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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,730 ratings  ·  266 reviews
From bestselling author Charlie Huston comes a novel about the fears that find us all during dark times and the courage and sacrifice that can save us in the face of unimaginable odds. Gripping, unnerving, exhilarating, and haunting, Sleepless is well worth staying up for.

What former philosophy student Parker Hass wanted was a better world. A world both just and safe for h
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published 2010)
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The Stand by Stephen KingThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsWorld War Z by Max Brooks1984 by George Orwell
Best Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
176th out of 731 books — 2,257 voters
The Big Sleep by Raymond ChandlerThe Maltese Falcon by Dashiell HammettThe Long Goodbye by Raymond ChandlerFarewell, My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerThe Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
Best Noir
276th out of 466 books — 531 voters

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Community Reviews

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Robert Beveridge
Charlie Huston, Sleepless (Ballantine, 2010)

I started three books on the same day, two Vine books and a third I'd bought with birthday money. I figured Sleepless would probably be the one that would get relegated to the back of the line, as I knew nothing about Charlie Huston save that The Mystical Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death has gotten a lot of good press this year and that it had an interesting-sounding premise. But Friday night I had a large block of reading time available, so I ended
I have good news, and I have better news.

The good news is that Charlie Huston has finally started using quotation marks instead of the annoying and confusing dashes before dialogue. Granted, he still isn’t using ‘he said’ or ‘she asked’, but progress is progress.

The better news is that Huston has written a masterpiece.

It’s been fascinating to read along as pure talent has evolved to extreme skill from the Hank Thompson and Joe Pitt stories to the point where Huston started delivering these stan
Disclosure: This was a book I received through the Amazon Vine program which I read in 2009. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: What former philosophy student Parker Hass wanted was a better world. A world both just and safe for his wife and infant daughter. So he joined the LAPD and tried to make it that way. But the world changed. Struck by waves of chaos carried in on a tide of insomnia. A plague of sleeplessness.

Park can sleep, but he is wide awake. And as much as he wishes he was dreaming, h
Charlie Huston has flexed his Crime Noir muscles and punches them into this gritty dystopic tale of a world with an epidemic of sleeplessness. Before you assume that sounds a bit lame, be aware that there is a real disease called Fatal familial insomnia (FFI) that is always fatal and very painful. Fortunately it is also very rare affecting about 100 individuals world-wide coming from a genetic pool of 40 families, most in Italy. However. Huston invents a fictional version of this disease that is ...more
Garrett Vander Leun
I didn't finish.

One of my favorite contemporary authors, and I didn't finish.

I was almost 100 pages in when I realized I was tracking two characters. Or at least I thought I was. I still don't quite know what was what in this confusing narrative. I admire Huston's attempt at trying something different and new, but I felt like this book was so far removed from his normally rock-solid style that it lost it's way.

It's set in the future, not too far, but far enough to necessitate lots of new jarg
Sleepless is a mix of zombie movie,a future is now(actually an alternate present), a hard boiled thriller, and strangely a meditation on a family. This is written in a more convoluted style than Mr. Huston usually stripped down style for a couple reasons I suspect, mainly his use of invented author as the teller of this story and I suspect a mild overload on research. He is using punctuation marks on his dialogue so any of those lunatics who find this stylistic trait so annoying as to write off ...more
Amanda Makepeace
Society is crumbling before everyone's eyes and even the government is losing its grip. It's July 2010 and the world is dying from a plague of sleeplessness.

Huston creates an intricate vision of a not-so-impossible future with characters, as real as you or I, attempting to preserve the world they once knew. But if it weren't for sheer determination I would have put the book down before I discovered this fact. The story, which is a combination of journal entries by L.A. Detective Parker Haus and
SETTING: Post-apocolyptic LA, 2010

Charlie Huston has done it again. With the release of his latest book, he shows once again that there is no formula that he is going to follow. SLEEPLESS is a work of speculative fiction set in post-apocalyptic Los Angles. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before.

It’s mid-2010, and the world is in a chaotic state. Los Angeles is living under martial law, and violence rules. Societal mores have broken down, and the citizenr
I started reading this the day before my son was born, so I pretty much experienced the story the same way as most of the characters: tired as hell and not really comprehending what was going on. Seriously, there were nights I forced myself to stay up and read, and I was so exhausted that my right eye wasn't even really focusing. Which is a kinda-perfect metaphor for the half-focused story.

