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Cafe Insomniac

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  24 reviews
"The trick is not to fear the shadows but to embrace them… Night-time has become a good friend," says Justin.

But for how long?

Twenty-five-year-old insomniac Justin Brooks opens an all-night café for something to do, to fill the long nights. But soon after opening, one of his customers is found murdered in a side street.

What Justin doesn't know is that his insomnia is
Kindle Edition, 366 pages
Published September 4th 2013 by The Creative Criteria
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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Stephanie Dagg
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing

How well can you trust yourself? No matter how you cut it, you cannot. Your eyes can see things that are not present; you can hear things that you should not. Hallucinations are omnipresent, and in reading Café Insomniac you too will find yourself wondering what is real and what is imaginary, as the lines between real and unreal blur to a greater and greater extent.
Such is the predicament of Justin, insomniac and latterly a latte-serving ex-teacher in charge of the titular Café Insomniac, a
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Oct 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, thriller
I got this book in a BL giveaway.

Cafe Insomniac is a pretty weird book. I liked it.
Justin Brooks, twenty-five-year-old ex-teacher opens a an all-night cafe. Soon someone is murdered near the cafe and that worsens Justin's insomnia. What follows is a lot of weird encounters, meetings, revelations and overall events too strange for Justin to explain to himself or others. He is not sure what is real anymore.

"Hallucinations, lucid dreams, wishful thinking, neurological devilment, or a

Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Quirky, darkish, and fun. Cafe Insomniac is a small coffeehouse serving coffee and pastries to those who stop by between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The proprietor is young man by the name of Justin Brooks who suffers from chronic insomnia. The idea of opening a coffee bar seems an inspired idea for such an individual.

The clientele for an all-night cafe is a motley crew, as one might imagine. An old knackered piano was left behind when the space for the cafe was leased. A self-professed
Lindy Moone
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Are you awake while you're reading this?

Are you sure?

If you usually sleep soundly through the night, every night, this strangely charming but off-center book might just keep you awake... and peering into shadows... and wondering if your loved ones really exist. And for anyone who's ever suffered from sleep deprivation, Cafe Insomniac is a delightfully disturbing walk down (repressed) memory lane, a stroll through a Hitchcock movie set -- with David Lynch on their heels.

Cafe Insomniac is
Sadie Forsythe
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-lendable

In some ways this is a really interesting novel. It's certainly well written. Mr. Capell sure knows how to string a sentence together for the most emotional impact. It's also well edited. And since you spend a decent amount of time in Justin's head (befuddled as it may be) you get a feel for him. There is a lot of such praise I could give the book.

Unfortunately, I also thought it dragged. Now, some of this is, I'm sure, purposeful on the author's part. Justin's sleep deprived mind moves at
Matt Kelland
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well, this is a strange one. It's a crime novel, it's a romance, it's urban fiction, and it's magical realism. For some reason, even though they have very little in common, I kept thinking of that episode of The Sandman where they're all locked in a diner with The Corinthian.

As a frequent insomniac myself, I know only too well that sense of unreality that comes after lack of sleep, and Mark Capell captures it perfectly. Did that just happen? How did I get here? Can I trust my own thoughts? Am I
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: needs-review
Review to come when I have the chance to write it.

I thought this book was very good for the strength of its writing and interesting blend of genres. Some caveats, but an entertaining read, nonetheless.
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-review, arc
I first came across Mark Capell when I won a giveaway for his book, VOWS TO KILL, over at LibraryThing earlier this year. I really enjoyed it and I couldn’t wait to read more of his work. When he asked if I’d review CAFÉ INSOMNIAC I couldn’t say no! Capell’s CAFÉ INSOMNIAC is an intricate mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Justin Brooks is looking forward to the next chapter in his life. Suffering from insomnia, he decides to open an all night café and serve people looking for
Joanne Armstrong
In a word, muffled.
It had an interesting start. Justin Brooks, an insomniac, very quietly opens a night café and quietly his clientele starts picking up. A patron is quietly murdered around the corner. Justin quietly reacts to this, and to the strange man who seems to be quietly threatening him and his family.
All very quietly, as if seen through fog. Muffled noises, muted emotions. No, not through fog… as though it’s a dream. Some parts are heard in detail, and some parts brushed over, as though
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Café Insomniac keeps you guessing until the very end. The main character, Justin, is a sweet, naïve, dreamer you will find yourself rooting for. He is an incurable insomniac and exists on very little sleep. Because of this, he has been forced to give up his chosen profession of teaching children and is opening an overnight café with the financial backing of his father, who is a shrewd businessman. There are many lovable characters who show up along the way and also a few villainous ones.

Samantha Julmisse
Oct 15, 2013 marked it as to-read
To start this off, I must tell you that you will be confused, but it's a good kind of confused. There was a point where I was reading, turned to Sam, and said "I have no idea what the fuck is going on here". I'm pretty sure this is how Justin, the main character, would describe as he dealt with the events. However, this doesn't mean it was a bad book. I actually found it pretty spectacular. A lot of the writing flowed very well, even being poetic at times. The story was full of characters who ...more
Barbara Heckendorn
Oct 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-reviewed
This is a fantastic story about a young guy who is suffering from insomnia and therefore wasn't able to teach anymore. He opens a night coffee which is called Insomniac. Already in the opening night he meets suspicious individuals and has to meet extraordinary situations he isn't able to explain. During the plot he has to struggle with familiar issues as well as his insomnia which wouldn't let him sleep anymore. He can't anymore separate what is real and what is a dream or more a hallucination. ...more
3.5 stars. I received this book from the author in exchange for a review.

