Let me start this off by saying that while I realize that Paul Tremblay's debut novel is a play on Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, I cannot compare the two as I have never read Chandler. So, I really can't comment on that other to say that even I can't miss that link.
In The Little Sleep, PI Mark Genevich has a unique problem in that he suffers from severe narcolepsy. It's all the result of an accident that occurred years ago, and his symptoms range from nodding off at odd times to sleeping while appearing to be awake (semi-functioning and speaking so that those around him almost don't notice he's not really with them) and even paralyzing episodes where he is still very aware of things around himself but he cannot respond. So, when a local semi-celebrity appears in Mark's office and says she wants to hire him to find her fingers, he should have suspected something was up. When he wakes, he finds an envelope with two photos of the woman inside. Now, not only does he have to solve the case of the photos, but he has to figure out exactly what the case is. And apparently, after the woman in question claims to have never met him, he has has to figure out who hired him as well. Of course he can't admit any of this because what kind of detective would he be if he can't even keep his cases straight.
Tremblay's mystery is a unique one with a funny spin. Don't be mistaken, though, the book is not farcical by any means. Genevich isn't a sad sack either. Sure, he's something of a cynical pessimist, but he's also pretty amusing as the stress of the case forces him to project a sort of laissez faire attitude about his condition while attempting to assure his mother that all is well.
The Little Sleep is being hailed as a hard-boiled, "new noir" mystery and is an Indiebound Indie-next pick for April (which means that indie booksellers all agree that you should be reading it!). It's fresh and fun and kept me up until 3 am reading! I guarantee that once you start, you'll find yourself in the same position I was. So, find some quiet time and settle in 'cause you're not going to want to put it down!
Alright, so now I am definitely in need of a nap and all thanks to Paul Tremblay and Mark Genevich, but that's ok because that's when you know you've found a great read. I can't wait to see what Tremblay comes up with next.
The Little Sleep is out now in trade paperback. I've not read anything quite like this one, so I really don't have a fair comparison. Others are saying it's like Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn, but if you've attempted that one, as I have, rest assured that Mark Genevich is much easier to read than Lethem's detective with Tourette's : )
Go get Little Sleep today. Read it tonight, and I dare you not to love it.