Insomnia is an illness that has been used many times in crime fiction novels to show a character descending into madness and it's not always been portrayed correctly. As someone who has suffered with insomnia for more than twenty years, I understand the miasma of dark thoughts, the claustrophobia, the paranoia that goes with being unable to sleep. Pinborough is obviously a fellow sufferer, or has been in the past, as she has depicted the suffering perfectly. As Emma stumbles night after sleepless night towards her dreaded fortieth birthday, the sense of torment and fear is palpable.
Pinborough writes characters and drama so well that you're immersed into the story. 'Insomnia' is written in the first person, so we get Emma's thoughts and emotions straight away and we're taken on this personal journey and experience her sense of loss of time and the nightmare of trying to understand what is happening to her. Is she really going mad or is someone playing a game with her?
There were times when I wanted to shout out at Emma, warn her of what was to come, tell her to smack her husband, throw her sister out of the house or kick that creepy client between the legs, that's how much I was hooked into the story. I had my theories of what could be happening to Emma and I was completely wrong every time. Pinborough is not the type of writer to release a standard crime novel. There was a powerful twist coming and it knocked me sideways. After the explosive finale of 'Behind Her Eyes', her novel I still think about today, I should have known Sarah would have something dark and devious up her sleeve to shock us with. She did. And I loved it.
Insomnia is a genuinely heart-pounding, throat-grabbing, twisted thriller that will (ironically) keep you up all night. You won't be able to draw yourself away from it until you're finished. People often say a writer is the Queen of Crime, but Sarah Pinborough is the Queen of the Unexpected. She's a powerful writer and one of the best at psychological fiction in this country. I want to read this book again right now. 'Insomnia'… Loved. Every. Page.