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Books to Fall Into : Are You Sleeping By Kathleen Barber

Lately, I’ve fallen into the habit of picking up books, putting them down, and then returning to them days later only to rediscover that the book isn’t as interesting as I’d hoped. The truth is, there is nothing better than having a good book to look forward to reading every day and distract you from your daily mundane activities

In exchange for nothing but an honest review, Gallery Books sent me an E-reader edition of Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber. From the very first page, I was hooked. Finally, I had stumbled across a book that I could hardly put down.

Josie Buhrman has a haunting past. One that she has kept well hidden for the past thirteen years. Ten years prior, her father was murdered by the neighbor next door.  Afterwards, her mother ran away to join a cult. Josie and her twin sister, Lanie, are then taken in by their Aunt Amelia.

Josie and Lanie were once the best of friends. But after their father’s’ death, they begin to separate from one another .  And when Lanie severely betrays her sister, Josie makes the decision to cut all ties with her. As soon as she graduates high school, she changes her last name, moves to New York, and meets her boyfriend, Caleb.

Throughout their relationship, Josie has fed Caleb nothing but lies about herself, her family, and her past. She tells herself that one day, she will reveal the truth to him. But this day comes sooner than expected when the murder of Josie’s father, Chuck Buhrman, becomes the subject of a mega-hit podcast series called Reconsidered.

In Reconsidered , investigative journalist Poppy Parnell re-opens the Chuck Buhrman case, one that was ‘solved’ years ago. Is the man who was convicted for the murder actually innocent? If so, then who is responsible for the death of Josie’s father?

Highlighting just how quickly rumors can circulate and information can spread through online news and social media, Kathleen Barber puts an interesting spin on your average psychological thriller – incorporating podcasts, news articles, and tweets about the murder. Her novel takes readers on a fast-paced ride – and one that will always keep you guessing.

I will always enjoy a good thriller, but this book has stood out to me in more ways than one.  More than an addicting mystery, the novel is also a family drama – as details from their family’s past resurface, Josie is forced to reunite with the sister that she left behind. It’s interesting to see how their relationship progresses through time and how their interactions feed the subplot of the novel. The author incorporates lots of flashbacks and strong characterization that make it possible to truly explore the minds of each character.

Barber has all the makings of a successful author. Are You Sleeping happens to be her debut novel – and I am utterly impressed and highly anticipating her next release. If you’re looking for a great book to read this season, I couldn’t recommend this one more. 

Kathleen Barber was raised in Galesburg, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law, and previously practiced bankruptcy law at large firms in Chicago and New York. When she’s not writing, Kathleen enjoys traveling the world with her husband.  

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