The feeling of being aware of what’s happening to you but not being able to do anything about it is simultaneously frightening and frustrating. For one doctor in Liz Lawler’s Don’t Wake Up making her colleagues and the police believe her story seems to be a tall order.
Dr. Alex Turner is quite accomplished for one so young. Waking up on an operating table to blinding lights that leave details about her abductor obscured, Alex is frightened about what they might do to her. After waking up again in the hospital surrounded by her colleagues, she relates to them her abduction. Having had some traumatic experiences recently at work, her colleagues are reluctant to believe her story and instead pin it on post-traumatic stress. As more and more deadly occurrences take place in suspicious proximity to Alex’s life, she’s concerned that she’s being targeted while the police seem convinced she’s the culprit behind it all. Determined to prove herself, Alex faces down her haunting past and reveals the truth in the process.
Well-written and quickly paced, this psychologically compelling narrative is filled with plenty of plausible doubts raised periodically to keep the suspense up and reader interest piqued. I found some of the actions of the police a bit hard to believe, particularly some of their rather lax behavior toward gathering evidence and conducting interviews, but it could be part of playing into the image of a less sophisticated police force in a quieter area. As the reliability and sanity of Alex’s character is constantly in question, the facts of the case become extremely important; the details presented throughout the story help to build a potential case against multiple characters as the true culprit deflects attention from themselves, depicting an impressive and psychologically unstable orchestrator.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.