“As a young man, Leon Nader suffered from insomnia. As a nightwalker, he even turned to violence during his nocturnal excursions and had psychiatric treatment for his condition. Eventually, he was convinced he had been cured – but one day, years later, Leon’s wife disappears from their flat under mysterious circumstances. Could it be that his illness has broken out again?
In order to find out how he behaves in his sleep, Leon fits a movement activated camera to his forehead – and when he looks at the video the next morning he makes a discovery that bursts the borders of his imagination. His nocturnal personality goes through a door that is totally unknown to him and descends into the darkness….”
Hello book fans. Welcome to damppebbles and to my review of The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek – translated by Jamie Lee Searle, the sixth book in my #15BooksofSummer challenge. The Nightwalker was published by Sphere on 28th July 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and ebook formats. If you’ve been following my blog for some time and you have a very VERY good memory you may remember my husband’s brilliant Christmas gift to me several years ago. The Nightwalker was one of the books he chose.
My husband knows me well (thankfully!) and is aware of my love of translated crime fiction, particularly German and Japanese novels. Sebastian Fitzek is my favourite German author and I have read a number of his translated books (and all before damppebbles.com existed!). This was quite different though. It was plodding along at an enjoyable pace without the usual twists and turns I was used to in a Fitzek novel. And then things kinda took an odd turn. I say ‘kinda’, there’s no bones about it, it definitely went off on a tangent I never expected. I have to confess I was a little lost at points. But the confusion was sort of fun. It’s a very clever book and I would love to know how the author managed to construct such a twisty tale – where the ideas came from and how he managed to plot it just so. I feel the need to draw similarities to Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter in some respects.
Leon is a fascinating character with a long, disturbing history of sleepwalking. One particular event sent alarm bells ringing for me. We’ve all heard of the tales (possibly myths) of sleepwalkers committing murder in their sleep. That’s not quite what happened to Leon but it wasn’t far off. But he’s had extensive treatment for the condition and his life has improved. That is until the morning he wakes and his wife has left him. Fearing his old habits are back with a vengeance Leon straps a motion-activated camera to his head and records his nightly meanderings. Watching the video back the next morning blows his mind. Sleeping Leon finds a hidden door, descends a ladder and enters an unknown world.
I’m not going to say anything else about the plot. All I will do is advise you to pick up a copy of this somewhat mind-blowing book and read it for yourself. There are many things I’m still trying to get my head around in this novel but I found it immensely interesting that the author has taken something we all do, but know so little about and written this wonderfully odd thriller about it.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. But I will suggest picking up other Sebastian Fitzek novels before this one as it felt quite different to his other books and I’m still not 100% sure how I fully feel about it (I finished reading the book in mid-June and I’m writing this review on 31st July!). I felt a little giddy reading The Nightwalker but ‘good’ giddy. ‘Something a bit different and verging on out of my comfort zone’ giddy. Interesting. Very, very interesting.
The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek was published in the UK by Sphere on 28th July 2016 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and ebook formats (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links which mean I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Book Depository | Goodreads |
Sebastian Fitzek was born in Berlin in 1971. After going to law school and being promoted to LL.D., he decided against a juridical profession for a creative occupation in the media. After the traineeship at a private radio station, he switched to the competition as head of entertainment and became chief editor, later on, thereafter becoming an independent executive consultant and format developer for numerous media companies in Europe. He lives in Berlin and is currently working in the programme management of a major capital radio station.