None Shall Sleep (Ellie Marney, A&U)
From mastermind Australian YA writer Ellie Marney comes a gripping new psychological thriller. Although the novel is not set in Australia—Marney opts for the larger criminal playing field of the US—the author still brings an Australianness to her characters, who are complex and down-to-earth. Set in 1982 during the early stages of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, two teenagers—Emma Lewis, the lone survivor of a serial killer, and Travis Bell, a future US Marshall whose father was killed by a serial killer—are recruited to interview convicted juvenile killers. A twisted game ensues when incarcerated teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson manipulates them with information about a serial killer on the loose in Pennsylvania. While akin to a YA Mindhunter or Silence of the Lambs, nothing really compares to None Shall Sleep, an emotionally raw and nuanced exploration of the monsters that live inside us. The story unfolds slowly with captivating and spine-chilling finesse, and Marney expertly pulls off the ambitious omniscient narration, giving insight into the teen protagonists as well as some of the FBI agents and serial killers. Heading more into New Adult territory, None Shall Sleep tackles some challenging themes, but will appeal to readers who enjoy gritty realism and true crime thrillers.
Freelance reviewer Mischa Parkee is a bookseller, primary school teacher and YA enthusiast.