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The Sleep Room

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  852 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
When promising young psychiatrist James Richardson is offered the job opportunity of a lifetime by the charismatic Dr. Hugh Maitland, he is thrilled. Setting off to take up his post at Wyldehope Hall in deepest Suffolk, Richardson doesn’t look back. One of his tasks is to manage Maitland’s most controversial project—a pioneering therapy in which extremely disturbed ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Pegasus (first published January 1st 2013)
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Dec 31, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book pushed all those buttons for me. Hints of Gothic and the paranormal, mysterious people in out of the way places caring for what appear to be "hopeless and helpless" psychiatric patients. And in the English countryside. What else could this reader want? Not much else actually.

The story is told by Dr James Richardson who answers an ad placed by a Dr Hugh Maitland to assist him at his psychiatric clinic located at Wyldehope Hall. Richardson is hired, accepts and begins an unusual job whic
Sep 29, 2013 Guy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, british-fiction
"I did not recognize the sound at first. It arrived as nothing more than a subtle incursion: something seeping between the accumulated layers of silence.”

The Sleep Room is outstanding. Suspenseful, compelling, and atmospheric, this has to be the creepiest book I’ve read in a long time, but far more than that, this is also a very intelligent story which questions the validity of medicating mental problems, which is, as it turns out, a preferred method in this tale, over the snidely dismissed ‘tal
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.

A naive young doctor, James Richards, is offered an intriguing position as the head of a mental hospital in the Suffolk countryside. With no ties in London, and eager to impress his charismatic psychiatrist boss, he wastes no time in setting off for the isolated location of his new job. His duties include overseeing the 'sleep room', the site of a controversial and unusual form of therapy, in which six schizophrenic patients - all young women - ar
Leah Scarpati
Oct 22, 2013 Leah Scarpati rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was such a disappointment! The premise sounds brilliant and could have been an amazing thriller... But it left me flat.

The protagonist is a clinical psychiatrist by profession but the narrative reads as a clinical report. You don't feel anything for him as a character whilst reading the book, you don't care if he lives it dies, is scared or not, whether he has a relationship with a nurse or not- he is just not likeable.

There is scope within the plot to really build up a sense of forebo
Dec 13, 2013 Holly rated it it was ok
This book had promise as a thrilling psychological thriller but never lived up to the hype. I was bored. Rather than actually getting to the action, the author was overly fond of setting up future events with lines such as, "It was an oversight that, in months to come, I would bitterly regret." I was constantly expecting something crazy and chilling to happen, and while there are some supernatural events in the book, it was never mysterious (to me) what was going on. It was too obvious. Also, ...more
Dec 07, 2013 Tabatha rated it liked it
I don't know if this is just me? And because I'm a massive horror movie fan, and I have only just started reading scary type books, that I expected so much more from this kind of book. But I enjoyed it, never quite knowing where the story is leading you until the very end. That's how I like my endings. But I wasn't scared, just intrigued. The idea of the book was good! Worth a read! Definitely
Sep 08, 2016 Frankie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dont-like, 2016
Awful. The ending just didn't add up for me and it took too long to get there.
Diane S ☔
Oct 25, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
I love this author's Liebermann series, so when i saw this stand alone I was excited. An old house turned into a mental institution for those who cannot be helped by other means, a radical new psychiatrist who does not believe in Freud's talking cure, a new therapy involving prolonged sleep and a naive, somewhat new doctor who wants to learn and make a good impression. Of course things are not as simple as they first appear and there are things going on that have no reasonable explanation.

Mandy Crider
Apr 16, 2015 Mandy Crider rated it did not like it
This book was so slow at the beginning and then took a spooky turn and had me so excited to finish. The ending sucked and I didn't even get it all. I'm so sorry I wasted my time reading this!
I’m going to be completely honest here and say I’m not quite sure what I think after reading this book. It’s my first dealing with the author and as it stands I cannot decide whether I want to read his other books or not. I was on edge as to whether to give this book a three or a four star review but in the end I went with the three – in all honesty though, if you could give half marks I would have handed it a three and a half.

