it sometimes difficult to follow the twists and turns of the convoluted plot and I thought the story was a little slow to get going. Some of the overly detailed descriptions, the strings of acronyms and technical terms, made for slow reading. But Huston¿s skillful development of these two opposed characters, and what he does with them at the end, more than made up for these flaws.
usagijihen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has blown my mind.Everything that we fear may be coming in terms of religion, science, disease, famine, war, society...it's all been crammed into this novel and has been made to work spectacularly within its labyrinthine story. I literally could NOT put this book down and spent most of last night and today finishing it.The best part about this book is, because it IS mostly science/medicine-based in plot, the facts regarding brain chemistry are correct. It's so very, very, very refreshing to have a book that involves science that is in the fiction genre that gets its stuff correct. Even if SLP is fiction itself, the rest of it is fact. And that makes for some very terrifying reading, more terrifying than any vampire or werewolf book could conjure in my mind. Why? Simple. Because all of these things - species jumping, GMOs, martial law - can happen. And may happen within the next ten to fifty years. Huston has masterfully put together all of these pieces that are going on in our world today, tuned them up a notch, and served us chaos on a platter. And it's a wonderful and horrible chaos, one that has most definitely made me think about the 'what ifs' that may occur during my lifetime.I kind of hope a sequel or companion story is written, because I would love to figure out what happened after the epilogue. Or rather, what happened between the final chapter and the epilogue.A great way to kick start books that will be published in 2010.(crossposted on goodreads.)
BeckyJG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Charlie Huston has proven himself master of series genre, with both his Joe Pitt and Hank Thompson books; the former is noirish and moody, darkly humorous urban fantasy, the latter grittily realistic, with a hero who does what he's got to do to get by. He's proven himself master of the stand-alone literary thriller, including last year's delicious The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death. This year he adds master of the post-apocalyptic thriller to his list of accomplishments.A plague of sleeplessness has swept the world, ripping apart families and communities, jumping on the back of the recession economy of 2008 and 2009 and bringing the world to its knees. It's July, 2010--oh yes, my friends, far too close for comfort--and Los Angeles, like most of the country, is under martial law. Parker Haas, a young beat cop who's too rigidly honest for his own good not to mention the comfort of his partners, is tapped by his superiors for an undercover--a deep undercover--assignment. Park is to become a drug dealer and seek out the black market for Dreamer, the only drug able to give any relief at all to those who suffer from the disease.Sleepless consists of several different narratives. The main one is a standard third person narrative, following Park as he moves around the city, dealing with the rich druggies and obsessive gamers who buy his wares, with his sick wife and small daughter, and with a crime the depth and depravity of which unfolds slowly and sickeningly. There are excerpts, often heartbreaking, from Park¿s journal, in which he keeps a record of his undercover job and chronicles the painful deterioration from sleeplessness of his wife. Finally, there is the first person narrative of an elegant, cultured, for most of the novel unnamed contract killer, whom, we quickly learn, is stalking Park as his current prey.The world Charlie Huston builds in Sleepless is richly detailed and all-too believable. We see the sights and smell the smells, from the canals of Venice to the mostly abandoned Los Angeles Airport to the Midnight Carnival, a 24 hour open air marketplace, populated in the overnight hours mostly by the sleepless, ¿a segment of the population that as often as not had little or no foreseeable need to keep its savings intact...¿ Fish mongers, all night spontaneous parties, vendors selling the `looted contents of abandoned Inland Empire McMansions;¿ if you want it, you can find it at the Midnight Carnival.But Sleepless is not just detail and description. The characters are achingly real, beautifully drawn, full of goodness and conceit, some exhibiting stereotypical--but all too familiar from one¿s own experience--behavior. We care about these characters, and the surprise ending is even more shocking and moving as a result. Charlie Huston has gotten better with each of his novels. I can¿t wait to see what he comes up with next.
