Anna O

Harper. Jan. 2024. 448p. ISBN 9780063314153. $30. THRILLER
DEBUT Dr. Benedict Prince, a sleep psychologist focused on those who commit crimes when they sleep, gets assigned to the infamous Anna O case in this strong debut. Anna Ogilvy, a young journalist accused of killing her two friends and business partners while sleepwalking, has been the focus of tabloid stories, podcasts, and true crime documentaries. An added twist to the puzzle is that Anna has not woken up since the crime, descending into a prolonged four-year slumber due to a condition known as resignation syndrome. In seeking to revive Anna, Dr. Prince starts digging into the particulars of the crime and finds a connection to another case of sleepwalking murder, awakening more violence. Using a rotating list of narrators, the story has some lags in pacing and the plot contortions begin to feel contrived when examined too closely, but overall this title is a smart and compelling thriller in a similar vein to Alex Michaelides’s The Silent Patient. Readers may be haunted by the question of whether anyone is aware of what they do while sleeping.
VERDICT A promising debut with a compelling central mystery that will keep readers guessing.
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