I don't think I've ever read anything quite like Cafe Insomniac. It's a mix of mystery and magical realism. The story has a charm to it that I liked while the mystery kept me reading. It's a very slow build, which I normally would call a negative, but I think it works here. A lot of mundane things go on in the story with strangeness sprinkled in until the strangeness seems to take over and it becomes hard to tell what is
Sharlene Almond
Apr 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The start is somewhat unusual, but it did have me intrigued. Justin starts up a night-time café, specially designed for those that can’t sleep, especially him. Battling from insomnia, his idea to open an all night café leads him down a path completely unexpected.

When an accident happens at the café, Justin debates on calling on his first customer that offered his ‘services’, claiming to want to support the local community.

At first I thought this story was going to be a bit mundane, but there
Stephen Clynes
Apr 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Justin is 25 years old and was a teacher until he lost his job due to his insomnia. What job can Justin do that will fit in with his sleeping problems? He decides to open an all night cafe to cater for fellow insomniacs, shift workers and other night owls.

Cafe Insomniac is a first person narrative and Justin's cafe is in a British city. Follow Justin as he launches his new business and tries to make it succeed. Justin meets many people and there are problems along the way.

This novel showed great
Maya Mattison
Mar 10, 2014 rated it liked it
It was a truly odd book, and it captured the state of the sleep-deprived and the world they live in, very well. The most sleep deprived I've ever been is three or four days, and I still start to descend into a hazy reality at that point...

Early on, the book is difficult to stick with as the events at the beginning are confusing, and a number of characters are introduced in rapid succession with seemingly no relation. It was a bit *too* confusing for my taste. They had their introduction and
Toni Osborne
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a strange story, highly imaginative, quite a page turner and the most outlandish premise I have read in a long time. It is told entirely from Justin’s, the main character, point of view. We get inside his mind to feel his fear and how confuse he is. As the story progresses everything becomes weirder and weirder…..very spooky indeed. At one point it is easy to feel as Justin did mix between not knowing what is real and what isn't. I had to wait till the end to find out.

What is it all about?
Ramisa R
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was ok


My main problem with this book was the excessive narration. It was obvious extra information was added in order to lengthen the novel, but unfortunately, it didn't add to the overall plot. The entire book was strange, but with a satisfying ending. However, the novel can LITERALLY be told with half the words, without any lost meaning. Justin regularly has reveries which have nothing to do with the story he's telling --and, in fact, is extremely distracting.

However, I liked the overall
Jennifer Munro
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful sensitive book about many things, but the father/son relationship is a key one. It is set in London in a cafe that stays open all night - especially for insomniacs - like the owner. Great read - tension, mystery, and an unusual look at the twilight world of the insomniac where it is hard to discern the real from the imaginary.
Cindy Cunningham
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not sure what to think! A compelling read

This novel carries the reader along a winding path of mystery and insomnia and dream. Sometimes the reader will think "aha!" now I understand what is reality and what is not! Then another turn....the book has a slight feel of something like The Golem and the Djinni or of a Neil Gaiman novel....
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a good read. There are many friends I would recommend this to, but many that I know would not like it. I guess liked it because it was so "out there", It was original, all right. Good job, Mark.
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary-lit
The premise was interesting, but it read like a self-published first novel. It would have benefitted from an editor to correct grammatical mistakes and to remove self-indulgent passages that detracted from the narrative.
Kaitlyn wilmann
Interesting twists

kept me thinking. was not what I expected when I got to the end. it kept me on my toes
Kortney Stinson
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Jan 23, 2015
Darcy Conroy
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Mar 09, 2015
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Apr 27, 2018
Sharon Daley
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Feb 01, 2015
Francine Horton
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Feb 26, 2014
rated it did not like it
Jun 28, 2016
tracy stockwell
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Jan 10, 2014
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Mark Capell is a former documentary television director. He made shows for the BBC, ITV and satellite. He got to meet all sorts of weird and wonderful people, including a gangster who offered, for 'cost price', to kill anybody who upset him. Needless to say, he never took up the offer.

Instead, he decided to take his storytelling skills to the world of fiction.

His debut novel, 'Run, Run, Run',
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“In the main café area next door, Delilah is coming to the end of Moonlight Sonata. The final notes are deep, sad — placed in a way only Beethoven knows how to place notes. They drill a hole in my stomach and place a lead weight there. If death has ever been portrayed in music, it’s in those final bars. And yet, at the same time, they’re so beautiful.” 2 likes
“I settle for a radio station that’s currently playing a Tom Waits track. That man has so much gravel in his voice that, if he coughed, you could build a road with the contents of his phlegm.” 1 likes
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