Initially, Huston seems to have written Sleepless only to comment on how the prevalence of online gaming a
Clay Nichols
The addiction to Chasm Tide, the World of Warcraft-style game that flows through “Sleepless,” the arresting novel by Charlie Huston, scared me silly. Lately, I’ve been more amenable to genre fiction, due in part to my habit of listening to books while a run (exciting is good, lead to new levels in Nike+), due in part to reviews from sources I trust.

My rewards have been rich and creepy. First Paolo Bacigalupi’s steampunk epic “The Windup Girl” and now “Sleepless.”

The value of virtual goods and ch
Tim Niland
An epidemic of sleeplessness is sweeping the world. Governments are crumbling, chaos is rising and social order is breaking down. The only thing that can help the afflicted is a drug code named Dr33m3r, or dreamer. Los Angeles police officer Parker Haas has a wife among the afflicted and an infant daughter who may or may not be. He has also been offered a chance to really make a difference. Haas must go undercover, posing as a drug dealer to seek out the illegal trade of the special drug. What h ...more
3.5 stars. This is a bleak dystopian novel, an alternate history set in Los Angeles in the year 2010 when society is beginning to collapse due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is the spread of an illness that causes people to be unable to sleep. It's similar to the condition Fatal Familial Insomnia.

I like Huston's writing very much. The prose style in this book is a slight departure for him, since he opted to use quotation marks around dialogue (but still no modifiers). The dialog
The premise of this confusingly narrated novel is revealed on page 36:
about a year ago, 10% of the population began experiencing a weird
disease that prevents them from sleeping, and within a year, leads to
death. It's now a widespread epidemic. Narcotics cop Park is part of
an undercover investigation to find a black market drug called Dr33m3r
that is a cure for the disease; heightening the stakes his wife and
newborn daughter both have the disease. The story is told from an
omniscient POV, Park's fi
I think there's every possibility that I've been spoiled by my previous experience with Charlie Huston's books. Prior to picking up Sleepless I'd read all the Joe Pitt Casebooks, the absolutely excellent The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death and the first Hank Thompson book, Caught Stealing. Actually, to be absolutely clear I should say that with the exception of two of the Joe Pitt books, I listened to all of them as audio books because Charlie Huston is a master of dialogue and that ta ...more
I did not think I was going to like this book. After reading the Joe Pitt series, I was interested in what Sleepless was going to be all about and I'd heard good things. The first couple of chapters, though, left me with a vague confusion and also a vague dislike for the main character, the unbendingly good cop trying to keep being good in a system that is obviously failing in the wake of what amounts to the coming of the apocalypse.

All that, however, cleared up a couple more chapters in and I w
Well, if you like your novels nihilistic and thick with "authenticity", this is the novel for you. I only made it 1/2 way through, though I wish I could have read more. It was simply too vulgar and rife with gaming terminology, which blocked the flow of the book. There are so many f-bombs in this book it's the literary equivalent of Iraq & Afghanistan. It felt like constantly moving around roadblocks to get thru the storyline. And that's a shame, because the actual story and the pacing moved ...more
This is a futuristic crime thriller depicting an America that is under martial law and in the midst of a pandemic: an incurable form of insomnia is afflicting -at the very least- ten percent of the world's population.
"Sleeplessness" as it is called leads to an inevitable and- after months of suffering- painful death.

This novel is set in Los Angeles and alternates between third and first person narratives.

The third person narrative details the personal and professional life of Parker Haas -an ide
Charlie Houston's Sleepless certainly has an interesting premise. In a world not too different from our own (the novel takes place in 2010), there is a brand new worldwide pandemic: insomnia. Sleep being necessary for life, the sleepless are eventually driven mad and die because of a lack of REM sleep. Initially ascribed to things like mad cow, it was traced to the same genetic markers as fatal familial insomnia. Society collapsed. People retreated into virtual worlds of MMORPGs. The only hope i ...more
M-am surprins din nou singură pentru că nu mă așteptam să-mi placă neapărat cartea asta, dar m-am apucat de ea pentru că eram disperată, nu mai citisem de prea multă vreme, eram de-a dreptul în sevraj, iar ea era cel mai la îndemână, cu un titlu care m-a atras întotdeauna - Insomnia. E ciudat cât de mult mă atrage subiectul ăsta ținând cont cât de mult îmi place să dorm.

