Thanks so much to Tracy’s Place for having us, and to everyone following the tour. Here’s today’s look at When All the World Sleeps:
When we were writing When All the World Sleeps, we wanted to give Daniel Whitlock a past he couldn’t escape, so we made him a killer. Daniel is guilty, and guilt ridden, but there’s a big question mark hanging over his culpability: Daniel claims he was sleepwalking when he killed a man.
The law doesn’t always get it right, because there is a massive difference between the way the law is applied in courts and in actual justice. And you can take that any way you like. Either Daniel shouldn’t have gone to jail at all because he was sleepwalking when he burned down Kenny Cooper’s house with Kenny inside, or he should have rotted in there for the rest of his life because he took a life.
It wasn’t self-defence. Daniel was frightened of Kenny, and he was angry as well. He was holding a well-deserved grudge against the man who’d bashed him so bad it put him in the hospital. And wherever in his subconscious that Daniel buried his anger and his fear, one night it all boiled over while he was sleeping.
I think there’s one passage in the book that really sums up the reality of the situation where Bel, a cop, is talking to one of Daniel’s tormentors:
“The law is done with Whitlock. You oughta be done as well. And if you ain’t, then next time we talk it’ll be at the station. You understand me?”Nobody in the town of Logan trusts Daniel. He’s shunned and hated and feared. And Daniel doesn’t trust himself either. He’s afraid he’ll kill someone else. He’s so afraid of this that he makes some bad decisions. He thinks he can keep himself contained. Then he thinks he can trust some guy he met on the internet to do it for him.
Brock’s mouth tightened.
“You understand me?” Bel asked again.
“Yeah,” Brock said, scowling. “I got you loud and clear, Officer. Kenny’s dead, Whitlock’s walking around, and I gotta let it go. That’s the fucking law.”
“Yeah, that’s the law.”
Brock stared at him for a moment. “Ain’t no wonder people take it in their own hands then, is it?”
Yeah, Bel thought as he watched Brock slink away like a stray cat. Ain’t no wonder.
There were no winners here. Not Kenny, not Daniel, and not the law. They were all wanting, every one of them.
Bel makes some bad decisions too. In his reactions to and interactions with Daniel, he echoes some of the prejudices and victim-blaming tendencies held by most of the town. He initially believes that gay men in Logan should stay closeted and that Daniel could have prevented his bashing by not hitting on Kenny. Yet he’s drawn to Daniel, and the better he gets to know him, the more he wants to help. Except Bel’s a cop, and in a small town like Logan being on Daniel Whitlock’s side means having the rest of the town turn against him. Bel can’t cure Daniel, and he can’t erase the past. Nobody can do that.
Daniel can’t escape his past. Neither can Bel. All they can do is try and figure out a way to live with it.
Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a great pair of prizes! Up for grabs is an ebook of our last co-release, Mark Cooper versus America, and a $20 gift voucher from Riptide. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On APRIL 2, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win this awesome prize!
About When All the World Sleeps:
Daniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so: he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper’s house—with Kenny inside it—after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night.
Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn’t believe Daniel’s absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar, tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night—for the sake of the other townsfolk. Daniel’s fascinating, but Bel’s not going there.
Yet as he’s drawn further into Daniel’s dark world, Bel finds that he likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace he’s ever known. But Daniel’s demons won’t leave him alone, and he’ll need Bel’s help to slay them once and for all—assuming Bel is willing to risk everything to stand by him.
So Daniel grows up and goes off to college and when he comes home he is beaten up by former high school friends who find out he's gay. They beat him almost to death but Daniel tells the cops he can't remember who it was. Everyone in town knew it was Kenny Cooper and his friends Clayton, RJ and Brock but no one is arrested. Months go by and then one night while sleepwalking Daniel wakes up, heads to the store for a candy bar, a soda and a lighter and sets Kenny's house on fire – with Kenny in it .
That was three years ago. Kenny served 8 months in prison for the arson and murder and returned to Logan to finish his parole. He tries to be an upstanding citizen but everyone thinks he's a murderer and a meth head because when he sleepwalks that's the way he acts. No one believes that he was actually sleepwalking when he set the house on fire and thinks he just made it all up to get out of it.
Joe Belman was always attracted to Daniel – even back when he was in Jr. High school. Now Joe, or as he's known in the book, Bel, is a cop and has his eye on Daniel again. He believes like everyone else that Daniel's a liar and that he really knew full well that he was killing Kenny - until he saves Daniel from his house when it's set on fire and he finds Daniel chained to his own bed.
Bel gets more interested in Daniel and he starts to volunteer to sit with Daniel while he sleeps so that Daniel doesn't have to feel so fearful after the fire. As Bel gets to know Daniel he starts to see another person than the one he always thought he saw. Now Daniel's not perfect by any means but he's what Bel wants and Bel's not gonna let anyone tell him he can't have Daniel – no matter what.
When All The World Sleeps is a very emotional book. Daniel is thoroughly messed up because of his sleepwalking and believes he needs the pain of BDSM to exhaust himself enough to sleep. Now Bel does some light BDSM – super light – but even that seems to work for Daniel. Bel takes care of Daniel when he wakes in the night and keeps him under control and out of trouble. I have to say that I SO admired Bel. He was only 23 years old but had a great job, a house and seemed much older than he was. He wasn't perfect either but he was kind and compassionate and his love was big enough to encompass all the baggage that Daniel came with and it was a shit ton, lemme tell ya.
Daniel I liked but wow was he an emotional roller coaster. He was up then down then wanting pain but not wanting it. It must have been so exhausting having to keep yourself up constantly for fear of what you would do when you were sleepwalking. I can't imagine the fear he must have felt. If that fear's not enough, he had Kenny's friends threatening him constantly which only made his bouts of sleepwalking worse. It was a vicious cycle.
Did I love Daniel and Bel together? Yes, they were cute together, I must say, but it was definitely a different kind of love story. The book seemed to focus on the same issues – pain, exhaustion and dealing with it – and it did seem a bit repetitious at times. It was a very long book and felt at times that I was reading the same scene over again just worded differently and in a different setting. The same went for Clayton and his friends who never had anything new to say so it kind of got old.
Despite my issues with the story I really liked it. It was dark and angsty and sad because of Daniels constant dark inner thoughts and messed up mental state, but it was written well with compelling characters and a wonderful love theme. The book didn't end with a twist and a ridiculously happy ending that made me wonder where the hell it came from. The story is REAL and gritty and definitely made me think for a long time after reading it and that's always a good thing in my book.
Rating: 4 out of 5
You can read an excerpt and purchase When All the World Sleeps here.
About the Authors
Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
You can visit Lisa her website, at Goodreads, or on Facebook or Twitter.
J.A. Rock has worked as a dog groomer, knife seller, haunted house zombie, standardized patient, cashier, census taker, state fair quilt hanger, and, for one less-than-magical evening, a server—and would much rather be writing about those jobs than doing them. J.A. lives mostly in West Virginia, and always with a beloved dog, Professor Anne.
You can visit J.A. at her website, her blog, or on Twitter or Facebook.