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Are You Sleeping

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  13,078 ratings  ·  1,636 reviews
Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Gallery Books
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Jillian Yes, her alibi was that she was at her friends house. But her friend was on so many painkillers it would have been easy for her to slip out unnoticed.…moreYes, her alibi was that she was at her friends house. But her friend was on so many painkillers it would have been easy for her to slip out unnoticed. Also, one of the twitter or reddit threads a woman talks about how she remembers seeing someone run through her backyard around the time of the murder.(less)

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  13,078 ratings  ·  1,636 reviews

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Susanne  Strong
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
4 Stars.

What happens when your past comes back to haunt you? In “Are You Sleeping” by Kathleen Barber, the main character, Josie Burhman finds out. And for her, it isn’t pretty.

Josie has spent ten years hiding from her past, going so far as to legally change her name and traveling abroad aimlessly for five years before setting down roots in New York. But as we all know, you can’t escape your past for long. Josie’s father was murdered, thirteen years prior. Her mother, unable to cope, takes off
An unscrupulous reporter, Poppy Parnell starts a podcast to reopen the murder case of Charles Buhrman and it quickly goes viral. His two daughters, Josie and twin sister Lanie haven’t spoken to each other since the day of the murder. A horrid event that sadly tore the family apart along the way.
Now, years later, the recent death of their mother is bringing them back together. Can Josie let go of the past and reunite with her sister?

Told from Josie’s perspective, as well as Poppies’ pod-casts a
Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
3.5 stars

Are You Sleeping is a predictable psychological thriller. In spite of this, it’s very much so that I found that I HAD to keep reading, even though I knew how things were going to play out.

10 years ago, Josie Borden nee Buhrman fled her small Illinois hometown to start a new life. She travels the world, changes her last name, and finally settles down with her boyfriend, Caleb, in Brooklyn. What’s she running from? 13 years ago, Josie’s father was murdered. Lanie, Josie’s t
Are you Sleeping (Truth be Told) by Kathleen Barber is a 2017 Gallery Books publication.

Highly suspenseful psychological thriller!

I received a newsletter/ email from one of the many book related sites I subscribe to, I can’t remember which one- but they highly recommended a book called ‘Truth be Told’ which will soon be adapted into a miniseries for Apple TV. When I went to Goodreads to see how well the book was received, I didn’t find it right away. A little digging revealed the book was orig
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reconsidered: The Chuck Buhrman Murder was splashed in bold red letters across a fuzzy black-and-white picture of my father. It was the headshot he had used for work, the one where he looked less like an actual college professor and more like a caricature of one, with his tweed jacket, crooked eyeglasses, and thick black beard. The faint twinkle in his eyes threatened to undo me.


this book is split pretty evenly between “family drama” and “mystery novel.” on the plus side, it is a compuls
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it

And how exactly do we arrive at our view of the world and all of its clingy entanglements?

Is it purely ours to hold within or has it been tainted and smeared with the handprints of others?

Kathleen Barber presents her story of Are You Sleeping through the lense of social media. Poppy Parnell, an investigative reporter, is resurrecting a murder case from 2002. It involves a beloved college professor from Elm Park College in Illinois. Although the murderer has been convicted and serving
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars! I enjoyed this suspenseful, gripping, page-turning debut psychological thriller!

This story follows the main character, Josie, through the reassessment of her father’s murder case from thirteen years prior. Investigative reporter, Poppy Parnell, creates and releases six mega-hit podcasts titled “Reconsidered” that reexamine this murder trial. Through the podcasts, Parnell asks questions to uncover facts and theories which end up reopening the case that was ‘solved’ years ago. Was the c
Traveling Sisters Group Read with Brenda, Kaceey, & Lindsay!

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars

ARE YOU SLEEPING by KATHLEEN BARBER is a clever, suspenseful, creative, and a somewhat predictable psychological thriller novel that was uniquely told with podcast excerpts and social media feeds which added a very interesting aspect to this storyline for me. The way that this story was told and the format of this book is what I found most enjoyable.

KATHLEEN BARBER delivers a well-written and character-dr
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars

I read this one along with my Traveling Sisters and enjoyed our short discussions. Time wasn’t really in our favour with this one and we mostly read it on our own. So for this review, I will focus on my thoughts.

Are You Sleeping was a nice surprise for me and I really enjoyed the lighter side to this story yet a little chilling and unsettling at the same time. It’s a story with hidden family secrets and betrayals that has caught the attention of the media. I really enjoyed what I called
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
What an exciting thriller! Josie has tried to escape her family for over ten years. Her father was murdered, her mother joined a cult, and her sister turned on her. Josie is alone and scarred.

