Dead Sleep


Greg Iles


Mystery / Thriller


Date Reviewed:

July 23, 2006

ow, is this book a page turner. When I finished the last page, I said - that's a 5 star book for sure. Well, maybe not for sure. I have thought about it a little bit over the last several days, and there are several things that happen that don't make too much sense - why are the suspects so easily able to evade FBI surveillance? Not everyone is guilty, but at times in the novel, some of the innocent ones take some actions that ought to be explained. There are some coincidences too.

But I am quibbling! That was the wrong way to start this review, complaining about a some loose ends - I didn't think about them when I was reading. I was racing through the book at breakneck pace, eager to find out what happens next. Iles does a great job and keeping the tension up.

Here is the background - Jordan Glass is a 40 year old famous photographer - she has won a Pulitzer for her photographs. But now she is burnt out from all her dangerous work in warzone, taking pictures of people in peril. So she goes to Hong Kong to relax. Maybe shoot photos of landscapes. Jordan visits an art museum. Inside the museum is a new exhibit of paintings called the Sleeping Women - but the nude women in the paintings don't look asleep, they look dead - but it is kinda hard to be sure, because there is a level of abstraction in the art. As Jordan looks at these uncomfortable images, she notices a lot of the patrons are looking oddly at her. Consternation grows. Soon, she sees a picture of another dead/sleeping woman on the wall, and no wonder all the men in the room (there are no women) are staring at her. The woman in the painting is obviously her. Certainly this is cause for alarm! We soon learn that Jordan has an identical twin sister named Jane, and just 18 months ago Jane was abducted in New Orleans and never seen again, and is now presumed dead. Is this dead Jane in the photo? Are all these portraits made of other missing/dead women???

Jordan immediately flees from Hong Kong (after getting some photos of the art exhibit). She calls the men she knows from the FBI - during the futile investigation for her missing sister, Jordan got to know several FBI guys quite well. Jordan's sister lived in New Orleans, but the paintings on display in Hong Kong are presented by an art dealer named Christopher Wingate, in New York. Jordan books a flight to New York, she wants to confront him face to face, because she believes that if he recognizes her face (which is identical to Jane's) she will be able to determine if he is the killer, accomplice, or perhaps an innocent art dealer. The confrontation with Wingate is well done. He is sinister and creepy and the peril to Jordan is extreme. There is another painting, a 20th painting in the Sleeping Women line.

The scene shifts to New Orleans, where it turns out quite a few women are missing. Is a serial killer at work? The FBI (nor anyone else) had not known about the Sleeping Women exhibit in Asia - it was just luck that Jordan visited that showing and that she recognized her sister. They FBI brings its best agents, and Jordan insists on not being left out of the investigation this time (18 months ago, she felt cut out of the loop while FBI searched for her sister.) All the suspects look quite suspicious.

That's all I will say about the plot. Iles appears to be a terrific writer, and I see he has several other books that are highly praised. This one was quite well done, I will try to look for more by this author.