An interesting YA spin on the historic true story of the New Orleans Axe Man murders, with some 1918 flu pandemic elements thrown in.
New Orleans, 1918. Giana is a teenage Italian American living in the city, plagued by nightmares of her parents' brutal axe murder several years earlier. Her recurring nightmare of that fateful night never changes... until it does. "I'm coming," the dream spells out in blood.
As Giana tries her best to ignore her terrifying dream, people are starting to die from influenza. And to make matters worse, the New Orleans newspapers are talking of a deranged killer on the loose. With an axe.
Giana's nightmare might be more than a childhood fear after all...
With her friend, Enzo, Giana decides enough is enough—it's time for her to confront her past demons by catching this new killer on the loose. Retribution and revenge, all in one. But what exactly is waiting for Giana at the end of this deadly puzzle?
Whew, what a doozy of a plot setup, y'all. Don't Go to Sleep was a novel that I was quite excited to read. I'd enjoyed this author's previous book on the horrors of H.H. Holmes and his murder hotel in Chicago, The Perfect Place to Die, so when I heard that they were tackling the Axe Man I signed right the frick up to review this one. I loved the modern take in the American Horror Story TV show (season three is my favorite, where it's New Orleans and Axe Man and witches) and thought this would deliver on more of those vibes.
This was a lot of fun.
I will admit, I think a portion of this story did not work for me due to its age range and writing style—despite Giana being 17 years old in this story, the writing and emotional palate made it seem like it was made for a younger YA audience. So I struggled to relate to a lot of the dialogue and emotions. As a late 20-something reader, this was a me issue and not the fault of the book meant for actual teens, but it did affect my ability to connect with the characters and larger emotional storyline.
I think there's a market for readers who enjoy the macabre history of our American true crime past and are craving more adventure stories like Stalking Jack the Ripper, etc. Don't Go to Sleep is the perfect read for Maniscalco fans—especially the younger ones.
Definitely pick this up for yourself or the young historic crime reader in your life!
Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.