Eventually, Josie is engaged and finds happiness in New York City; however, her fiancé has no idea about her past. When a reporter exposes Josie’s father’s case, her world falls apart.

I loved the podcast elements. I loved the reporter (Poppy’s) character, as well as Josie. I really felt for Josie and her ha
It’s been thirteen years since Josie’s father was murdered and twelve years since his murderer was imprisoned. The tragedy destroyed the family. Josie hasn't talked to her mom or twin sister in over a decade. She thought she left all of that baggage in the past, but blogger/journalist Poppy Parnell is hosting a hit serial podcast that's bringing the closed case back into the public eye. Josie panics. She’s spent the last decade trying to forget that night and now everyone is talking about it. Sh ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Are You Sleeping is part suspense, part thriller and a lot family drama all nicely rolled into one fabulously written book. While it is yet another TWIN drama filled with lies and deceit, the plot is unique and the addition of social media via podcasts make the story more interesting as well as more timely.

Josie and Lanie are twins who survived the tragic murder of their father years before. Their mother, in the aftermath, ran off to join a cult! Now, a reporter with a podcast is re-examining t
There’s an emerging literary trope in which an intelligent, but battled-scarred female protagonist with a tragic past, gets the hell outta dodge, but is inevitably forced back to her hometown to confront her demons. A spurned love interest, bitter ex-bestie, or pissed-off sibling are also generally thrown in for good measure. Off the top of my head I can think of two acclaimed works published in 2016, Kara Thomas’ The Darkest Corners and Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls, which fit this form ...more
Crime by the Book
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
UPDATE: I recently did a Q&A with Kathleen about this book, and I just had to share it!! Her responses are fantastic. Read that here:

4.5/5 stars for this original & addictive read!! Read my full review here:

This book definitely isn't as dark as some of its peer psychological thrillers, but its originality & inventive storytelling make for a completely addictive read. A great summer thriller!!
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Complex, creative, and satisfying!

Are You Sleeping is a character-driven thriller that takes us on a journey to solve a 10-year-old murder while delving into the intricacies and psychological effects homicide, deception, and abandonment have on surviving family members.

The writing is well done. The characters are scarred, leery, and emotionally distant. The plot has a good mix of mystery, intrigue, conflict, and drama. And the unconventional narration using true-crime podcasts and social media p
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Truth or Lie Stars

When Josie and Lanie were 15, their father was killed. According to Lanie it was Warren (son of their neighbor). After that incident, Josie and Lanie’s relationship wasn’t like before. Lanie became the villain, unstable and drug user girl. Their mother had some issues but with these things everything became too much for her so she abandoned them and joined a cult without saying anything to them. After that Josie left home and start traveling abroad. Now twelve years after t
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
“I’d hoped it would all just blow over, but apparently America has an appetite for that brand of opportunistic, sensationalistic reimagining of the truth.”

This one has an interesting concept. Amid the trend of true crime podcasts looking into crimes of the past whether unsolved or controversial where every key piece of evidence gets investigated with the hope of overturning a conviction by the end (think Serial), you’d think we’ve seen this done before. But you’re wrong.

I was enligh
Mar 27, 2017 rated it liked it

Josie Buhrman's father was shot and killed 13 years ago, and Warren Cave - the goth teenage boy next door - was convicted of the crime.

Afterwards, Josie's already troubled mother fell apart, and ran off to join a cult.

To top things off, Josie's rebellious twin sister, Lanie, betrayed her in a very hurtful way.

So at 18, Josie left a goodbye note for her beloved Aunt Amelia - with whom she'd been living - and left Elm Park, Illinois.

Josie backpacked and hitchhiked around the world, supported he
Jenni Walsh
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 17scribes
Talk about an addicting, compulsively-readable book. The author truly kept me needing to know what was going to happen next, with a captivating format that includes the transcripts, commentary, and social media of an investigative reporter (a la the Serial aspect of the story), coupled with the first-person narrative of Josie Buhrman, the daughter of the murdered man featured in the podcasts. Josie's storyline was immersive, fully developed, and​ she portrayed a​ like-able voice in which I was d ...more
j e w e l s
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bejeweled
You can find more twisted plot reviews at

Josie's father was murdered by a teenage neighbor ten years ago, when she was still a girl. The killer was sent to prison and Josie's family fell apart. Her mother, an emotional wreck, up and left Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, to join a cult in Northern California. She never saw or spoke to her daughters again. Josie and Lanie, the twins, are left to live their teenage years with their Aunt Amelia and cousin Ellen. Lanie was
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
"The truth is never complicated. It's just the truth.Circumstances may be complicated, but the truth is always black and white."