I think what troubled me is that for quite a while it felt to me as t
Adam Nevill
Mar 07, 2014 Adam Nevill rated it it was amazing
Much to enjoy and admire in THE SLEEP ROOM, that is, quite literally, a novel of psychological horror, as it is set in a psychiatric hospital. Echoes of McGrath's ASYLUM, with a twist of Aickman and M R James. Some masterly set-pieces and a fascinating study of a man of science confronted by the uncanny, old school. Highly recommended.
Janette Fleming
Feb 07, 2014 Janette Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

From the Doctor of Fear, comes the horror story that everyone is dreaming about

As haunting as Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black and as dark as James Herbert's The Secret of Crickley Hall, F. R. Tallis’s The Sleep Room is where your nightmares begin . . .

When promising psychiatrist, James Richardson, is offered the job opportunity of a lifetime, he is thrilled. Setting off to take up his post at Wyldehope Hall in deepest Suffolk, Richardson doesn’t look back.

One of his tasks is to manage a controve
Hannah Rodgman
Jun 10, 2016 Hannah Rodgman rated it liked it
This book was a bit of a slow one. The pretence was interesting and I was invested in the story at the beginning of the novel, but I soon lost interest in this Shutter Island copy.

“”A man dreams that he is a butterfly, and in the dream he has no knowledge of his life as a human being. When he wakes up, he asks himself two questions: Am I a man, who has just dreamed that he was a butterfly? Or am I really a butterfly, now dreaming that I am a man?”

James Richardson is offered the job of a lifetime
Jul 02, 2016 Lainy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Pan

Blurb from Goodreads

When promising young psychiatrist James Richardson is offered the job opportunity of a lifetime by the charismatic Dr. Hugh Maitland, he is thrilled. Setting off to take up his post at Wyldehope Hall in deepest Suffolk, Richardson doesn't look back. One of his tasks is to manage Maitland's most controversial project--a pioneering therapy in which extremely disturbed patients are kept asleep for months. If this radical and p
John Wiltshire
Apr 03, 2015 John Wiltshire rated it it was amazing
Usually I'm pretty quick to give books star rating. I either like them and finish them (5), or can't believe I'm in the same reality as the Telegraph reviewer (1). This one has me more puzzled. I did enjoy it and I did finish it.
(view spoiler)
Hannah Fullmer
I find it fascinating to read other reviews of The Sleep Room by F.R Tallis, because some people found this story to hit the perfect note of classic suspense, while others found it slow, predictable, and a letdown. It seems that the biggest disparity of opinion comes in reader's perceptions of the final twist of the novel...some people thought it was brilliant, and others felt it undermined the rest of the book.
Here are my thoughts about the The Sleep Room. First of all, I enjoyed the setting, t
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
The way I explained the ending to myself:

When James woke up he portrayed characteristics of almost each and every one of the patients that he cared for in his "dream". Therefore the different patients were simply different elements of James's personality. For example chapman was a chess player and he pinched himself repeatedly with James also did and also James explained the maternal feeling of loss of a child which he most likely felt when jane wouldn't give him a child. Sheila was simply his w
Sep 18, 2013 Dawn rated it it was ok
I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review.

The Sleep Room is supposed to be a ghost story and, although there are some elements of one, it seems more like an historical novel about a psychiatrist. The story is based in the 1950's and I found it interesting that it is written like many novels from around that time period. Overall, I like F.R. Tallis's writing but I did do a lot of skipping in this book. For example, the letters from other doctors referring sleep room patients to Ma
Richard Anderson
Mar 26, 2014 Richard Anderson rated it really liked it

A gothic horror story set in an old psychiatric hospital on the windswept coast of England. Psychological experimentation circa mid-1950’s. A medical mystery that stumps one of the great psychiatrists of the day, as well as his young protégé. If any of this lights up the literary centers of your brain, you will want to read The Sleep Room by Edgar nominee F.R. Tallis.

