Cover of Some Shall Break, featuring a white rose with a broken stem and blood dripping from it.

About the Book

Title: Some Shall Break (None Shall Sleep #2)
Published: 2023

Cover Story: Off With Her Head
BFF Charms: Heck Yes x2, Caution
Talky Talk: True Crime
Bonus Factor: 1980s
Anti-Bonus Factor: Serial Killers
Relationship Status: Stockholm Syndrome

Red alert! Some Shall Break is the second book in the None Shall Sleep series. If you have not read the first book in the series (None Shall Sleep), man your battle stations turn away now, as there might be spoilers in this review. If you’re caught up, however, feel free to continue below.

Content Warning: Some Shall Break is a book about serial killers and the people who hunt them. There are mentions of sexual assault (rape, specifically), torture, abuse, graphic murders, in the book, and actual murders and injury that happens on-page.

Cover Story: Off With Her Head

While one assumes that the red dripping off this rose isn’t paint, given the nature of this book, we could hope that the continued adventures of Lewis and Bell are less gruesome this time … But who are we kidding. 

(The whiteness of the rose with the blood and the brutality of the broken stem also brings to mind Simon Gutmunsson. He’s not the main character of this story, but he is very much a presence in it.)

The Deal: 

Emma Lewis has tried to put the past behind her. She’s overcome immense odds to be where she is, going to college like a regular young woman, one who’s never been kidnapped, tortured, or been a part of an FBI team who tracked down a different serial killer with similar predilections to the one who captured her. She goes to therapy, goes to class, spends time with her roommate. She tries not to think about the past, even though it’s always there, simmering just under the surface.

Then the FBI comes calling, again, with news that shakes her to her core: there’s a copycat killer terrorizing women in Pittsburgh. And Emma’s needed to consult.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes x2, Caution

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

Emma puts up a strong front, but it’s clear that she’s not fully dealt with the trauma she’s experienced. Regardless, she’s a total badass for not just crumpling up in a ball and letting the world pass her by; she puts one foot in front of the other every day and works hard to make sure that the people who hurt her don’t win. I’d love to be her friend, to both tell her, frequently, how amazingly resilient and worthy of a truly spectacular life she is and to be a shoulder to cry on when she needs one.

Travis, too, hasn’t fully dealt with the ghosts of his past. But he’s thrown himself into his work with the FBI, and he feels stronger knowing that he’s working to make a difference, to bring justice to monsters like those who’ve hurt the people he loves most. (I’d be tempted to have a massive crush on him, but I’d try very hard to squash those feelings, knowing what I do about the chemistry he shares with a certain former-turned-current partner …)

BFF charm wrapped in yellow "Caution" tape

Every time Kristen Gutmunsson showed up on the page, and specifically during the chapters in which we got to read events from her POV, a giant red light flashed and a loud claxon rang through my brain. Girl is not in her right mind. And I don’t say that lightly.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

The chemistry between Emma and Travis kills me (no pun intended). Once again, there’s little time for any actual swoon, but they both start thinking there’s more to their relationship than just a platonic partnership, and we readers are over here SHOUTING at the two of them to get it together already, serial killers be damned.

“You didn’t survive Huxton because of worthiness, Emma.” He looks at her. “I don’t know how you survived. But what really matters is that you’re surviving now, in spite of everything. That survival is all down to your strength of character and will. That survival makes you a fucking force of nature.”


Talky Talk: True Crime

Like its predecessor, Some Shall Break reads like a true crime docudrama, being both clinical and terrifying in a harmonious way. Marney’s ability to weave gruesome details with burning chemistry and truthful reality is unparalleled and kept me reading even as I wanted to hide my eyes behind my hands. This series is Criminal Minds meets Hannibal, and I cannot look away.

Bonus Factor: 1980s

Women in 1980s clothing working in an office.

It’s hard to remember that Some Shall Sleep is a historical fiction novel set in the early Eighties—until you get to a scene where characters take a bag phone in the car in case they need to call for backup or are waiting on a fax to check someone’s driver’s license photo. (The absolute stress this caused me, I tell you.) Marney does an excellent job of making sure to remind you that this book’s not set in the present day without bashing it over your head, and the time it takes for everything to happen, the suspense of knowing that someone can’t just bring up Find My to locate a missing person, really heightens the thrill.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Serial Killers

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

We wouldn’t have the true crime genre without them, but I’d be lying if I said I liked reading about these examples of how monstrous humanity can be.

Relationship Status: Stockholm Syndrome

You’ve got me shaking, Book, and not in a spicy way. You give me anxiety and force me to confront the evils of reality when I’m just looking to have a good time. And yet, I’m still here. Willingly? In it for the long haul.

Literary Matchmaking

Every Breath (Every #1)

Every, Marney’s debut series is inspired by Sherlock Holmes tales and is equally as suspenseful (with chemistry!).

The Killing Code

Marney’s The Killing Code is also about people hunting killers, but this time in the midst of WWII.

The Restless Dark

Erica Waters’s The Restless Dark is about another young survivor and a possible copycat killer.

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