MYSTERY

Sleepless

Flatiron Oct. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781250824790. $26.99. THRILLER
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Hausmann’s (Dear Child) German psychological thriller features lonely, friendless Nadja Kulka, who suffers from debilitating panic attacks and flashbacks. She was once accused of a dreadful act that she cannot fully remember; now, having finally completed her prison sentence, she gets the chance to make a fresh start working in a prestigious Berlin law office. Vulnerable Nadja likes her new boss Gero and his wife Laura, who becomes her only friend. When a distraught Laura, who’s terrified of her husband, begs Nadja to come to her home and dispose of a dead body, a complex web of death and subterfuge entraps them. Past and present collide as Nadja’s life now hangs in the balance. Only one thing is for sure: she has always known just what people are capable of. Anonymous letters to a therapist allude to a troubled childhood, which adds layers to this clever and disturbing story.
VERDICT Hausmann’s ominous psychological suspense tale masterfully uses restraint, inserting a continual flow of small but significant clues to create tension and a heavy tone. The multidimensional characters will keep readers questioning what they know. For fans of Fiona Barton and Gillian Flynn.
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