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber is an engrossing psychological thriller with innovative storytelling and a compelling plot. It is a classic whodunit, but with the twist of modern day elements such as podcast transcripts, reddit threads and twitter feeds. I wouldn't place it under the dark and horrifying category of thrillers as there is minimal bloodshed and vey lit
Liz Barnsley
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved "Are you Sleeping" which again has two very different sisters at the heart of it and reminded me just a little of the brilliant "Six Stories" which I also loved recently - but I think that was just the podcast aspects which really do work well in telling the wider story.

In "Are you Sleeping" a new podcast re-examining an old murder opens up old wounds for an already fractured family. Taking in themes of memory, sibling relationships and traumatic past events, Kathleen Barber weaves a ten
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
What are the stories we tell ourselves?

A podcast about the Charles Buhrman murder of 2002 is about to reopen old wounds for daughter Josie and possibly create new ones. Living in a protective box, Josie has managed to piece together a new life in the Big Apple with Caleb. But the past's reach is not far Journalist Poppy Parnell's clutch. Poppy seeks unanswered questions about Josie's fathers untimely death. Is Warren Cave the man convicted of Buhrman's murder the actual assailant or was a lie to
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
3.5 stars
If you enjoyed (maybe the wrong word?) podcasts like Serial or S-Town, this book might appeal to you. The story follows a young woman, Josie, whose life gets disrupted when a podcast about her family's tragic history becomes a sensation. The premise sounded really intriguing and it started off quite well, but I did feel it lost momentum after some time, and became a bit repetitive and rather predictable. That being said, it was an easy read and well-written. I would read more by this au
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a perfect book for a rainy weekend and this reader was able to keep the pages turning while so engrossed in the happenings of Buhrman family. Josie and her sister Lainie are estranged due to lot of things but especially the tragic murder of their father which Lainie claimed to have witnessed. The family falls apart as Josie runs away, changes her last name, and distances herself from her sister. She meets and falls in love with Caleb lying about her history. Mrs Buhrman also runs away a ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book pissed me off!! It seriously did. I finished it two days ago but can't stop thinking about it.

Josie is happily living in New York with her boyfriend, Caleb who is an international aide worker. While Caleb is out of town, Josie's carefully constructed life begins to fall apart. A journalist by the name of Poppy Parnell has been discussing the murder of Josie's father on her podcasts. A young man by the name of Warren Cave was convicted of her father's murder, but Journalist Parnell bel
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the end, I enjoyed this book - but it was the plot, not the characters, that turned the tide. For much of the first half, all I did was mutter to myself how much I detested main character Josie Buhrman (and to a slightly lesser extent, her twin sister Lanie). The latter sister struck me as the "evil" twin, just as apparently she did to the characters in the book who knew her. Josie was another story; she spent most of her time berating other people for their lying ways when she was arguably t ...more
Josie Buhrman's father, Chuck, was shot in the head in their family home when Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, were teens. Their seventeen-year-old next-door neighbor, Warren Cave, was convicted of the crime, based mainly on Lanie's testimony that she saw Warren shoot her father. Now, twelve years later, Chuck's case is being featured on a new podcast, called RECONSIDERED (think SERIAL), featuring crime reporter Poppy Parnell. Poppy has unearthed the case at the behest of Warren's mother, Melan ...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
My daughters have been trying to get me to listen to podcasts for the past couple of years, I know that one in particular was enthralled with “Serial”. I am usually listening to audiobooks so I have only listened to one or two podcasts but they were not based on any crime in real time. The idea that someone would just decide to take apart a case where a murder took place 13 years previous and run with it is scary. I also found it a bit hard to believe that the police wouldn’t push back against s ...more
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
From Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way"

Josie Buhrman had reinvented herself, to escape her family's tragic past.

But Poppy Parnell, is a journalist trying to make a name for herself, with her new Podcast, "Reconsidered" which examines the murder of Josie's father, and questions if the right person is behind bars..

Told along with the Podcast transcripts, tweets, and interviews, this is a novel for recommended for fans of the
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Goodreads Librari...: Could you please combine those books? 3 22 Aug 22, 2018 05:55AM  
Play Book Tag: Are You Sleeping - Kathleen Barber - 4 stars 2 21 Jun 24, 2018 10:10AM  
Three Pretty Bean...: May Book Selection 1 7 May 09, 2018 01:12PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please combine 3 45 Nov 17, 2016 01:22PM  

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Kathleen Barber’s first novel Truth Be Told (formerly published as Are You Sleeping) is the inspiration for the Apple TV+ series of the same name, produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and starring Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul. Kathleen was raised in Galesburg, Illinois, and is a graduate of the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law. She lives in Washington, D ...more

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