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The Little Sleep (Mark Genevich #1)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  497 ratings  ·  91 reviews

Raymond Chandler meets Jonathan Lethem in this 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

MP3 Book, 0 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by BBC Audiobooks America (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 906)
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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
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
Caleb Ross
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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 viol
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Tom O'Connor
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
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.
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
Alistair Baird
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
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 Genovich'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
Kate Jonez
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
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
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
Sami Cyanide
Being a fan of the noir genre and books with a twist, I was eager to read this tale of a narcoleptic detective. However, describing narcolepsy seems easier than putting it into action. The book kicks off with a great, though misleading opener: the daughter of a DA comes in with a case only to have been a hypnogogic hallucination (a symptom of narcolepsy). Yet there still is a case to be solved and Mark Genevich, our pitiable antihero, is on it. The story lulls toward the middle, losing the momen ...more
Paul Tremblay started out life in Aurora, CO (making him a local guy from where I sit and read), which is how he made it to my "to read" pile. The premise of the book--a narcoleptic private investigator trying to figure out what case he's supposed to be working on (he was in a waking sleep at the time he was hired and a small packet of pictures was left with him)--moved it up pretty high on that pile, as did the fact that it's a debut novel (though Tremblay has received two Bram Stoker Award nom ...more
Paul Tremblay's debut novel, The Little Sleep, not only sports a eye-catching title, but a premise that's just as intriguing.

Obviously, the title's supposed to get the reader thinking of noir classic, The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler--so one expects the lone-wolf, tougher than nails, sardonically witty gumshoe typified by Philip Marlowe. But Tremblay's protagonist, Mark Genevich, has one challenge his predecessors in the genre doesn't have...he's a narcoleptic. So he's falling asleep, hallucina
Tremblay's short stories are either filled with a cold sense of purpose, with short, tight sentences or are warm and emotional. His novel combines both, quite a feat.

The Little Sleep is a novel about Mark Genevich, a narcoleptic detective down on his luck with a new case... but one where he only dreamily remembers the details. It starts strong and stays that way. In another author's hands the narcolepsy of the main character might be a gimmick of some kind, but Tremblay's not afraid to explore t
I stayed up late (for me) last night so I could finish this book. It's a lot like drinking coffee, a lotta lotta coffee, reading this book. It kind of made me jittery and wide awake. Now why would I read a book at bedtime that would do this? I get more time with books at bedtime, whether going to sleep (or trying to) or reading myself awake. And I wanted time with this one. Becky over at NoMoreGrumpyBookseller reviewed this a while back and it immediately got my attention, made my Wanton Wantin' ...more
What I liked best was the narcolepsy factor. Never knowing when the detective would be incapacitated or hallucinating makes you question every clue, adding a dimension to the mystery that I've not really experienced before. Very nice.

Plus, after I did some research, I found that the narcolepsy portrayed looks a like like it is medically described. I learned a lot about narcolepsy from this book. Not just the scientific description, but how it would play out for a real person.

The hard-boiled det
I've been looking forward to Tremblay's debut novel for a little while now, being familiar with some of his shorter work (including this year's ChiZine contest winner, "The Blog at the End of the World") and was expecting something that looked to play dirty in the sandbox that magical realism or slipstream. Instead, I was introduced to a down on his luck PI named Mark Grenevich who also happens to be a somnambulist.

I anticipated dark, I got noir. I was blown away.

The layering of details, the v
The central "gimmick" of this mystery -- the private eye suffers from narcolepsy, and it affects his handling of the investigation -- could have easily gone wrong in dozens of ways, but Tremblay makes it work, seamlessly integrating Mark Genevich's physical condition with the "standard" elements of the "the universe is stacked against me, but to solve this case I will push back with everything I have" tropes of the genre. It makes Genevich an even more unreliable narrator than usual; at this poi ...more
Yet again, I feel like I want to throttle the people who choose/write blurbs for book covers. I am not a person who can avoid reading them, if there is text on the cover of a book, I will read it, that's just who I am.

So I pick up the book, read the cover, and expect that it will be dark but funny. I liked the book, I think it's a great noir-ish/unreliable-narator detective story, but it's not a comedy. There's sarcasm, and the protagonist seems to have a sense of humor about his life, but it's
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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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Other Books in the Series

Mark Genevich (2 books)
  • No Sleep Till Wonderland (Mark Genevich, #2)
No Sleep Till Wonderland (Mark Genevich, #2) In the Mean Time Swallowing a Donkey's Eye A Head Full of Ghosts Phantom

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