I received this book for free from LibraryThing Early Reviews in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Little Sleep (Mark Genevich #1) by Paul Tremblay
Published: Holt Paperbacks (2009), Paperback, 288pg
Genres: Fiction, Mystery
Raymond Chandler meets Jonathan Lethem in this wickedly entertaining debut featuring Mark Genevich, Narcoleptic DetectiveMark Genevich is a South Boston P.I. with a little problem: he’s narcoleptic, and he suffers from the most severe symptoms, including hypnogogic hallucinations. These waking dreams wreak havoc for a guy who depends on real-life clues to make his living.Clients haven’t exactly been beating down the door when Mark meets Jennifer Times—daughter of the powerful local D.A. and a contestant on American Star—who walks into his office with an outlandish story about a man who stole her fingers. He awakes from his latest hallucination alone, but on his desk is a manila envelope containing risqué photos of Jennifer. Are the pictures real, and if so, is Mark hunting a blackmailer, or worse?Wildly imaginative and with a pitch-perfect voice, The Little Sleep is the first in a new series that casts a fresh eye on the rigors of detective work, and introduces a character who has a lot to prove—if only he can stay awake long enough to do it.Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
I had a lot of hope for this book. Unusual detective set in a noir-ish world? Awesome cover? Lots of potential! Unfortunately I didn’t really like it. It’s not bad, necessarily, but I didn’t enjoy reading it.
I think my biggest problem was that I hated Mark. Sure, I felt bad for him because his life sucks, but he kept whining about it and didn’t try to do anything to change it. He isn’t good at verbal sparring, jokes, or detecting (aka his JOB) and he was ultimately just a big fat downer. Also, boring.
The mystery part was interesting, and though it gets confusing because of Mark’s proclivity to hallucinations it does have a very nice solution. And the ending fits in well with the rest of the book– depressing, with lots of things unanswered. More bittersweet than anything else, I guess.
I’m sure that someone somewhere will enjoy reading about a dull “detective” whine his way through solving a mystery that may or may not even exist, but that someone wasn’t me. I appreciate that Mr. Tremblay tried to do something different within the detective noir genre, and once I stop being annoyed at Mark I could see what he was trying to do, but I simply didn’t enjoy the result.
Mr. Tremblay is apparently often compared to Jonathan Lethem. I’d, er, start with Jonathan Lethem first (maybe Gun, With Occasional Music, which I loved) and then move to The Little Sleep. The reverse might make think Mr. Lethem was like Mr. Tremblay, which would be a shame.
Read: February 2009