cover image The Sleepless

The Sleepless

Victor Manibo. Erewhon, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64566-046-0

Manibo’s slow, thoughtful debut presents a stark view of society in the 2040s through the eyes of New York journalist Jamie Vega, who’s determined to prove that his boss and mentor, Simon, was murdered. When Jamie discovers Simon dead at his desk with a bottle of wine and an empty tube of contraband drugs, he immediately suspects foul play. As Jamie investigates which of Simon’s enemies may be responsible, Manibo draws readers into an eerily realistic near future where visors have superseded smart phones, maglev trains allow for fast travel across the U.S., and roughly a quarter of the world’s population suffer from hyperinsomnia—a condition that prevents sleep. As one of the Sleepless, Jamie devotes his extra hours to pursuing leads and exposes a startling fact: he was the last person to see Simon alive, an encounter he has no memory of. Though Jamie’s lead suspect, a disreputable man eager to buy Simon’s media company and fold it into his megacorporation, appears clichéd at first, Manibo gradually reveals a frightening depth to these aspirations as Jamie draws closer to unravelling both the cause of his amnesia and the person responsible for Simon’s death. Manibo neatly dissects the drawbacks of capitalist demands on society in this taut near-future procedural. It’s smart, high-tech noir. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky (Aug.)