Cover Image: Are You Awake?

Are You Awake?

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Member Reviews

Two neighbors, unable to sleep, see suspicious activity in an abandoned house. As they compare notes they wonder if they’ve seen Sam, a girl who has been reported missing. After the police are somewhat dismissive of their concerns, Tim and Mary set out to investigate on their own.

Are You Awake? has a good premise and Mary and Tim are interesting characters as well. However, the story often lags, with a slow pace and some less-than-believable behavior by not only Tim and Mary, but by other characters as well (including Mary’s husband). The final resolution to Sam’s disappearance and several other unsolved crimes is almost like pulling a rabbit out of a hat – fine for a magic show but not a very satisfactory ending for a mystery novel. Even the final chapter was a little too neat and tidy.

All in all, I was somewhat disappointed with this book. NetGalley provided an advance copy.

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Thank you for the opportunity to review this book. Unfortunately since requesting the book, my reading tastes have changed and it would be unfair to review this book as I do not think I could give it the review that would be justified

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An ok read though it was extremely far fetched and unbelievable which ruined it for me, saying that though it was an entertaining read .

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A good read, full of suspense and it kept me gripped. Good characters and plot. Some good twists to keep you guessing.

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Thank you #NetGalley and #AmazonPublishingUK for letting me read this book.A fast read and a good entertaining killer. The first chapter are excellent the rest is good.It kept me on the edge and entertained.

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I enjoyed the premise of two strangers coming together in the dead of night to solve a kidnapping. The author did a really great job of setting the witching hour scene and anybody who finds themselves awake through the night will really empathise with the characters. The feelings of loneliness and tiredness, and not being sure if you can really trust what you see.

The storyline kept you guessing for the most part of the book, and the big twist was not what I expected at all. However, once that happened, the ending was a little easier to work out. Saying that, some of the side characters add a little unexpected spice by not being what they seem. Keep a particular eye out for Mary’s husband, Jack.

I found Mary to be a character many will relate to; a tired Mam on maternity leave, wondering if her job will still be there when she returns, and feeling undervalued. I think Mary could be the lead in more books and I’d love to see how the author would continue to evolve her. There does need to be more focus on Mary being a lawyer, though. Understandably she is very tired with two small children but I felt she should have been portrayed as much smarter than this book gave her credit for.

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Wow!… Tense and captivating… Full of twists and turns and shocks!… Raced through it, eager to find out the ending – which was just brilliant!’

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It is possible that my perspective may be unpopular, but I am convinced that honesty should always be the guiding principle.

I am disappointed that my level of enjoyment did not meet my expectations. Although I have always found the author's previous works enjoyable, I cannot include this one in my list of recommendations.

My interest considerably diminished after completing half of it. I had expected something better. Although I understood a mother's fatigue, the plot went in a direction I could not relate to.

I plan to read more of this author's future works, given that historically, the writing style is both captivating and thrilling.

For this reason, I will not be reviewing on any retail sites.

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A spooky read that I loved. There are Suprise twists and a lot of guessing games to enjoy. The characters are superbly presented.

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The cover and title really intrigued me and stood out! Defiantly something I would pick up in a bookstore and have a closer look at from the picture alone. I really appreciate allowing me to have an ARC

It wasn’t very fast paced but it wasn’t too slow. It definitely took me longer to read than average.

A lot of the story was more plot driven than character dynamic and character development but I think this made it a good book. With a story looking at a missing girl it definitely needs to make us feel for them. It was a cat and mouse driven piece as 2 women are both witness to a crime but are unsure if they can trust themselves.

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This book has a little bit of a spooky vibe that keeps you guessing and entertained throughout. The book really entertains the reader with the who did it, did they actually do it premise and I will read more in future!

