Eyes of Sleeping Children by D.A. Butcher Review

D.A. Butcher comes out swinging hard with this stunning debut novel. Eyes of Sleeping Children is a psychological thriller set in the 1930’s and takes place in a depression hit Kansas that is about to bare the brunt of a giant dust storm.

The focus of this story falls squarely upon the Lockhart family, and specifically upon the father Louis. As the storm begins to attack their small family farm the Lockhart’s seek shelter in their cellar.

Eyes of Sleeping Children Cover

Yet the storm is but the beginning of this families tragedies, after awakening from a troubled night of sleep Louis finds that his son, Jesse, is missing, yet there is neither a sign of forced entry or that the young boy has left the house.

Who, or possibly what, is to blame? While Louis looks for an answer within the reality he understands, his wife begins to break down and lay the blame squarely upon a figure from the realm of nightmares, The Sandman.

Louis must work quickly if he has any hope of ever seeing his son again, he sets out on a journey that will delve into the past, and into secrets long since lost to time.

But that’s enough about the book’s plot, I really would not want to ruin this one for you.

This is a daring, but well executed, debut novel that takes a number of different genres and themes and makes them all coalesce brilliantly as the story comes to its climax.

At times this feels like a locked room thriller, while at other times it delves wonderfully into some psychological twisted world that sends shivers racing up and down your spine. And yet through all of that it somehow manages to blend and balance it very nicely with a depression era set family and their day to day struggles and drama.

The story is told through the eyes and mind of Louis Lockhart, and for the most part he is an engaging and interesting character that we as outside readers can easily empathise with. And while there are a supporting cast of mostly interesting characters it is with Louis that we are firmly embedded, both narratively and emotionally.


As Louis frantically begins his hunt to find his missing son the book ratchets up a notch and becomes a zealous race to unravel the mysteries and discover the truth lurking in the shadows. Over time though it is Louis himself who begins to unravel and whose mind deteriorates, while this gives for some excellent character focus and really brings Louis alive and fleshes out his characterisations, it also slows down the pace of the book at points to little more than a crawl. While this is not a major issue it does make the book feel imbalanced.

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However, as the story enters its final acts it rekindles the fire that had burned so brightly at its opening. In fact by the final pages this book had burnt not only itself out but me as well, there are some disturbing scenes throughout this novel that have stayed with me long after the final word has fluttered its way through my mind.

The twists and turns that lead up to the grand finale are mind bindingly well conceived and that climax, boy was that a treat to behold. Throughout most of the novel I thought I knew the truth, I thought I was an all knowing reader, but I was very much mistaken, Butcher had more than a few tricks up his sleeve to leave me feeling the fool.


Indeed so much of this book has stayed so vividly with me that while writing this review I feel like I have only just put it down when in reality I finished this book week ago, and have read many others since then.

Not only is the story well conceived it is also very well written, Butcher has the skills and talents of a much more seasoned writer.

There are a couple of negative points though, as with any book. I think there are a few pacing errors that make the book feel unbalanced, it almost feels like there are two books wearing the trench coat of one sometimes. The dialogue can at times feel a little stilted, and I would say there are a few too many metaphors and similes used which can slow down the pace of the book somewhat, but this is me being overly pedantic and attempting to find something to balance this review.

Overall this is easily one of the best debut novels I have ever read, indeed it is one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read period, and I will no doubt be diving back into again soon, and I sincerely implore all of you to do the same.


Rating: 10 out of 10.

If you’d like to check out Eyes of Sleeping Children for yourself, and I highly recommend you do, you can find it over on Amazon.


Find Me by Anne Fraiser Review

Infamous serial killer Benjamin Fisher has finally agreed to lead detective Daniel Ellis to the graves of his victims. There’s just one catch, he’ll only do it if his estranged daughter, former FBI profiler Reni Fisher, joins them.

Reni can’t say no, she feels complicit in those bloody crimes. Her father would use her to lure unsuspecting women to their untimely deaths. Reni wants closure, for herself, and for the families of her fathers victims.

But for Reni and Daniel this is not the end of a nightmare, it’s merely the beginning.

This is an interesting read and the opening few chapters are compelling. Sadly the spell doesn’t last and I found myself getting a little bored as the story progressed.

The book gets bogged down in describing the scenery over and over again, and the same scenery I might add. A lot of the book takes place in a desert, I know what that looks like so you can stop describing it to me and get on with the story.

This fascination with scenery slows the pace of the book down to a boring crawl. It also makes it really strange that there’s not much description anywhere else. I liked the characters and the premise is enticing but the book takes far too long to actually deliver on anything it promises.

