Some books seem custom-made just for you—ARE YOU SLEEPING by Kathleen Barber is that kind of book for me. This inventive thriller blends the addictive psychological suspense of authors like Ruth Ware with a podcast-inspired storyline—aka a combination of two of my most favorite things! I’m thrilled to share an excerpt from this highly-anticipated Summer 2017 thriller with you today. But first, a little background information…
ARE YOU SLEEPING (on sale 8/1/17) has been on my to-read list for ages now—I’ve been not-so-patiently working my way through my TBR until I reached this book, and today is the day: I’m diving in at long last! This book seems poised to deliver a fresh, addictive take on psychological suspense, and I’m so excited to share an excerpt from it with you.
Read on for: Plot Summary // About the Author // Excerpt // Buy Links
Happy reading! xx A
Plot Summary & About the Author
The only thing more dangerous than a lie...is the truth.
Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father's murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay.
The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.
When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathleen Barber was raised in Galesburg, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University School of Law, and previously practiced bankruptcy law at large firms in Chicago and New York. When she’s not writing, Kathleen enjoys traveling the world with her husband.
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber—Excerpt
Excerpt from transcript of Reconsidered: The Chuck Buhrman
Murder, Episode 1: “An Introduction to the Chuck Buhrman Murder,”
September 7, 2015
Charles “Chuck” Buhrman had no enemies. A mild-mannered professor of American history at a small midwestern liberal arts college, Chuck was respected by his colleagues and well liked by his students. Each year, students in the History Department at Elm Park College held an informal vote to determine their favorite professor, and each year, Chuck Buhrman was crowned the winner. By all accounts, he was similarly well regarded in the community of Elm Park, Illinois, where he made his home. People recalled his participation in thankless volunteer projects like organizing the annual town Halloween parade, selling raffle tickets to support the civic arts center, and manning the cash register at the library rummage sale. Even his family life seemed picturesque: a young, beautiful wife and a set of adoring, well-behaved daughters.
Chuck Buhrman was living the American Dream. But then, on October 19, 2002, this popular and congenial man met an untimely end—shot at point-blank range in the back of the head in his own kitchen.
Warren Cave, the seventeen-year-old next-door neighbor, was arrested and charged with the murder. He was convicted and is currently serving a life sentence.
Chuck Buhrman’s murder was a shocking, senseless crime, but at least justice has been served, right?
But what if Warren Cave didn’t do it? What if he’s spending his life in prison for a murder he did not commit?
My name is Poppy Parnell, and this is Reconsidered: The Chuck Buhrman Murder. I’m going to spend the next several weeks investigating these questions and others that may arise. My goal? To take a hard, unflinching look at the scant evidence that might have convicted an innocent man, and to perhaps uncover the truth—or put to rest any lingering doubts—about what really happened that fateful night in October 2002. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.
Nothing good happens after midnight. At least that’s what Aunt A used to tell us whenever we begged for later curfews. We would scoff and roll our eyes and dramatically pronounce she was ruining our social lives, but over time I came to see the wisdom in her words. Trouble is the only thing that occurs between midnight and sunrise.
So when my phone rang at three o’clock that morning, my first thought was, Something bad has happened.
I instinctively reached for Caleb, but my hand grasped only cool sheets. Momentary panic fluttered in my throat, but then I remembered Caleb was three weeks into a trip overseeing aid workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Still half asleep, I dimly worked out it was eight o’clock in the morning there. Caleb must have forgotten about the time difference or miscalculated it. Frankly, neither mistake seemed like him, but I knew how draining these trips were on him.
The phone rang again and I snatched it up with a hurried greeting, eagerly anticipating Caleb’s familiar Kiwi accent, the soft rumble of his voice saying, “Jo, love.”
But there was nothing. I sighed in frustration. Caleb’s calls from abroad were always marked with exasperating delays, echoes, and strange clicks, but they had been particularly difficult on this trip.
“Hello?” I tried again. “Caleb? . . . I think we have a bad connection.”
But even as the words left my mouth, I noted the lack of static. The connection was crisp. So crisp, in fact, that I could hear the sound of someone breathing. And . . . something else. What was that? I strained to listen and thought I heard someone humming, the tune familiar but unplaceable. A warning tingle danced up my spine.
“Caleb,” I said again, even though I was no longer convinced my boyfriend was on the other end of the line. “I’m going to hang up. If you can hear me, call me back. I miss you.”
I lowered the phone, and in the second before I pushed the disconnect button, I heard a hauntingly familiar feminine voice quietly say, “I miss you, too.”
I dropped the phone, my hand shaking and my heart thundering against my rib cage. It was just a bad connection, I told myself. Those had been my own words echoed back at me. There had been no “too.” It was three in the morning, after all. It hadn’t been her. It couldn’t have been. It had been nearly ten years; she wouldn’t call me now, not like this.
Something bad has happened.
I grabbed the phone and checked my call log, but there were no clues, just a vague UNKNOWN CALLER.
Something bad has happened, I thought again before sternly ordering myself to stop. It was only Caleb, only a bad transcontinental connection, nothing that hadn’t happened before.
But it still took me two doses of NyQuil before I could fall back asleep.
Okay, tell me you’re not intrigued. ARE YOU SLEEPING will release 8/1/17, and you can find pre-order links below! I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this book on Instagram and Goodreads as I read, and as always, stay tuned for my full review here!