As a series of rolling blackouts plunge the city into darkness, Detective Aidan Waits sits on an abandoned hospital ward, watching a mass murderer slowly die. Transferred from his usual night shift duties and onto protective custody, he has just one job…To extract the location of Martin Wick’s final victim before the notorious mass murderer passes away.
Wick has spent over a decade in prison, in near-total silence, having confessed to an unspeakable crime that shocked the nation and earned him the nickname of The Sleepwalker.
But when a daring premeditated attack leaves one police officer dead and another one fighting for his life, Wick’s whispered last words will send Waits on a journey into the heart of darkness…
Manipulated by a reticent psychopath from his past, and under investigation from his new partner, Detective Constable Naomi Black, Waits realises too late that a remorseless contract killer is at work.
Can Aidan Waits solve his last case before fleeing justice?
The Sleepwalker was published on the 11th July 2019 by Doubleday. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book for this review.
The Sleepwalker is the third book in the dark and gritty DC Aidan Waits series set in Manchester; it follows Sirens and The Smiling Man.
Martin Wicks is dying in an abandoned ward in a public hospital following 12 years of incarceration after the murder of a mother and her three children, a crime so disturbing that it earnt Martin the nickname, “The Sleepwalker”. Aidan and his partner DI ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe are tasked with guarding Martin 24/7 during his final days, hoping to extract from him a deathbed confession as to the location of Lizzie’s body, the only Moore child that they didn’t find. On Aidan’s watch, Martin indicates he has something to say to Sutty so Aidan disappears into the night to track him down. However, Martin doesn’t get his chance as a devastating well thought-out and executed plan leaves not only him dead but one police officer fighting for his life and another one dead. Not one to be outdone by this apparent attempt to silence Martin, Aidan uses the snippet of information he did hear to find out the truth about the murders of the Moore family which takes him on a dangerous journey…but if anyone is up to the task, then it is definitely Aidan!
Aidan is a fabulously flawed character who you cannot help but like. He is most definitely not your classic detective protagonist which makes this book a really compelling read. Aidan literally trusts no one, is damaged by past events and still fighting those demons today. Following Martin’s death, Aidan comes off the nightshift and is partnered with Naomi Black, a young enthusiastic constable who Aidan doesn’t know whether he can trust so tries to shake her off at every available point.
The Sleepwalker is a complex plot with many layers which continue to draw the reader in. I really liked Joseph Knox’s writing style and the voice that he gives Aidan throughout the book. Told mainly in short sharp chapters, it is incredibly easy to get lost in the narrative. The Sleepwalker is set in Manchester, the perfect location for this dark noir read with its dark streets, abandoned buildings and shady characters around every corner.
The Sleepwalker can most definitely be read as a standalone as there is enough back story to bring new readers along (like me, I have the previous books on my bookcase waiting patiently…hangs head in shame!) but I think that it would be beneficial to really understand the crap that Aidan has been through by reading the series in order. I have really enjoyed this book and intend to go back to the start as I want to know more.
The Sleepwalker is a dark and twisty read…just fabulous!
Joseph Knox was born and raised in and around Stoke and Manchester, where he worked in bars and bookshops before moving to London. There he worked at head office Waterstones selecting the crime
thrillers and classics for focus attention across the company.
Now writing full time, he runs, writes and reads compulsively.
His debut novel Sirens was a bestseller. The Sleepwalker is the third book in the DC Aidan Waits series.