Very cool to be reviewed alongside the Gores and Mosley novels.
Paul Tremblay’s The Little Sleep is an homage, too, but a much more twisted one. The title, of course, echoes Chandler’s first novel, The Big Sleep, which introduced his wisecracking knight errant, Philip Marlowe. (The 1946 film version of that one starred Bogart as well.)
Tremblay echoes Chandler’s plot, too, but in place of a case that involves nude photos of rich bad girl Carmen Sternwood, we get a contemporary story involving nude photos of reality show contestant Jennifer Times.
Any tough detective works hard to dig out the truth, but Tremblay’s protagonist works harder than most. The “little sleeps” of the title are Mark Genevich’s narcolepsy — a condition that causes him to pass out unpredictably, like in the middle of a conversation with a client, and even to hallucinate.
That might sound like a gimmick, but Tremblay gives the detective story a wildly absurdist spin, and Genevich’s sardonic, self-deprecating voice complements it perfectly. The plot turns out to be a classic — all about those old sins we think we get away with, but don’t.