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Anna O by Matthew Blake

Anna Ogilvy hasn’t opened her eyes for four long years. Her perpetual state of slumber began on the fateful night when she was found asleep with a knife in her hand, covered in blood, next to her two best friends. She was immediately considered the prime-suspect for the double homicide.


For forensic psychologist Dr Benedict Prince, the potential to rouse Anna from her slumber  presents a pivotal moment in his career. Immersed in the world of sleep, he attempts to delve into her subconscious. However, he soon unravels a tapestry of secrets.


“The average person spends 33 years of their life asleep. That fact has always fascinated me. Sleep is the one universal across all cultures, continents and communities. It is a second life, a world we know little about. Anna O takes that universal experience as the starting point for a thriller and asks: what might you have done while you were asleep?” says author Matthew Blake.


“But my eureka moment was when I discovered two things: the real-life cases of people who commit crimes while sleepwalking; and, second, the mystery illness known as ‘resignation syndrome’ where patients fall into a deep sleep and never wake up.”


“I became fascinated by people doing extraordinary things while their eyes are open but their brains are still technically asleep: taking long car journeys, acting out nightmares and, in some tragic cases… committing murder.”


“But if you kill someone while sleepwalking, are you guilty or not guilty? The legal system still isn’t sure. Some people have walked out of the courtroom free while others face life in prison,” he says.


Anna O is incredibly addictive and entertaining! I was quickly drawn into the dark underworld of sleep-related crime. The clever Sleeping Beauty whodunnit plot kept me guessing. If you liked The Girl on the Train and The Silent Patient, you’ll want to add Anna O to your reading list ASAP!


Author Matthew Blake lives in London and has worked as a speechwriter in Westminster. Anna O is his debut crime thriller. Read an extract and follow Matthew online.


Reviewer: Andrea Molloy

Harper Collins


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