Am răsfoit-o, am văzut cam despre ce e vorba, m-am gândit că poate o să găsesc vreo viziune nouă asupra somnului/insomniei (dup
William Thomas
A book that takes a different look at the zombie archetype and instead looks at it through a disease that causes sleeplessness. I found the premise to be too intriguing to pass up, even though I feel Huston is not a good writer, save for The Shotgun Rule. However, what came to pass was a book that bored me to tears by the last 100 pages and I wished death on myself a few times while trying to finish it. It was a long journey through the desert, the reading of this, only at the end there is no oa ...more
Since having discovered Charlie Huston some time ago he has quickly rocketed up into my circle of favorite authors. Blackstone Audio’s production of Huston’s Joe Pitt series read with style and panache by Scott Brick are some of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to and The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death was a unique, gritty, sometimes hilarious, and constantly entertaining crime novel. While I certainly did not have as much fun with Sleepless as I did with Huston’s other work it ...more
Dec 29, 2009 Sera rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: End of Days; Gamers
Recommended to Sera by: First Read
I would give this book 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it but I believe that the subject matter will have a limited audience for two reasons. First, some readers may not be interested in the end of days theme. Second, and more importantly, there is an sub-theme that includes the MMO gaming world that I'm not sure to which many readers would relate. I used to play WOW for about 2 1/2 years, before I had the baby, and I really appreciated how Huston connected the virtual with the non-virtual world in ...more
Doug Cornelius
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 undercove
The hidden secret about Huston's books is the core of humor he displays in them, something that adds a layer of humanity to otherwise dystopic topics like the travails of mass-murdering baseball players and the struggles of hunted vampire private eyes.

Sleepless isn't funny, though -- but might be all the stronger for that lack.

Set in what might be best described as a pre-apocalyptic world ("pre" in the sense that, sure, everything hasn't gone to hell yet, but just wait a week or two), the book p
I'm not normally a detective thriller reader, but the plot summary intrigued me, and the reviews here on GR seemed to align with my interests.

IMHO, there's a Bladerunner*/William Gibson/Cory Doctorow vibe to the story - which is not a bad thing. Huston brings his own sense of style to the table, and I think I may be reading more of his work. I got thrown a bit by the third person vs 1st person modes at first, but it came together a bit more clearly as I continued the story.

The idea behind the
I don’t even know how to explain how I feel about this book. It is absolutely the worst book I’ve read in 2012.

After reading the first chapter I was hooked but then it got so confusing that I had no idea what was happening. First of all it’s confusing if you change a first person narration to a third-person narration but I can deal with that. It gets more confusing if you find out that the first person narration does not fit together (meaning that all of a sudden the character is somewhere else,
This book reminded me a lot of Children of Men (the movie which I liked much better than the book), in that a simple but drastic change in one factor of our lives, leading to a society collapsing on itself, and all the fun that entails for the characters.

While it fell a little short, it has a lot going for it, especially its neo-noir and neo-cyberpunk sensibilities. Probably the thing that didn't work for me most was first-person narrator: an ultra assassin with a touch of OCD (there's a second
Charlie Huston writes really good stories and Sleepless is no exception. This one takes place in 2010 in an alternate, dystopian Los Angeles where society is plagued by sleeplessness. Part sci-fi and part crime fiction and all noir with rich and fully drawn characters and a deep, complex plot, Sleepless succeeds on all levels. Huston is one of my "must read" authors and while I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the Joe Pitt Casebooks or the Henry Thompson trilogy or his two other stand-alon ...more
this is another stand alone book by the pulp noir style writer charlie huston. this one centers on a disease that is taking over the world known as sleepless. it effects the brain of those who have the disease and makes them a permanent insomniac...that is until death arrives about a year later. the lead is a man by the name of parks who has a wife with sleepless and a baby girl who they aren't properly able to take care of. what happens is a mystery as the undercover parks tries to find a ring ...more
Powerful, sad, fascinating story about a near-future California, after a disease called SLR has infected a good percentage of the world. The disease, similar to Fatal Familial Insomnia (a real disease), causes sleeplessness, pain, and eventual death. The infected shamble around like zombies, losing track of their memories and in many cases their minds. Society has quickly degraded, though not yet fallen completely apart. The streets are mostly lawless, private security agencies protect the rich, ...more
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Charlie Huston is an American author of Noircrime fiction. However, according to a recent interview with Paradigm, he prefers to be classified as a writer of Pulp, due to how he writes.
More about Charlie Huston...
Already Dead (Joe Pitt, #1) Caught Stealing (Hank Thompson, #1) No Dominion (Joe Pitt, #2) The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death Half the Blood of Brooklyn (Joe Pitt, #3)

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“Things are as bad as you fear they are. People are as bad as you think they are. The Universe does not care.” 27 likes
“Once we understand how they think, we can predict their behaviour. And once we predict it well, we can manipulate it. That is diplomacy.” 14 likes
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