This debut delves into the complex question of whether a person should be culpable for what they might do while sleepwalking. Could you really murder someone while asleep and not remember a thing?
This is what happened to Anna Ogilvy. At a retreat called The Farm the 25-year-old stabs to death her two best friends Indira and Douglas, then falls asleep. Anna has resignation syndrome, where someone falls asleep and never wakes up. That was four years ago.
Dr Ben Prince, forensic psychologist, specialising in sleep related crimes, has been asked to take on the task of waking the infamous Anna O. Anna needs to stand trial for the murders. She has been held at a secure hospital for the past four years, now she is secretly transferred to the exclusive Harley Street sleep clinic, The Abbey.
Ben has a theory about waking someone with resignation syndrome. Using stimuli from childhood memories brings hope to a patient. But as he becomes increasingly invested in waking Anna he feels compelled to discover if she is innocent or a cold-hearted murderer.
What is the link with a similar murder exactly 20 years before. Sally Turner, dubbed the Stockwell Monster, had murdered her two stepsons while sleepwalking. By waking Anna up, is Ben curing her or condemning her? Ben’s quest to uncover the truth might just get him and those closest to him killed.
Anna O is a unique psychological thriller with some jaw-dropping twists and turns.
Reviewed by Joanna Brewer
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After discovering that the average person spends thirty-three years of their life asleep, Matthew Blake felt the pull of a story. He began extensive research into sleep-related crimes and into the mystery illness known as resignation syndrome, research that sparked a thrilling question: if someone commits murder while sleepwalking, are they innocent or guilty? And so his novel Anna O was born.
Before writing fiction, Matthew worked as a researcher and speechwriter at the Palace of Westminster. He studied English at Durham University and Merton College, Oxford and now lives in London.