On a pale blue background, a bloodied cartoon knife with the reflection of menacing eyes and blonde hair.

About the Book

Title: None Shall Sleep
Published: 2020
Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Cover Story: Eyes of a Killer
BFF Charm: Heck Yes x2
Talky Talk: True Crime Special
Factor: Serial Killers
Anti-Bonus Factor: Historical Fiction
Relationship Status: True Fan

Content Warning: None Shall Sleep is a book about serial killers and an open serial killer case, with visits to the crime scenes and details of past killings, as well as depictions of one of the main characters’ own experience with being held by a serial killer. If you’re not a fan of true crime or gory stories, this isn’t the book for you.

Cover Story: Eyes of a Killer

This cover 100% screams “this is a thriller,” but nothing about it says YA. As y’all should know, I have no qualms about shouting my love of YA from the rooftops, but I do appreciate when YA covers aren’t overly twee. Covers like this help legitimize the age group as real literature; it’s, of course, ridiculous that this still has to happen, but it is what it is.

Plus, this cover is just badass. It’s the kind of cover that incites conversation and one you’d be glad to have face-out on your shelves.

The Deal:

Emma Lewis and Travis Bell have a unique set of life circumstances that make them perfect for the FBI’s new project: using teenagers to interview teenage killers. Travis’s father, a U.S. Marshall, was killed in the line of duty by a teenage serial killer, the infamous Simon Gutmunsson, and Emma was nearly the victim of another serial killer, but survived to live another day. Together, the two are asked to interview other notorious teenage killers, but when their paths converge with Gutmunsson, they realize that they have more to offer than their interview skills—and that Gutmunsson might be the key to an open serial killer case the FBI’s currently trying to close.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes x2

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

Both Emma and Travis are scarred young people, and with really good reason. But they’re also both survivors. They’ve come through major trauma irreparably scarred; they’ll never be the same, or even fully recover, but neither of them are broken and they’re looking to use their trama to make the world a better place. They’re both crazy smart, and see the world and the scarier side of it in ways that both unnerve me and give me hope. I’d love to be BFFs with either of them, but know for a fact that I couldn’t hope to keep up.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

There’s little time for swoon when you’re hunting serial killers, but the chemistry between Emma and Travis—even though (#spoilers) nothing ever really happens—is thick. That they eventually get (got? The book is set in 1982 …) together is totally headcanon.

Talky Talk: True Crime Special

I’m not a huge true crime fan and sadly (?) haven’t gotten sucked into the various options the genre currently provides, from podcasts to Netflix specials—although I have watched every episode of Criminal Minds—so you’ll have to excuse me if I’m way off base here. But None Shall Sleep reads like the best kind of docudrama; it’s both clinical and thrilling in equal measure and stimulates both the parts of the brain that are used for logical thinking and those that avert your eyes when faced with a particularly chilling scene in a horror film. It comes as no surprise to me, really, as I’ve long appreciated Marney’s brilliance when it comes to mixing suspense and realism; she’s got a truly deft hand at engrossing readers while also grossing them (out).

Marney’s characters are fully realized, and reading about Gutmunsson is particularly enticing in that “can’t look away from that car accident” kind of way. (But she never makes you feel ashamed for being intrigued by his perverse charms.) Additionally, the reveals of the case were super smooth; this isn’t a mystery, so they weren’t telegraphed and I didn’t feel like I needed to watch out for foreshadowing or hints, I just let them hit me as they came. (The plot is certainly helped by the fact that this wasn’t a standard TV procedural in which you know who the killer is the second Nick Lachey appears onscreen.)

Factor: Serial Killers

The character Dexter from the TV show, reading a newspaper with explosions and palm trees behind him.

I honestly can’t quite decide where this fits on the scale of Bonus to Anti-Bonus Factor, since there would be no plot of this book if not for its inclusion of serial killers and we’d be worse off for it, but also serial killers are really bad and it’s terrible that humanity can be that evil?

Anti-Bonus Factor: Historical Fiction

Close up of the spine of a very old leather book

This book is set in 1982. As someone who was born in 1983, the fact that this book is considered historical fiction is painful and will never stop being painful.

Relationship Status: True Fan

You were a really great date, Book, and although I’m not entirely comfortable with your penchant for the scarier side of real life, I’m willing to chalk it up to an intellectual interest rather than something that will have me sleeping with one eye open when I don’t know exactly where you are. And the fact that you have Marney’s name on your cover told me pretty much all I needed to know even before we met up.

Literary Matchmaking

Every Breath (Every #1)

If you’re looking for more Marney in your life, I highly recommend her Every series, which is are Holmes/Watson-inspired thrillers with a heavy helping of killer swoon.

Sadie

For another book to scratch the true crime itch, try Courtney Summer’s Sadie.

Two Can Keep a Secret

And there’s also Karen M. McManus’s Two Can Keep A Secret.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. None Shall Sleep is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband and their dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.