Portraying the seedy underbelly of Manchester with shocking realism, The Sleepwalker is the third book in the bestselling Detective Aidan Waits crime series.
Another compelling read by Joseph Knox, one of our best contemporary crime writers, The Sleepwalker had me hooked with its dark twists set against a backdrop of Aidan’s emotional survival. This is a novel that also powerfully addresses the current homelessness issue, the devastating impact of new, cheap synthetic drugs such as Spice and the Victorian prison conditions.
When the novel opens, Detective Aidan Waits is sitting on an abandoned hospital ward on protective custody. The unnerving tension of the narrative slowly builds as Aidan patiently waits for a convicted mass murderer to die. However before that happens, Aidan is tasked with finding where the murderer Martin Wicks buried the body of his last victim, Lizzie Moore, a young girl he was obsessed with.
Yet when the hospital ward is ambushed, leaving one police officer dead and another fighting for his life, Wicks recants his murder confession in Aidan’s ear before he also dies.
Manipulated into investigating the attack, Aidan is partnered with Detective Constable Naomi Black, a promising young police officer who he cannot trust. But why exactly can’t he trust her?
Aidan is a complex character on a path of self destruction. He despises himself and is on the brink of suicide throughout this novel. Yet even though he himself is not aware of it, there is strong sense of goodness within him and is driven by his integrity. I swear, even though Aidan is such a frustrating character, he is so compelling too and you can’t help but empathise with him.
I love Knox’s portrayal of Aidan’s character in all the novels, but in The Sleepwalker it is so raw and poignant, and so readable. This aspect of the narrative is further enhanced with the inclusion of Naomi Black, who also briefly appears in The Smiling Man.
There’s no doubt about it, The Sleepwalker is a potent novel. But living in Manchester, like Sirens and The Smiling Man before it, I found it especially potent as it portrays such a raw, dark and real Manchester which I loved.
I have been lucky enough to go to Q&A events with Joseph Knox a few times, and each time he talks about how there is something romantic about Manchester to him. He once said that when you write noir, you want to express a certain type of romantic view of a place, a type of hardness and toughness.
Knowing Manchester very well (I have lived here for almost 20 years and absolutely love it) and knowing many of the places Knox depicts in his novels, I can definitely say he has brilliantly achieved his goal.
Thank you Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be involved in The Sleepwalker blog tour. A massive thank you to Joseph Knox for writing this brilliant, heart wrenching instalment in Aidan’s story. I just hope it’s not the last, especially as I found The Sleepwalker the most powerful and left me gasping for more.
To follow my fellow book bloggers on The Sleepwalker blog tour, please see below.
The Sleepwalker was published on 11th July 2019. You can also read my review of Sirens which I reviewed in an earlier blog post.
Happy reading everyone! 😊