Every night before I go to bed for the past 8+ years, I have rested my hand on my daughter’s chest to make sure she is still breathing. It started when she was a newborn and has just become a habit ever since. After reading The Edge of Sleep by Jake Emanuel and Willie Block with Jason Gurley, I think I might start making a habit of doing it when I wake up as well.
When Dave and Matteo finish their overnight shift, they find that everyone who went to sleep the night before has died. Alongside a nurse named Linda and Dave’s ex-girlfriend Katie, the group do whatever they can to stay awake, get the word out to keep other people from going to sleep, and try to uncover what’s behind the worldwide pandemic.
When I first read the description for this story, it sounded terrifying. And honestly, it’s even scarier than I thought it would be. This book takes “going peacefully in your sleep” to a whole different level and I’m not sure if I want to get more sleep or never sleep again.
I found out after reading the book that it is based on a podcast by the same name, which actually made the book make a little more sense. There are different titled sections of the book and each has its own chapters, which was confusing when I read it but makes sense as a podcast format. It does not, however, make the jumps from different characters and locations any easier to navigate. While the main group consisting of Dave, Matteo, Linda, and Katie feels like the focus of the story, there are other groups that pop up in different sections and it just makes it harder to follow.
That being said, the writing itself is excellent. I was easily able to picture everything as it was happening which is a sign of great writing for me. However, the writing style in this case lends itself more to film than it does to written word in my opinion. I could easily see this story as a television show where each titled section was a new episode, but it didn’t work for me as a book.
There were a lot of loose ends that didn’t get wrapped up by the end of the book, which can work for some people but not me. I don’t need everything tied up in a neat and tidy bow, but this definitely felt like there was more to be told. I know that there is a second season of the podcast forthcoming so I suspect that there will be a sequel to the book as well. Which would be great because that ending confused the daylights out of me.
In addition to an eARC, I was also approved for the audiobook ARC, read by Franz Drameh who (if you’re anything like me) you might know from his role as Jefferson Jackson aka Firestorm in The CW’s Arrowverse. One of the best narrators I have encountered (and I listen to a lot of audiobooks)! Franz was able to create a different voice for each character that made them stand out and I was never confused about who was talking at any given point. Truly, if the whole acting thing doesn’t work out, he could definitely make a living as a full-time audiobook narrator.
If you value sleep at all, maybe don’t read this book. But if you enjoy a well-written (albeit slightly confusing to follow) dystopian speculative horror thriller kind of story, this might be the book for you. As for me, I’m going to go mentally prepare for putting my kid to bed so I don’t have an anxiety attack and keep us both up all night for fear of never waking again.
The Edge of Sleep by Jake Emanuel and Willie Block with Jason Gurley hits shelves on June 20, 2023 and you can preorder a copy here.
Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book and audiobook from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!