cover image Anna O

Anna O

Matthew Blake. Harper, $30 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-331415-3

Former political speech writer Blake debuts with a devilishly twisty psychological thriller about a woman accused of killing her best friends and then falling into a deep sleep. Forensic psychologist Benedict Prince specializes in sleep-related crimes, studying instances of reckless driving, murder, and robbery committed while the perpetrators were asleep. His article on a possible cure for “resignation syndrome,” or involuntary extended sleep, has brought him to the attention of officials at England’s Ministry of Justice, who want Prince to revive 25-year-old editor Anna Ogilvy, so she can be tried for murder: Anna’s been asleep for several years, ever since she was found beside a bloody knife in a cabin next door to the corpses of two of her friends. As Prince attempts to stir Anna, he looks into the factors that might have driven her to violence. Interwoven throughout Prince’s investigation are chapters focused on a pseudonymous character who’s researching the case for their own obscured purposes, as well as entries from Anna’s missing diary, which cover the days leading up to the murders. Blake never lets the reader, or his hero, get comfortable, delivering one game-changing twist after another all the way through to the final sucker punch. The exhilarating results are likely to shock even seasoned thriller fans. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Agency. (Jan.)