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The Little Sleep: A Novel (Mark Genevich #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  623 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
The wickedly entertaining debut featuring Mark Genevich, Narcoleptic Detective

Mark 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 th
ebook, 288 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Holt Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,277)
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Mark Genevich yearns to be a hard-boiled PI, just like Philip Marlowe. And he tries. He talks the talk. He wears a hat. He's as hard-boiled as he can be, considering he lives with his mom. And has narcolepsy. Well, I suppose when you fall asleep at the drop of a hat, you need all the help you can get.

Every time I sleep - it doesn't matter how long I'm out - puts more unconscious space between myself and the events I experienced, because every time I wake up it's a new day. Those fraudulent extr
May 25, 2016 Jaksen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I enjoyed 'A Head Full of Ghosts,' by the same author.

First off, the book was witty, modern, filled with contemporary references, has an MC who calls his mother 'Ellen,' and was a quick and enjoyable read. The main premise is tricky, though, as it involves a PI who has narcolepsy. (He even drives a car from Cape Cod home to Dorchester while fighting off sleep. There was some absolutely great writing here; the guy knows his local geography.)

The story is about some photos
Sep 19, 2015 Tfitoby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
After reading Tom Piccirilli's Every Shallow Cut and finding myself enjoying the book's format as much as the content I went exploring the back catalogue of the Chizine Press for more interesting books by interesting authors. Amongst those that I shortlisted was Paul Tremblay, and I was sure I already knew his name from somewhere. Turns out I already owned The Little Sleep and had done for about two years without taking it off of my noir bookcase. The perils of buying everything you see.

The Litt
Apr 22, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noirboiled
The Little Sleep might as well come with a questionnaire stapled to its cover asking you to compare it to The Big Sleep, so I will oblige the marketing campaign by looking for connections: The settings have little in common (1930s Los Angeles vs. 2000s Boston), and there is a superficial plot connection (a daughter or two with a powerful father, pornography, and blackmail figure in the events of both books). But when you come to the novels' protagonists, things get interesting. The most obvious ...more
The Behrg
May 02, 2016 The Behrg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A detective with narcolepsy, who also may or may not be hallucinating when awake? And who gets a job but was "asleep" when he received the case, not knowing what he was hired to do or by who?

How can this not be an enjoyable read?

"The Little Sleep" is a premise-driven novel, no doubt, and while it does give in to many of the cliches in the noir genre, it does so intentionally. Almost self-deprecatingly. Tremblay's created a character that's fun to watch, from his "condition" to his snarky attitu
Apr 20, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! Obviously, the title is a take-off on Chandler's series fearing Philip Marlowe; where that P. I. is suave, self-assured, in command, and tough, Mark ... isn't. He was in an accident (details not given) years earlier, leaving him somewhat disfigured (how much isn't clear, but references are made), as well as narcoleptic -- those "little sleeps" that come on without warning.

Without re-hashing that actual plot, here's basically what to expect: Mark receives "compromis
Caleb Ross
Click the image below to watch the quick Wordless Video Book Review

Schlafly Oatmeal Stout pairs well with Paul Tremblay’s The Little Sleep. When enjoying a book about a narcoleptic detective, coffee immediately comes to mind. The roasted barley and oatmeal with coffee and raisin notes helps me to empathize with the character of Mark Genevich, drowsy yet always searching for the morning breakfast-and-coffee perk needed to keep me going. My wish for you, dear reader, is for less violence and mise
Paul Eckert
I had a few issues with Tremblay's short story collection, In the Mean Time, but overall I thought it was good enough to warrant reading his novels. The stories in that collection were full with quirky premises and characters that were more compelling that not.

The Little Sleep has quirk, but only in its premise. Mark Genovitch is a private detective, but due to a head injury, now has narcolepsy and a messed up face. He usually handles small-time cases that involve the banal aspects of private i
Printable Tire
I picked this up in June at the Brattle Book shop when I was visiting Boston with a friend because I remembered hearing about it- like a conversation on NPR with the author or something- and I wanted to read a new book. Well, it's not "new" anymore, but the author is local and I'm a sucker for books with a local setting.

