MEMPHIS READS: Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

Andrea reviews ARE YOU SLEEPING? by Kathleen Barber (Simon & Schuster, 2017.) Twins Josephine and Madeline Buhrman had an idyllic childhood but unfortunately, that euphoria did not last. When the twins were in their early teens, Madeline (Lanie) witnessed her father’s, a beloved college professor, murder in cold blood. An intruder broke into their home and shot Chuck in the back of the head. Lanie was convinced it was Warren Cave, the goth next door neighbor who didn’t have the greatest of reputations in their community. With no real alibi, Warren was sentenced to life in prison.

Pretty open and shut case, right? It’s been twelve years and Poppy Parnell,  tabloid reporter and host of the podcast, Reconsidered, is contacted by Warren’s mother, Melanie, who had an affair with Chuck. She wants Poppy to revisit the case, and maybe Warren can be released from jail if enough evidence is in his favor. As locals will even tell you, Lanie was the bad twin, a troublemaker who drank too much and got high too often, so who’s to say her accusations are even true? And what’s up with the twins’ mother, Erin, joining a cult across the country once Warren was convicted? This family seems to be a little out of the ordinary.

Josie left the country as soon as she turned 18 and legally changed her last name because of the claustrophobic last name, Buhrman. Trying so hard to reinvent herself, Josie panics when Poppy Parnell does take Melanie up on her offer. Josie has not even disclosed to her long-time boyfriend, Caleb, any of her terrible past but now it seems she can’t escape any of it.

The ending is unpredictable and heartbreaking. Is Caleb going to understand? Will the twins rekindle their relationship? Is there justice for Warren? Why did Erin run away? Find out all the answers to all of these questions plus many more when you read ARE YOU SLEEPING, the debut novel from Kathleen Barber.