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When we were kids, NBC used to have a rotating series of detective shows that they called the Sunday Mystery Movie (as well as a Wednesday Mystery Movie). Nowadays we seem to get a Disease-of-the-Month Mystery. We're long past the innovation of a blind investigator, past the drunks and drug addicts, past gays and lesbians, now we're onto vampires, the autistic, guys with PTSD, guys with Tourette's, etc., etc., etc. And, in the overly-ambitiously titled, The Little Sleep, we get the detective as narcoleptic. Mark Genevich is a small-time South Boston private eye with the annoying habit of falling asleep or into cataplexy at inopportune moments and the unfortunate inability to separate his dreams from reality. Twenty, or maybe thirty, years ago that might have seemed a daring twist on the genre. Today it seems more an obligatory selling point. You can see someone pitching the idea in the film The Player. But I don't know that it makes for much of a novel. As with the recent Dan Simmon's book, Drood, the unreliability of the narrator is so extravagant that it serves to undermine the reader's faith in the story. After all, if it's equally possible that events are either quite real or entirely imagined then how invested can we be expected to become in the tale? How much can we ever be engaged in the telling?

Ultimately I found myself too distanced from Genevich and the case he's investigating to care much whether he solved it, assuming it exists. Let's hope that he gets cured before the next book in the series and we'll see if Mr. Tremblay can actually measure up to the tradition without the added hokum.


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (C-)

  

Websites:

See also:

Private Eyes
Paul Tremblay Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: PaulTremblay.net
    -WIKIPEDIA: Paul G. Tremblay
    -GOOGLE BOOK: The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay
    -INTERVIEW: An Interview with Paul Tremblay (Geoffrey H. Goodwin, April 2009, Bookslut)
    -REVIEW: of The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay (David L. Ulin, LA Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Little Sleep (Hallie Ephron, Boston Globe)
    -REVIEW: of The Little Sleep (Mel Odom, BlogCritics)
    -REVIEW: of The Little Sleep (Chris Barsanti, PopMatters)
    -REVIEW: of The Little Sleep (Colette Bancroft, St. Petersburg Times)

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