It's impossible to talk about this book without comparing it to the other PI book I recently read, Dreaming of Babylon by Brautigan. Brautigan's book is funnier and shorter, but
Sean Owen
Why does every writer with noir aspirations drag out the same tired formula. The powerful politican with a dark past calls on the help of a small town private eye with "insert quirky trait/disability/illness here" to help with a case involving his daughter. This cliched framework alone doesn't doom a book to failure. The problem lies more in these writers believing that the quirky trait they've given the detective is enough to carry the book.

Tremblay's detective is a narcoleptic. This illness cr
Kate Jonez
Nov 03, 2012 Kate Jonez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Explaining The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay with a few snappy pull-quotes makes the concept of the book sound completely convoluted and ridiculous. It does when I’m the one stringing the words together anyway and I’ve tried a few times. So I’ll settle for the movie pitch short-cut. The Singing Detective meets Memento, with a wittier protagonist —and no psoriasis.
The tale of a narcoleptic detective solving the puzzle of how a photograph fell into his hands while he was sleeping unfolds like a b
Oct 10, 2008 Drew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mark Genevich has narcolepsy in the worst way. He falls asleep midsentence. He has vivid hallucinations that he can't always tell from reality. He walks around and has conversations in his sleep, often fooling others into thinking he's awake. He suffers from attacks of cataplexy, aka "sleep paralysis". And he works as a private detective, which for him generally means taking cases that consist of finding data on the internet. However, now he's been hired by a pretty young contestant on "American ...more
Richard Thomas
Aug 10, 2010 Richard Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's Raymond Chandler's THE BIG SLEEP, and then there's Paul Tremblay's THE LITTLE SLEEP. It's funny, the title, on so many levels.

I like detective stories, mysteries. I just read my first Lee Child, have long been a fan of John Sandford, Preston & Child, and F. Paul Wilson. Paul Tremblay holds his own against these guys, and makes the classic noir his own. Call it contemporary-noir, or neo-noir, it's a modern twist, with a great sense of humor. The narcolepsy alone is hilarious, and ever
Michael X
Jan 17, 2015 Michael X rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the sequel in the not too distant future. The little sleep grabbed me from page one - I only meant to have a sneak look - and ended up abandoning my other "books-on-the-go" until I'd snapped the back cover shut.
Dec 05, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my new favorite authors. Get it when it comes out - I mean it. I can't wait to see what he comes out with next. It had me (and had me smiling to myself) from the second page. This is a great find. Dry, witty, and what could be more intriguing than a narcoleptic detective? That hook on the back of the book lures you in, but the writing makes you sit up and take note - this is no silly, over-the-top slapstick comedy of errors. This dude can write. I love finding an author who - I do ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Troy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the audio book signed by the author that I won thru a charity auction. Fantastic audio book, great production and a wonderful novel. Looking for the sequel now.
I picked The Little Sleep up at random from the local library. I didn't recognize Tremblay's name at first, although I had actually read his most recent novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, back in March. Which is a good thing, I suppose, because while I didn't really get on with that one, I absolutely adored this surprising neo-noir thriller.

I love hardboiled detective stories and initially expected this to be a sort of spoof on the genre. The cover and title at least seemed to hint at a lighter, wink
Apr 03, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Laugh-out loud funny and a pleasantly engaging mystery. I will seek out more by Tremblay.
Jun 18, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A narcoleptic who's a dick, literally and figuratively. A novel featuring "the unreliable narrator."
He's something of a jerk who blames the world for his problems. He falls asleep and hallucinates unexpectedly, yet fails to stop smoking (swiss cheese couch) or record conversations (note pad filled with gibberish.)

The majority of this story, and its lame conclusion, is solely due to the PI's lack of information and smoking while sleeping. The rest is pure coincidence or imagination: a photo of a
I was really certain that I'd posted this review when I finished this book over a week ago, but apparently I didn't. So apologies if my memory is a bit sketchy here...

“Now there's only me and everything else is on the periphery, just slightly out of reach or out of touch or out of time.”

