A freezing winter’s night, and Dr Sophie Lake is disturbed from her dreams by a call from the police. She’s a clinical psychologist, who specialises in sleep disorders, night terrors, and nightmare therapy for victims of PSTD. Something has happened to one of her clients, Gabriel Cody, an army veteran...
Immediately, Sophie is launched on a terrifying journey that will take her from a frozen canal basin in North London, through the deserts of Southern Iraq and the villages of Syria, to her own hidden demons.
Based on the latest neuroscience and psychological understanding of the role of sleep, Sophie has created a form of Lucid Dreaming Therapy, whereby victims of recurrent nightmares can manipulate their dreams and face their hidden demons.
But as she’s warned by her supervisor, Don, blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality can be dangerous. After two sudden deaths, Sophie’s experiment seems to have gone disastrously wrong. And soon the guilt is haunting her, and she finds herself reliving Gabriel’s nightmare of being pursued by a face with no eyes.
Except, perhaps, the haunting image isn’t so fantastical after all.
For twenty years I’ve been writing TV thrillers which focus not on police procedure, but the psychology of crime investigators, as well as perpetrators and victims. I wrote the first double episode of the first series of BBC’s Emmy Award Winning Waking the Dead, reformatted the second series of the BAFTA winning Sea of Souls, as well as devising and writing most of the undercover series In Deep, and some of the first episodes on The Inspector Lynley Mysteries not based on Elisabeth George’s novels.
For the last few years I’ve been concentrating on non-fiction and journalism. Sleeping Demons is the result. The concept of the novel, and its central heroine, has already received funding from the Wellcome Foundation to develop into a TV series with the company Runaway Fridge. Our consultant is one of the world’s experts on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Sir Simon Wessely.
Though it has an undertow of myth and dream, this contemporary thriller about London, Iraq and Syria is deeply informed by both current events and the latest scientific research into the mystery of consciousness.
A deep breath and she could feel the grip on her wrist. She twisted her arm to break free.
“Sophie. Sophie… Stop fighting. Calm down. It’s only me.”
At the sound of her name, Sophie stopped struggling and looked up at the silhouette above, the curly black hair and with it a rush of associations; Danny playing guitar: his dark sideways glance at her in a bar: black chest hair as he moved above her.
“It’s OK,” he said. “You’re here in bed with me. You’re safe. It’s just the phone.”
On the bedside table, the green L.E.D. on the alarm clock blinked – 4.43 a.m.
Sophie got out of the bed and went over to her pile of clothes where her emergency mobile was buzzing like an angry insect. The nerve ends of her left hand were tingling, but when she held them up to the light her fingers were undamaged, intact. She must have been sleeping on her arm.
Sophie fished out the mobile just in time to miss the call. That was weird. She didn’t recognise the number. It wasn’t the area mental health services. No one else should have that on her emergency mobile number.
Outside, a clatter of metal rails. Lights from the windows of an empty commuter train flickered across a brick wall below - the first train into the city. It must be almost five, Sophie realised. She could barely remember what had woken her up now; only fragments of a dream, like rushes from some unassembled movie.
Though I've been somewhat distracted by a trial somewhere, and another book that came out of it, I'm now almost out of the legal woods, and have already embarked in extra research for Sleeping Demons: the character background has changed a little, and I've got a much better grip of sleep disorders etc. So here's a tidbit of recent research, which was funded partially by the Wellcome Foundation: and…
Welcome, and thanks for signing up for my new psychological thriller, Sleeping Demons. With access to my shed, you'll be able to see the scientific, psychological and current affairs research which forms the backbone of the narrative.
But here's the first quiz.
What is the Face with No Eyes?
First - some background
Lucid Dreaming Therapy
My heroine Dr Sophie Lake…
These people are helping to fund Sleeping Demons.