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The Little Sleep (Mark Genevich #1)

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  690 Ratings  ·  124 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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(showing 1-30)
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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 15, 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
Apr 11, 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
Jan 08, 2013 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
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
Apr 14, 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 mis
Oct 19, 2008 Paul added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
It's my first novel, so I'm terribly biased!
The Behrg
Apr 25, 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
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
Oct 08, 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
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
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
Richard Thomas
Jul 16, 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
Nov 18, 2016 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A half-decent mystery novel, which is half-homage, half-parody of Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep." The mystery itself, which grafts elements of the Sternwood scandal onto a the narrative of a crooked Boston politician (gee, guess what fugitive FBI informant mobster's name gets dropped from time to time?), is predictable and rather dull, although props to Mr. Tremblay for replacing the hapless Carmen with a snotty teenage contestant in a TV singing contest. However, the hero, Mark Genevich, is ...more
Oct 07, 2016 Craig rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this, but it just didn't draw me in. I struggled to keep reading, though I did eventually finish. The main character is a detective who is beset with narcolepsy and I think that's a great idea that could have made for a great novel, but unfortunately, this isn't it. When I read the description, I was thinking of something along the lines of the movie Memento, with its main character beset by short-term memory loss and keeping lists of things to remember each time his cond ...more
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
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
Mar 27, 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.
Michael X
Jan 15, 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.
Sep 22, 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.
Елена Павлова
Миналата година на декемврийския Панаир на книгата се запознах с Пол Трембли, благодарение на уникалната, размазваща "Призраци в моята глава", в чуден превод на Богдан Русев и прясно-прясно станала носител на "Брам Стокър 2015". И оттогава се заканих да прочета още нещо от този автор... та до ден днешен, когато най-сетне си угодих и разбрах, че чакането си е струвало: в самолета за МосквУ и легълцето ми там стопли "The Little Sleep" и сега алчно почвам да търся втората част.
Накратко: "Малкият съ
Eileen O'Donohue
"So kid what do you think?" Sorry Paul Tremblay, you seem like a decent fellow, but your writing is too cliche for my taste. My interest was held for a bit, but then one tacky film noir bit after another, and I stopped caring about the main character. I am beginning to see a pattern with detective stories, where the investigator is not to be remotely taken seriously (The Girl on the Train for example). Also the main character emotionally disconnects from helpful people; calls his mother Ellen, l ...more
Jan 13, 2017 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read (listened to) these books out of order: No Sleep Till Wonderland first, then The Little Sleep. Didn't matter. I still enjoyed them both. Tremblay can really write, and Mark Genevich is a great character. The idea of a private eye with narcolepsy is brilliant, and it really adds to the suspense and uncertainty that drives the plot. I can't wait to read more in the series.
Eileen Keiffer
Not a fan of this one, but might have been better had I not chosen the audio-book version. Narcoleptic detective = unreliable narrator. Hard to figure out what was real, and what was fake, which could be fun, but I couldn't get invested so I didn't really care. Once I got to the ending, it felt like a lot of work for not a lot of payoff. Novel concept and a lot of folks on Goodreads really loved this one. It just wasn't for me, apparently.
Jan 12, 2017 Sylvia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad & funny + great narration
Jan 03, 2017 Kylie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. Well written and funny.
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
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
Jul 07, 2010 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
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Paul Tremblay is the author of DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK and the award-winning A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS. His other novels include THE LITTLE SLEEP (Henry Holt), NO SLEEP TILL WONDERLAND (Henry Holt), SWALLOWING A DONKEY'S EYE (Chizine Publications), and the YA novel FLOATING BOY AND THE GIRL WHO COULDN'T FLY (co-written with Stephen Graham Jones, as P. T. Jones).

He is the author of the short sto
More about Paul Tremblay...

Other Books in the Series

Mark Genevich (2 books)
  • No Sleep Till Wonderland (Mark Genevich, #2)

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“Hope is a desperate man's currency.” 8 likes
“Being lost isn't the same as being nowhere. Being lost is worse because there's the false hope that you might be found.” 2 likes
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