Mark Genevich stars in The Little Sleep (a play off Raymond Chandler's far superior The Big Sleep). Mark is a P.I. in Boston, and suffers from narcolepsy as a result of a car accident a few years ago. Mark does n
Tom O'Connor
May 14, 2010 Tom O'Connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100-books
Just picked this up at the library on a whim, and I'm glad I did. Very original take on your classic, hardboiled detective novel. I had figured out most of the "mystery" by the end, but the characters and the story were great. It stayed true to the genre without giving up its original take on the scene, especially in the persona of the main character. I thoroughly enjoyed this book
May 08, 2010 victoria.p rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was fantastic - the writing was excellent and the twist on old school noir detective novels really worked for me. Mostly, though, I loved the narrative voice. I loved the use of language so much. Hopefully that kind of distinctive, interesting writing carries over to Tremblay's other novels. If so, I will definitely be reading those as well.
Dec 27, 2015 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I have to admit I was a little disappointed by this book. Though, given that A Head Full of Ghosts was one of the absolute best books I read this year, the bar was high. Plus, this was a debut novel, so it's sort of an unfair comparison no matter what.

Anyway, the premise is: Late 20s, disfigured, narcoleptic, not-terribly-successful Boston PI has to solve a mystery kinda-sorta involving his family & old family friends (including the local DA & recent American Stars singing sensation). Al
Linda  Branham Greenwell
The story is about a young man, Mark, who is struggling to build a life as a PI after a terrible accident that left him with narcolepsy (dropping off to sleep at any time) and cataplexy (where a person is unable to move but is aware of what is going on around him). Mark does most of his detective work from home on a computer - for obvious reasons. But one day he know that he has had a client come to his office and leave him with incriminating pictures - but he does remember who the client was - ...more
Dec 18, 2014 Alistair rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Mark Genevich, a South Boston P.I. has a problem; actually he has a few. Incriminating pictures have been left in his office, the woman in them bearing a striking resemblance to the District Attorneys celebrity-driven daughter. Mark would know who left them except he fell asleep, a symptom of his narcolepsy. Marks endeavours to discover who left the pictures and why, lead to murder and unearthing a skeleton in the family closet. The joy of this book is the language; Tremblay imbues Marks voice w ...more
Oct 19, 2008 Paul added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
It's my first novel, so I'm terribly biased!
Matt Smith
May 16, 2015 Matt Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, mystery-crime
Being a private investigator isn't easy. And if you also happen to be a narcoleptic it's definitely no walk in the park. Because it's important for PI's to remember, y'know, details. This is Mark Genevich's life: a day-to-day routine of uncontrollable little sleeps, waking dreams, and all of South Boston looking at him like some broken puppet.

That may be why Mark doesn't balk when a client enters his office saying that her fingers were stolen (remember, this is South Boston). And the woman bring
Jan 19, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Genevich is narcoleptic. And he doesn’t just fall asleep at odd times. He also has vivid hallucinations, loses control of all his muscles and becomes paralyzed, and sometimes he looks like he’s awake when he isn’t and still manages to do things like take notes so no one even notices. It’s a very interesting concept. And leads to some major complications when it comes to solving a case. Mark can never be sure if what he remembers actually happened. He is missing important pieces of informati ...more
S. Wilson
Jun 21, 2009 S. Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a certain sub-genre of detective novels that I have always been a fan of, that of the Unreliable Narrator. Something about a private investigator that can't trust his own perceptions of reality, let alone his clients, deeply appeals to me. Maybe it has something to do with the individual's daily struggle to make sense out of the world that whirls about them with little rhyme or reason. Perhaps I just like to see my heroes struggle harder than they have to. No matter the reason, I can no ...more
Charles Dee Mitchell
How many physical and mental challenges can a private eye face? Raymond Burr was wheelchair-bound in Ironsides, and I remember a self-explanatory series called The Blind Detective. Monk has OCD, and the character in Eric Garcia's novels is a tyrannosaurus in human drag. What's left?

Paul Tremblay has made his hero, Mark Genevich, narcoleptic, the result of a car accident where he should have been wearing a seat belt. Narcolepsy seems to be a disorder that would take you out of the private eye gam
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Paul Tremblay is the author of the forthcoming novel A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS (May 2015, William Morrow). His other novels include THE LITTLE SLEEP (Henry Holt), NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND (Henry Holt), SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE (Chizine Publications), and the forthcoming YA novel FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T FLY (Oct. 2015, co-written with Stephen Graham Jones, as P. T. Jones).

He is the aut
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“Hope is a desperate man's currency.” 6 likes
“I’m like a friend admitting some reprehensible bit of behavior that forever warps and taints the relationship. Only I’m not a friend. I think I understand her obvious discomfort. Strangers are supposed to lie.” 0 likes
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