When you do finally reach the end it’s a bit crazy and unusual. Not quite what I had expected and not really in a good way.

If you like slow burning reads this might be worth adding to your reading list. But if like me you like a story to get to the point I’d avoid this one.

The Stranger Review

This thriller may miss the mark but it’s still worth a look.

Harlan Coben churns out suspenseful thrillers at an impressive pace, and while that might continue bringing him in the big bucks it does mean more than a few of his novels miss the mark.

The Stranger is one such tale that fails to live up to Coben at his nail-biting best, though it is clever enough to be entertaining.

Adam Price, his wife Corinne, and their sons Ryan and Thomas live the idyllic suburban dream in Cedarfield, N.J. This picture perfect life comes crashing to a halt however one night at a bar when a man known only as the stranger reveals to Adam a scret that his wife has kept hidden, a secret that shatters Adam’s world and causes his wife to vanish.

The strange imparts secrets like that on various individuals across the country, including a middle-aged woman and a medical student. Price decides he must hunt down the stranger if he is to find his wife.

Sadly Adam is not the most compelling lead I’ve ever read, he’s naive and befuddled in his attempts to find his wife and track down the stranger. He’s a prominent lawyer and yet the way he goes about his investigations are more akin to a toddler, and all of that makes for more of an exhausting read. We want Adam to succeed, we want him to find out the answers, and yet he’s so frustratingly useless at times I just wanted him to give up and go home so I could stop reading.

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Before I Go To Sleep Review

When I heard about Before I Go To Sleep I couldn’t help but think, “here we go again, it’s another simple romantic thriller with very little to offer the reader beyond a few shocks and a maybe a couple of awws.” But it wasn’t long before I realised this wasn’t just a simple copy and…

Worse though is the stranger. His attempt to rationalise his actions of outing peoples secrets simply to ‘rid the world of lies’ is questionable at best and just plain bad storytelling at worst. It’s almost as if Coben wanted us to feel for the stranger, to feel he was a good guy but his self-righteous piety and desire to ruin peoples lives simply to out secrets is disgusting at its very base level. This is not a character we should be persuaded to have any sympathy for.

But it’s not all bad, it really isn’t, this is still a fun read with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing up until the end. I can’t recommend this book for any new Coben readers but if you’ve enjoyed him in the past I think you’ll find enough here to be worth a read if you have some spare time and nothing else to fill it with.


Rating: 6 out of 10.

If you’d like to check out The Stranger for yourself you can find it on Amazon.

Before I Go To Sleep Review

When I heard about Before I Go To Sleep I couldn’t help but think, “here we go again, it’s another simple romantic thriller with very little to offer the reader beyond a few shocks and a maybe a couple of awws.” But it wasn’t long before I realised this wasn’t just a simple copy and paste story.

Every day our dear heroine Christine wakes up not knowing where she is. Her memories disappear each time she falls asleep. Her husband, Ben, is a stranger to her, and he’s obligated to explain their life together on a daily basis, all because of a mysterious accident that sadly made Christine an amnesiac.

This book is a surprisingly complex thriller filled with intense moments of suspense. Every word of dialogue seems to have a double meaning, causing the reader to question everything they are told. Did this accident actually happen or is it all a manifestation of her own mind?

She wants to run from herself, from her new reality. The reality where she has to learn everything about her life each time she awakens. A reality with this stranger called Ben who claims to be her husband.

Most thrillers make the reader want to scream at the character on the page. Saying things like don’t go there, don’t do that, it’s him run! S.J. Watson has managed to write a book where the reader has become as clueless as the characters as to what is happening and what will happen.

But when you get to the end all the signs have been there, and you were as blind to them as Christine was. You both failed to see them, and you both feel that same sense of being lost and alone.

Like any novel this one has it’s faults as well as its shining moments. For example, in Christine’s diary that she uses to remind her of her new life there is no mention of cell phones. The last real memory she has is from her twenties when there were no mobile phones, and yet throughout the story she is constantly using her cell phone.

This is just a trivial thing of course but with a novel like this all those small overlooked details do stick out. There were more such moments throughout the novel but some are more integral to the plot so I shan’t mention them here.

This book was the author’s first published novel. It is on the whole very well written and edited. It was quickly picked up by Hollywood and was transformed into the movie of the same name starring Mark Strong, Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.

If you want to get a copy you can head over to Amazon. I strongly recommend this novel if you fancy a good thriller.


Rating: 9 out of 10.