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A really good read
A definite page turner
With lots of twists, and turns
Will have you hooked
Thanks NetGalley

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Are You Awake by Claire McGowan takes the reader on a mystery that is both surreal and recognizable at the same time. New mother, Mary, is up with her fretful child every night. During the day, she moves through a haze of bone-weary exhaustion. Feelings that Mary was once certain of, whisper out of grasp now. Does her husband still love her? Will her work still need her after her time off from having a baby? Can she still function as an adult in an adult world or has she become one with the group of mothers who only talk about the healthiest formula for babies? In the same neighborhood, a international reporter hides in his apartment each day unready to face the world after the terror attack he was trapped in during an assignment. Unable to sleep at night, Tim, wonders from room to room of his apartment wondering if he will ever be able to live again. The world and its unpredictability, are more than his broken mind can handle.
Both unable to sleep, Tim and Mary each see a disturbing silhouette in a flat near where they live. It appears to be a young woman struggling and thrown down. Then she disappears. Drawn to the place where they last saw the young woman, Tim and Mary meet. With the waking world too harsh, too cold, and hard to navigate, Tim and Mary join forces at night and begin to look into a crime they aren't even certain they saw. However, if they were really awake and saw what they think, a young woman needs their help. And maybe, in helping someone else, they can find their way back to their lost lives.

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Not the best read from Claire McGowan. Two incompatible characters just happen to both see the same suspicious activity in the middle of the night and decide to solve the mystery of what may or may not be a missing girl. I personally would like to know where the mum of two young children finds the time of day to do this? Poetic license taken a little too far. I like the writing style of Claire McGowan but unfortunately, this isn't one of her best reads.

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I have been very slumpy this month, so it's probably me, but this one just didn't work for me. I didn't care about either of the sleepless characters, and honestly the new mom's husband made me want to literally throw things, because I've been in new mom tired land, and it sucks. Unfortunately, this just didn't grab my attention in a meaningful way, so I ended up putting it down at 11%.

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Two strangers meet one night in a park near to where they live. Mary is a mum of two young children who is totally exhausted with this role but unable to sleep so she escapes to the park. Tim, a neighbour, was a war journalist but is suffering from PSTD and insomnia and has also escaped to the park. They both appear to have witnessed a woman being savagely attached in a nearby house that is supposed to be empty as it is being renovated. Mary and Tim join forces to try and solve this mystery. They see news reports of a missing woman who was last seen in this area and become convinced m the woman hey saw is her. But when the police dismiss their report they decide to carry on with their own investigations. They learn that several other young women have disappeared in the area over several years but how are they connected? Mary and Tim soon realise this this is a very complex case and the culprit could be more close to home than they thought. I did find the book a little far fetched at times but I enjoyed it and glad I stuck with it.
Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas and Mercer for giving me the opportunities to read and review this book.

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This is a gripping book that demanded my attention from the very first chapter. I have insomnia and find it hard to sleep so I really connected with these characters. I loved the storyline and really enjoyed this book. Looking forward to more from this brilliant writer.

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Oh my this was great. I do love a book by Claire and this lives up to expectations. As someone who also has trouble sleeping ..... I'm not giving anything away.
But definitely recommend

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Thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Mary is on maternity leave from her job as an attorney and caring for her two young children with little help from her husband. Tim is struggling to recover from an incident involving a woman. Neither are sleeping and when they run into each other in a park in the middle of the night, they both think they see a local girl who has been missing, in the abandon house nearby. They take it upon themselves to investigate, putting them under the suspicion of the local police.

This book was just alright for me I got tired of reading about Mary's parenting woes. I don't have kids, don't like kids and really don't want to read about kids to this extent. I also didn't find the mystery of the missing girl or the conclusion to be that compelling. I have liked other books from this author quite a bit more than this, so I look forward to her next one.

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The premise for this tense slow burn psychological thriller is almost chilling. Imagine being awake in the dead of night, sleep deprived and with insomnia that you see something...think you see something...are almost sure you DID see something that could shed some light into the disappearance of a young woman? Can you be sure of what you saw? After all, you've not slept - really slept - for two years so your mind could be playing tricks on you...couldn't it? But you are almost certain...aren't you? It was her, wasn't it? Definitely...maybe...I don't know... Maybe you just dreamt it up. But then your neighbour says he saw her too. So you can't both be wrong...can you?

