SLEEP: A Horror Story by Lynn Biederstadt

SLEEP: A Horror Story

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A queasy but not vast improvement over Biederstadt's first psychic novel, The Eye of the Mind, yet we are still far, far away in never-never land. Matt Wicker is a Pulitzer-winning photographer who jumps into his stories body and soul, like an actor. For his great firefighter series, he joins the fire department, trains, spends seven months shooting fires from the inside of burning rooms--until he and his closest buddy are trapped in a falling room. The buddy dies and Matt spends a year in traction, recovering. Then he sees glorious Kelly, a model, stark naked in the Fire Island dawn, snaps a series of her in the buff and becomes the world's most famous photographer because of this single nude series. An addictive risk-taker and workaholic, Matt lives with famed Kelly but is going bonkers, his darkroom haunted, his sleep invaded by some incubus giving him both sleeping and waking nightmares of sheer horror. What's more, in real life, he's fallen dead thrice, been carted off D.O.A. Matt's boss Stan forces him to go to Nora Summerland, a sleep doctor. She knows he's hurtin' when he tears a real rat in two and grinds it to hamburger in his fingers. Then, to show Nora he doesn't need her anymore, he chops off a fingertip while wide-asleep on his feet. ""Stan, the problem is big. Bigger than you suspected,"" Nora tells his boss. In fact, Sleep has become an entity, has directed an advertising man to murder his family, and another of Nora's patients to attack Stan with an ice pick. How can Matt and Nora kill Sleep? For many readers, that's as dumb a question as its sounds, since Sleep is never a convincingly rendered entity, only an asserted one, even when portrayed as a rapid five-day course of degenerative insanity. And the climax is as strained and far-fetched as the so-called psychosis that the novel's about.

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's