Posts Tagged ‘Red Eye’

Sleepless by Lou Morgan

October 8, 2016 - 7:51 am No Comments
SLEEPLESS by Lou Morgan.
Red Eye, London, UK. £6.99 paperback.
334 pages. ISBN: 978-1-84715-455-2
Reviewed by Pauline Morgan.
51zkvqyguzl-_sx324_bo1204203200_ Authors are often exhorted to write about what they know. All of us have been teenagers, sat exams and done things that we ultimately recognise as being stupid. Teenagers in books are often inflicted with the same issues. Not all of them are quite as idiotic as the ones in Sleepless.
This book is aimed at the 13-16 age group and as such involves a group of youngsters about to sit GCSE exams. Many readers will be familiar with the Barbican Arts Centre complex, with its theatres, restaurants and galleries. Visitors will notice the elegant surroundings and the ranges of flats that add to the warren of buildings. As might be expected, these are expensive being in the heart of London. Izzy and the group of friends she is part off, all live in the Barbican. They are expected to excel in their exams; their school is not one that takes failure lightly. So there is pressure on them to succeed. At the start of their study leave, they congregate in Tigs flat. Tigs has a scheme to help them all. She has acquired some tablets that are supposed to help them concentrate on revision. It seems a good idea at the time.
Once the exams are over, the trouble starts. They start to experience hallucinations. And they find one of their number dead. They discover that the drug, originally designed for American combat troops, changes the chemistry of the brain. There is only one way to counteract the effects and that is to stay awake for forty-eight hours. For all of them, this is a hard task and the situation is weirder and nastier.
In certain respects, this has all the aspects expected of a novel for this age group, particularly the lack of evidence of adults. Izzy’s father has had to go away on business, Tigs mother is in rehab and the other adults are hardly mentioned. This is a relatively enclosed environment and for some reason, these teenagers are trusted not to be stupid. They compound their idiocy in taking what they thought was a harmless food supplement by not talking to adults as things begin to go badly askew. When Dom dies, they leave his body in the pond where they found it and pretend that it isn’t there. They are running scared and they make wrong decisions, yet there isn’t one of them who is prepared to get the help they need. It would mean confessing to taking a, probably illegal, drug and cheating to pass their exams.
This is a horror novel, and the cover has a warning that the book is not for younger readers. Too many youngsters take pills for kicks without considering the consequences. These are no different but it would be nice to think that readers in the age group it is aimed at would take on board the lesson it tries to teach. I doubt it.
Lou Morgan writes well and her teenage characters are convincing. Older readers of horror will enjoy the writing even if they can see the actions of these youngsters as something more than foolish.