dougcornelius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imagine if the recent Great Panic financial crisis of 2008 was accompanied by a realization that an illness had spread across the population. On top of the subprime meltdown, a devastating illness has left a huge portion of the population unable to sleep. It takes about a year of zombie-like existence for the sleepless to die. The world has fallen into chaos, isolation and martial law. Sleepless is set in this post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.The two protagonists in Sleepless are Park, an undercover cop, and Japser, a ¿fixer.¿ Park is trying to uncover an illegal trade in DR33M3R, a drug that eases the suffering of those with the sleepless disorder. Park¿s wife has contracted the disease and the health of their infant daughter is unknown.Jasper is cold-blooded, methodical killer. His life is strictly ordered. The opposite of chaos. He moves tangentially in the book to Park, but you know they will somehow meet. And that the meeting will not be over milk and cookies.I¿m not a big fan of using multiple protagonists to tell a story. It¿s hard for the author to portray the different viewpoints and even harder for the reader to figure out whose eye they are looking through. Sleepless suffers from a little of that at the beginning, but the differences between the protagonists become greater and more apparent as the book progresses.The book is not light and fluffy. It¿s dark. Not as spine-tingling dark as The Road. (That book gave me a physical reaction of dread when I read it.)Huston tells a compelling, scary, intriguing and gut-wrenching story that will keep you up late into the night reading it.
msf59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
LA is under martial law. There is fuel and food shortages, rioting, suicide bombings and worst of all, a pandemic has a grip on the world, affecting about ten per cent of the population. This disorder is called SLP and it causes severe sleep deprivation and eventual death. Parker Haas is a detective in the LAPD, working undercover. He is happily married with a new baby on board. His wife has SLP. His job, is to immerse himself in the booming illegal drug trade and find a link to the black marketing of ¿Dreamer¿, which is the only government-sanctioned drug that temporarily helps the afflicted sleep. It is a hot commodity but strictly controlled and very expensive. Park is a good honest cop and his investigation leads him into some very dangerous water and he is soon being pursued by an aging but ruthlessly determined mercenary. This is a fresh, tautly written story, that contains action, memorable characters, sizzling dialogue and a surprisingly effective love story. Huston is one of my favorite crime writers and this is his most mature, ambitious book to date.
kmaziarz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The end of the world is one insomniac night away in Huston¿s apocalyptic thriller. A strange new plague of unrest has gripped the world. Sufferers of the mysterious ailment¿known as Sleepless¿are literally unable to sleep. At all. Ever again. For months on end, they endure, becoming more and more exhausted and more and more mentally unstable as the sleeplessness takes its toll until finally, death takes them into the final sleep. There is no cure, and the only medication that offers any relief, known colloquially as Dreamer, cannot be manufactured in sufficient quantity to aid all the sufferers. No one is untouched by the plague at any level of society, and society itself it crumbling. Mob rule has taken parts of the city, and no one segment of law enforcement speaks to or works with any other. In this crumbling society, undercover narcotics cop Parker Haas fights desperately to infiltrate a drug ring selling black-market Dreamer¿not only because he is still dedicated to an ideal of justice, but because his own wife is Sleepless. His investigation takes him into the underground world of gamers addicted to a World of Warcraft-like videogame called Chasm Tide and into the circle of Cager, a wealthy top gamer who happens to be a scion of the family that manufacters and sells Dreamer. Meanwhile, an aging mercenary named Jasper is tapped to recover a piece of property from Cager and is drawn into intricate and various conspiracies and plots swirling around Parker and Cager and the beginning of the end of the world.Skillfully drawn and artfully complex, this apocalyptic tale is recommended for fans of tech-oriented thrillers with a good dose of social commentary, a la William Gibson and Cory Doctorow.
BillPilgrim on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book presents the world of the present day, but things went wrong a couple of years ago when a new illness appeared that causes people to be completely unable to sleep. The infected eventually die after a long illness with the final month or so being particularly harrowing. The only drug that offers any substantial relief is called Dreamer. It is manufactured by one drug company, and its distribution is supposed to be highly limited and controlled. Park is an undercover cop in LA who is assigned to look for blackmarket Dreamer. His wife suffers from the disease, and his baby daughter seems not to be sleeping, but they have not had her tested.Social order has broken down. There are terrorist bombings. There are constant traffic jams all over the city. Personal safety is very low, and communities have sealed themselves off. The climate is degraded, with droughts, fires, mud slides, etc.Just as Park begins to get a lead on a possible Dreamer supply connection, his contact and some associates are murdered. At the murder scene, he finds and takes a portable hard drive, which makes him the target of a ruthless mercenary who is hired to get it back.The book is very well written, often funny, but more often disturbing in its violence. But, if you have the stomach to get through the violent parts and enjoy reading a well crafted story about a society not that far removed from our own, but still vastly different, I would recommend you try this one.
norinrad10 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one was a dilemma. Charlie Huston is by far my favorite new author. That said, this one missed the mark. None of the characters were very fleshed out and the story itself was fairly pedestrian. All in all this was an ambitious project that just kind of missed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't even finish it, tries too hard and makes little sense
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