[Review] Are You Sleeping

Author: Kathleen Barber
Sourced: DC Public Library, after a few weeks on the wait list
Meows: 3 out of 5, meows subtracted mostly for my dislike of the ending


Josie lives in New York with her boyfriend Caleb and life is settled, until a new podcast debuts that takes a closer look at the murder of her father. Reconsidered: The Chuck Burhman Murder podcast asks if the man behind bars is really the killer and host Poppy Parnell will stop at nothing to find the answer. Using the power of the internet, the podcast rips Josie’s life a part as she questions the bonds between family and if her sister told the police the truth on the night her father died. Missing murder weapons, family secrets, and a California cult ask us to understand what it’s like for the families of true crime series and the sensational components of reopening cold or seemingly closed cases.


“But we didn’t know what was coming for us, and so we celebrated.”
page 68

“I miss her so much,” Aunt A said quietly. “And I’ve been sitting here trying to work out if I missed her more when she first left, or if I miss her more now that she’s dead. Isn’t that strange? I have no idea why that matters to me. Grief is a funny thing,” she said with a sad, lopsided smile.
page 126

“I unfolded the slip of paper hiding inside the cook: The truth will set you free. I resented maxims masquerading as fortunes, and, given the circumstances, it seemed particularly obnoxious.”
page 308


A fun, quick read for anyone looking to kick-start their reading habit again, Are You Sleeping marries real life true crime podcasts scenarios with a fictional tale and allows us to see what it’s like on the other side. I loved the relevancy of the book and that it forced me to think about what it’s like for the subject of a podcast and the internet shit storm that comes with it. Like many, I too am addicted to true crime podcasts out there, but I admittedly hadn’t thought too much about what it must be like for those reliving a cold case with millions of added ears and eyes.

While I truly enjoyed this book, the toe beans value is going to come in at a 4 for this review. I think I was so disappointed with the ending and the way the author rushed it, that I don’t think I would read it again anytime soon or keep it for my personal collection. I loved the way Barber took such careful steps to build intensity and doubt for the reader, but disliked the connection she made to the truth of the killer. Do I recommend it? Yes, because you likely won’t share my same sentiment. It’s a nice commentary on a social trend when it comes to true crime, real life, and the golden age of podcasts. Sign me up for other Barber books though, as I really enjoyed her writing style.


Has anyone else read Kathleen Barber before? Thoughts? Like and leave a comment! 

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