cover image Sleepwalk


Dan Chaon. Holt, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-17521-2

In Chaon’s thrilling and funny latest (after Ill Will), Will Bear is a man of many names, many burner phones, and a 60-pound pit bull named Flip, a former fighting dog. In an America of the not-so-distant future, Will treats the traumas of his past with a daily microdose of LSD. He needs it: a 50-year-old “traveling agent on retainer” who works for a shadowy organization called Value Standard Enterprises, Will finds people. Sometimes, he’s required to deliver them to their creditors. Other times, he kills them. Due to a worsening climate, the world through which Will travels has begun to resemble hell, a fact which doesn’t concern him too much given his childhood was its own private inferno. But when a woman named Cammie starts calling Will’s burners to tell him he might be her biological father, Will is shaken. He wonders if the woman might be an “Actress? CIA or Corporate Intelligence?” His boss, Tim Ribbons, wants him to believe she’s an artificial intelligence. The moving (and often hilarious) quest to find out who Cammie is and what she means to Will gives this a big beating heart, as does Flip, whose own post-traumatic stress is aggravated by thunder, fireworks, and tequila. As ever, Chaon expertly fuses the dystopian nightmares of technology and crime with fascinating characters who cross a hellscape to find each other. This is his best one yet. (May.)