None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
Allen & Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760877309.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Another page turner from Ellie Marney will thrill readers, adolescent and adult alike. This time she tackles the story of a serial killer, with two teenagers, serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell, recruited by the FBI to help them delve into the minds of young murderers and look at cold cases. It is 1982, and the FBI is trying new ways to find serial killers. Emma and Travis find themselves involved in an active case where teenagers are hunted and murdered. They seek help from Simon Gutmunsson, a terrifying teenager who is imprisoned for murder. He is intelligent and insightful, seeking to manipulate Emma for his own ends. As the case progresses so does the suspense. Is Simon Gutmunsson influencing the serial killer from inside his cage? How will Emma and Travis manage to escape his influence and save other victims?
Emma, too, is a character that readers will immediately identify with, as she struggles to control the memories of her own escape from a serial killer. She runs to keep her anger at bay and focus her thoughts. Simon Gutmunsson must be one of the scariest villains I have encountered in thrillers for a while. He is so clever, so cultured, so handsome and so good at reading and manipulating people. The suspense is breathtaking when the two talk, and their relationship kept me glued to the page.
This would make an ideal introduction to the thriller genre for teens. There are extensive teaching notes available, written by Ellie Marney and Caro Walsh, making it ideal for the classroom or for a literature circle discussion. It does not have the gory details that many adult thrillers use, but it has all the suspense and interesting police procedures that are the mark of a good thriller. The themes of good and evil, survival and sanity are ones to delve into. Unlike Marney's other novels there is no romance, which may disappoint some readers, but there is certainly scope for future cases with Emma and Travis, such wonderful characters.