cover image Sleepless


Charlie Huston, , read by Mark Bramhall and Ray Porter. . Blackstone Audio, $105 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4417-2633-9

Huston's brilliant mixture of sci-fi and noir crime, in dialogue with and arguably improving on such past dystopian visions as the film Blade Runner and William Gibson's Neuromancer , features Los Angeles in the throes of a bizarre epidemic that renders the infected sleepless and bound for eventual death, and two narrators: young undercover LAPD cop and family man Parker “Park” Haas and the aging but amazingly resourceful mercenary known as Jasper. The use of dual readers—Mark Bramhall and Ray Porter, as Jasper and Park respectively—helps to identify the points of view. For the cop, a former Stanford professor struggling to care for his family and do his job, Porter employs an intelligent voice tinged by bitterness and anxiety. But it's Bramhall who's given the plum assignment: Jasper is cool, cynical, dryly humorous, and always in control, even when faced with overwhelming odds. He's an actor's dream, and Bramhall's dry, bemused, and at times darkly humorous delivery is stunning. A Ballantine hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 5). (Jan.)