The Sleepwalker (2017)


A Spine-tingling novel of lies, loss and buried desire.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room comes a spine-tingling novel of lies, loss, and buried desire—the mesmerizing story of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night.

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge. The morning of Annalee’s disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee’s husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs’ Victorian home. As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee’s disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?

Conjuring the strange and mysterious world of parasomnia, a place somewhere between dreaming and wakefulness, The Sleepwalker is a masterful novel from one of our most treasured storytellers.


“Sex, secrets and the mysteries of sleep: These are the provocative ingredients in Chris Bohjalian’s spooky thriller The Sleepwalker. It’s a dark, Hitchcockian novel . . . Trust me, you will not be able to stop thinking about it days after you finish reading this book.”

Carol Memmott
The Washington Post

“Bohjalian’s masterful plotting evokes a magician who distracts his audience to look this way, not that way. . .The Sleepwalker is Bohjalian at his best: a creepily compelling topic and an illusionist’s skill at tightening the tension. This is a novel worth losing sleep over.”

Patty Rhule
USA Today

“After a chronic sleepwalker goes missing, the general consensus is accidental death. But nothing is what it seems in this gripping mystery.”


“Scary, limiting and downright dangerous, sleepwalking inspires a hard-to-put-down story that also mixes sex and a mystery in a polished package. . .Bohjalian is on top of his already stellar game with The Sleepwalker.”

Amanda St. Amand
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The kind of mystery that builds to a startling climax, the kind that makes the reader wonder how such a trick was pulled off…Bohjalian does a masterful job.”

Clea Simon
The Boston Globe

“A perfectly crafted surprise ending. . .Bohjalian succeeds in making us accomplices in a dark world we never knew existed."

Laura Patten
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“An extremely satisfying read. Just don’t read this one before bed. Doing so could create some intriguing and disturbing dreams.”

Sara B. Hansen
The Denver Post

“Literary and compelling, a combination so rare I’m tempted to apply for federal intervention. . .Rest assured the denouement is perfect. This is Bohjalian at his very best."

Curt Schleier
The Seattle Times

“The true feat Bohjalian pulls off is the execution of the story. Without giving too much away, the solution to the mystery of Lianna’s mother disappearance is, like a magic trick, hidden in plain sight. By the end of the novel what remains is a story that explores a range of human emotions.”

Rege Behe
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Bohjalian savors the experience of getting behind his characters’ masks, deep into their psyches . .The Sleepwalker is one of his most skillfully plotted. . .Masterful. . .an increasingly gripping tale layered with grave moral dilemmas."

Frank O. Smith
The Portland Press Herald

“Bohjalian’s beautiful prose and well-developed characters move the book along…Everything builds to reach an enormous, satisfying twist at the end.”

Jennifer Hiller
San Antonio Express-News

“Bohjalian has pacing down to a brilliant science, which is never more evident than in his latest chilling novel…He has pulled off a remarkable feat with THE SLEEPWALKER, which no reader of intelligent mysteries will want to miss.”

Kate Ayers

“In the midst of its compelling mystery, Bohjalian introduces big questions about the nature of family, about heredity and sexuality and rationality. Its ever-quickening pace leads to fascinating reveals — and while you might see some of them coming, you won’t see them all…Rest assured that The Sleepwalker will keep you up at night.”

Allen Adams
The Maine Edge

“An absorbing, cerebral story that probes a family’s haunted emotional response to the mother’s disappearance, and how each copes with confusion and grief.”

Kathleen Gerard
Shelf Awareness

“Sleepwalking is a baffling medical phenomenon guaranteed to awaken one’s curiosity. It can also, as Chris Bohjalian deftly shows in The Sleepwalker, energize a thriller’s plot…You won’t likely be disappointed.”

Dan Dervin
Fredericksburg Free Lance Star

“[The] first-hand account of their parasomnia is haunting. . .You may think you have this one figured out, but don’t be too sure.”

Carole O’Brien
Aspen Daily News

“A beautifully told story of a family dealing with an unimaginable family tragedy.”

Jenny Lyons
The Addison County Independent

“Book clubs should get plenty of discussion out of the puzzle at the core of Bohjalian’s latest, The Sleepwalker. . .He evokes ancient fears that our sexual selves are evil doppelgängers that creep out while our moral selves slumber.”

Margot Harrison
Seven Days

“It takes unexpected answers to solve this mystery. . .Bohjalian’s latest will captivate readers who crave an edge-of-your-seat page-turner they can’t put down.”

Susan Carr
Library Journal, starred review

“A stylish fusion of mystery and domestic thriller…Powered by brilliantly rendered characters, an intriguing topic (parasomnia), and a darkly lyrical narrative that captures the melancholic tone of autumn in New England perfectly.”

Publishers Weekly

“Bohjalian raises essential questions of identity and heredity, sexuality and desire, bringing the Ahlberg family conundrum into focus with a didn’t-see-that-one-coming powerhouse ending.”

Carol Haggas

“Bohjalian, bless his heart, never writes the same book twice. From the rural Vermont–set Midwives to the historical The Sandcastle Girls to the close-at-hand dystopia of Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, he charts crucial moments in different settings and with different sensibilities. His new novel is suspense with a twist. Hint: a sleepwalking heroine seems to figure in the shivery plot.”

Barbara Hoffert
Library Journal

“The Sleepwalker is more than a mystery: it’s a beautiful, wrenching novel of family secrets and the enigmas that link husbands and wives and lovers. And then that ending? Devastating and perfect.”

Harlan Coben