Book Review: The Sleepwalker

I was so excited when I was sent a copy of The Sleepwalker by Joseph Knox, the third in his Aiden Waits series, and I shall tell you for why: because Knox has quickly catapulted himself right to the top of my favourite crime writers list, a spot I suspect he's going to hold onto for a while.

This guy, this guy who has only published these three books is a really really good writer, this is the kind of crime fiction you dream about reading, the kind you wish all of the books were like. It's dark and atmospheric and so well-thought out and beautifully constructed. This is book three in the series now so we know Aiden, we know he's a fucked up little anti-hero that we want to shake as much as we wish we could protect him and we know, we just know that some of his choices are going to be super questionable. It's not even a spoiler to say that they are. Aiden's line between right and wrong isn't blurry, it's been erased. I adore him.

So the premise is this: Aiden is still on the nightshift, he's still working with Sutty and there's still not much love lost. They're assigned to keep a watch on a dying serial killer in the hope he'll fess up to where a body is buried before he dies but somebody kills him before he gets the chance, Sutty is injured in the attack and Aiden is left to pick up the pieces. Throw in another officer who's more than a little bit shady, blackmailing him, a new partner who he might have feelings for, Zain bloody Carver (again) and some woman who keeps phoning him up asking him to come and help out with the mother who abused him when he was a child and you have this book, which might seem like it's a lot but which actually, because Knox is such a masterful writer, is actually just the perfect amount.

This book is tense and fast-paced and snappy but also still gorgeous in the atmosphere is builds and the way it unfolds. It's twisty and turny and it makes you clench your fists as you think 'oh, god, please no' and then sends you spinning in another direction, and once again it sucker punches you right in the feels as you watch Aiden's life unravel around him as he tries to do this version of the right thing.

It's set in Manchester again, which is an added bonus for me because - and I say this every time - I love the familiarity, I love being able to picture where the action is unfolding and whilst i'm sure I'd love these books if the were set in Timbuctoo, I certainly love them more because they're set on my doorstep.

And the ending.

I'd love to say this was a fitting end to the trilogy but that would be a lie because I just want more. I don't want this series ever to end. I think because whilst you'll find this book in the crime fiction section, it, like Sirens and The Smiling Man is so much more than that - it's a look at human nature, and it's a fantastic character study.