The story opens with promising young psychiatrist, Dr. James Richardson, accepting a position with one of the prominent psychiatri
Dec 15, 2013 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr James Richardson is delighted to get the chance to work with well respected Hugh Maitland, Head of the department of Psychological Medicine at St Thomas’s. He is to work for a personal project of Dr Maitland’s, set in an isolated location, Wyldehope Hall, deep in rural Suffolk. Dr Richardson has been told that his predecessor, Dr Palmer, left suddenly and Dr Maitland is keen to stress that he understands the difficulties of the post. However, Dr Richardson sees good opportunities for his ...more
Betsy Hetzel
May 09, 2014 Betsy Hetzel rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me by a "friend" on Goodreads, and after the two "bombs" that I had previously read, I was looking for something different = BINGO !
The book has somewhat of a Gothic flavor to it and is a little creepy from the very beginning as the mental institution/clinic is situated on a bleak heath in an isolated, rural area hours from London; I almost expected Heathcliff to come charging in on his steed to rescue his beloved Cathy.
The idea behind the treatment of the six wom
Annette Gisby
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 03, 2013 Deborah rated it really liked it
Someone recently told me ECT (electroconvulsive therapy / shock treatment) is actually still used today. I was quite shocked (albeit sans electric current) so checked it out myself and it seems it is - indeed - true. However, I'm assuming we've come a long way since the mid 1900s when it seemed hugely popular and used in its unmodified form - ie. when patients weren't given muscle relaxants etc beforehand. (Plus I have images of a tin bucket on someone's head with electrodes attached... although ...more
Apr 05, 2014 Carol rated it did not like it

I read this book because I read a "great" review in Book Page and thought it sounded interesting even though I'm not ordinarily drawn to "ghost" stories - this one just sounded enough different that I gave it a try.

It was packed with clichés - a chiller set in 1955, a small new, controversial hospital in an isolated location surrounded by thick mist and desolate marshland, hostile locals, disturbed patients, a sinister experimental treatment, unexplained goings-on, supernatural sightings, etc.,
Washington Post
Oct 31, 2013 Washington Post rated it liked it
“The Sleep Room,” is a departure from Tallis's previous work about Dr. Max Liebermann, a crime-solving psychiatrist in the glittering Vienna of the early 20th century and that's not only because it’s set in 1950s England. Tallis’s publisher calls the novel “a brilliant reinvention of the ghost story.” Patrick Anderson, who reviewed "Sleep Room" for us, won’t dispute that, being largely ignorant of ghost stories that don’t involve Casper, but he reports that he found the novel fascinating. Tallis ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Lis rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
What a peculiar book! I really read it by mistake, not realizing that Frank Tallis has decided to write horror/supernatural fiction after ending his mystery series (Max Lieberman, 1900s Vienna at the time of Freud.) I enjoyed that series but this one was not my cup of tea at all.

Among other things, it's quite an old-fashioned type of supernatural thriller: an isolated house in the country, a protagonist who believes there are rational explanations for everything, events that can't be explained r
Christina Rochester
Jan 07, 2016 Christina Rochester rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book. Very much Shutter Island meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It was set in a psychiatric hospital and I've always been interested in psychiatry so this book gripped my attention from the very beginning. I loved looking at the old treatments.
Character wise I much preferred Richardson's character to that of Maitland. Maitland strikes me throughout the book as someone who only wants to achieve results without much interest in the patients themselves, although this
Apr 27, 2014 Mandy rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
Well-written, intelligent book. I had not heard of this book or author, but found out about it through Goodreads. Luckily, my library had a copy. The menace builds in this book, and I found myself struggling to put it down. It is a story that I will remember for quite a while as I enjoyed the writing very much.
Nov 14, 2013 Naomi rated it it was amazing
Full blog review in progress.

Combined my favorite things:

1) British mystery set in the countryside

2) Mental institutions, including a depiction of the brutality of early psychiatric medicine.

3) What is reality?

Started at 5:30pm ended at 8:30pm

One of my favorite books of the year! The low ratings are shocking the heck out of me.
Liz Kurz
Sep 03, 2015 Liz Kurz rated it really liked it
This book started out a bit slow. The build up was phenomenal and it was a spooky read that held my interest without being scary.

The ending wasn't really to my taste as j felt it cheapened the story that had preceded it and really the story was good in its own right.
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Need an explanation... SPOILERS! 18 59 Aug 07, 2014 09:33AM  
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