Meet Mary Collins. Thirtysomething mum to toddler Audrey and baby Leo. Sleep deprived from the constant demands motherhood brings to her shining little cherubs. The children unfortunately share a room in their pokey little two bed flat on the outskirts of London, meaning when one wakes then the other does also. And life becomes a constant revolving door of meeting each childs' needs one after the other after the other after the other...all night. Meanwhile hubby Jack snores his way through slumber and oblivion as his exhausted wife sees to the children without an ounce of sleep.

One night whilst soothing the cries and demands of her children, she is looking out the window when she sees something...a face at a window, seemingly crying for help. But as quick as she saw it, it's gone again. She blinks. Was it real? Did she see it at all? Because there is clearly nothing there now. Then she looks down into the park across the street, which backs onto a row of of which she had seen the face. Or rather, thought she did. And there in the park at 4am is a man. What is he doing there at this hour? Without thinking, she deposits the children back to bed and barely stopping to grab a robe, Mary marches out the door and across the street to where the stranger is snooping.

And that is how Mary and Tim meet.

She soon learns that Tim saw the face she did at the window. So she didn't imagine it. It was real. Problem is, he is as sleep deprived as she is so who would believe them? But regardless, both are sure of what they saw. And both are convinced it is missing teenager Samantha Ellis, who vanished walking home one night after her shift at the care home where she worked. And so together they decide to investigate Samantha's disappearance.

But neither of them are prepared for the storm they unleash in the wake of their digging. Can they succeed where the police have failed? Will they find Samantha and uncover the truth before it's too late? For all of them?

ARE YOU AWAKE? is a slow burn thriller that does take a while to pick up pace but there is enough intrigue there to keep you turning the pages. While both characters' backstories provided sufficient insight into their insomnia and sleep deprivation, I did tire of Mary's two year old daughter Audrey's constant and incessant whining and complaints on just about everything. And her demands were uttered at one volume - LOUD!! Audrey was, simply put, exhausting. "MUMMY! HATE PORRIDGE! WANT COCO POPS!", "MUMMY! WANT PANCAKES!", "MUMMY GO HOME! GO HOME NOW!", "MUMMY! MORNING TIME! PLAY LEGO WITH ME!", "MUMMY! NOT SHOPS! IT'S PEPPA TIME!", "MUMMY! I WANT I WANT I WANT!!!" Every time she opened her mouth she uttered demands and was unbearably grouchy - all the time. Her demands were constant, tiring and really reaaaaallllly draining. And I'm not even her mother! I only read the words and I could hear those demands all day was exhausting. No wonder Mary didn't know whether she was coming or going...I doubt I would either. Her narrative at the start was a bit much and seemed more like a chaotic day in the life of rather than the mystery of Samantha Ellis. Tim was a little more bearable though carried a ton of shameful guilt about his time in Syria and now suffers PTSD as a result. And of course insomnia is the result of that. Hence why he was peering out of his window at 4am also.

Unfolding through the alternating narratives of Mary and Tim, there is also the odd narrative from the missing Samantha, leaving you wondering what exactly has happened to her. I did find the story dragged a little bit but that could just been the incessant droning and whining of a demanding two year old I did not take a liking to one bit. It was a little bit much but then some of Mary's flippant remarks in her narrative made me chuckle.

I really did enjoy ARE YOU AWAKE? despite Audrey's constant rants, and she thankfully blended into the background and became more of hubby's problem to deal with once he decided to be a parent instead of sleeping in when Mary more than deserved one. The suspense began to build as more questions are raised and the further Mary and Tim delved. The first half was more about Mary's chaotic life while the second half really picked up the pace and got down to the nitty gritty. Finally, they were getting somewhere. But would they uncover the truth before it's too late?

There are a few red herrings, but equally so, they are also a paramount part of the mystery. Figure that one out. I did...and it seemed I had two answers instead of one. But which one what the truth?

Overall, a good solid mystery with the chilling psychological aspect where sleep deprivation can mess with your mind - tricking you into thinking you saw something when you didn't or you didn't see anything when you did. It will have you questioning your own credibility and leave you pondering the reliability of our two narrators.

I would like to thank #ClaireMcGowan, #Netgalley and #AmazonPub for an ARC of #AreYouAwake in exchange for an honest review.

This review appears on my blog at

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