The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

February 2, 2010


For Mark Genevich, Boston PI, things couldn't be much worse. His narcolepsy is as bad as ever, what with the hallucinations and catalepsy. His business is failing; he has no friends, and he's so depressed that he can't even be bothered to clean his apartment once in a while. To make matters worse, on the last case he had -- to follow some CEO's wife to find out if she was cheating -- he followed the wrong woman and the whole case went downhill from there. Litigation is pending. As if all that wasn't enough to make him near-suicidal, his mother has strong-armed him into going to group therapy. The one bright spot in the therapy sessions is another attendee, Gus, a real charmer who wants to be both friend and client. Only one thing (fire) leads to another (corpse), and Gus suddenly does a disappearing act, leaving Mark holding the bag of amphetamines that the police are curious about.

There are sweet and savory characters in the crime fiction kitchen. Mark Genevich is a savory. Despite the wealth of wit and dark humor that author Paul Tremblay has lavished on his main character, Genevich is first and foremost a man whose life is endless torture. The auto accident, from which his narcolepsy dates, has left him limping and disfigured. Life is full of "can'ts" for Mark: He can't run down the bad guys; he can't even stay awake when they start thumping on him. He can't drive. He can't stay awake for client interviews. Sometimes he can't tell reality from dreams. What he can do, what he does do with as much dignity as he can muster albeit with little grace, is endure. Every day is a new day, sure, but Genevich may get half a dozen new days every day. For him the new gets old pretty damned quick.

Told from a first-person, present-tense point of view, the reader gets to be Mark Genevich with all his fears and frailties, his needs and wants, his wit, his perserverance, and also an utter loneliness unlike any other I've encountered. The very condition that has reduced this PI to an isolated existence is the same condition that produces dreams which remind him of what he has not got in reality.
"A narcoleptic is the ultimate cynic, left with nothing to believe in, least of all himself, because everything could simply be a dream, and a lousy, meaningless one at that. Have at it, Freud."

The prose is masterful and vivid. It's loaded with literary and pop-culture references (note the title), from Kafka and Dickens to The Beatles and B.B. King, and all of it tossed off in casual harmony with the story and character. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the first Genevich story, The Little Sleep, I wasn't sure that the narcoleptic detective would be as convincing in a second book. No worries. This second book is even better, with more weight and a tighter plot. And better still: No Sleep Till Wonderland goes on sale today. You can be sure of finding it at these online retailers:


  1. Cyincism at its best, it seems. One more read I'll add to my TBR pile.

    Thank you Naomi. I wouldn't think narcolepsy could be something interesting yet it seems like that here.

  2. As I read your very good review, I kept thinking about Vic Hitler from the old Hill Street Blues TV series. This sounds like quite a literary character. Thanks, Naomi.

  3. Naomi, you TOTALLY ROCK for layin' down the link to Warwick's!! Thank you!

  4. Poncho, I thought the narcolepsy would be a gimmick played for laughs but no, it's more like surreal noir. Very bittersweet.

    lp13, I had to look up Vic Hitler (I didn't watch Hill Street Blues regularly). I could easily picture him though, once I knew Terry Kiser played the part.

    Patti, yep, it's a good'un!

    Seth, my pleasure.

  5. The little Sleep was awesome, and I can'twait to read No Sleep Till Wonderland!

    I'm sure its great!...

    Paul N Tremblay...Yep I'm Paul's dad!..Oh sure
    like you knew that!!

  6. So pleased you liked the book Naomi! yay!

    I'm not claiming responsibility for the actions of one Paul N. Tremblay. *face palm*


  7. Wait, Paul N, you're the dad and he hasn't given you a freebie to read? What's that about? I know you raised him better than that!

    Paul, shame on yez!

  8. Well, yeah, you're a writer. I'm sure you can come up with a dandy explanation. ;-)