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: