THE SLEEP EXPERIMENT
Ghillinnein Books (2019)
Reviewed by Jennifer Wilson for Reader Views (10/19)
“The Sleep Experiment” is the second book in the World’s Scariest Legends series by Jeremy Bates. It is a psychological thriller that shows the darkest side of the human psyche.
Dr. Roy Wallis has dedicated his entire career to unfurling the mysteries of what happens when we sleep. Or, even more terrifying, when we don’t. The story is based on the legend of the “Russian Sleep Experiment,” believed by some to have taken place in the 1940’s. This experiment, performed by the government, was intended to engineer a super soldier that could operate without sleeping for weeks at a time. This story takes place in today’s time, with today’s technology, adding to the, “Could this really happen?” factor. Bates has spun a tale that is realistic and horrifying.
Three scientists, Wallis and two of his top students, set out to recreate the sleep experiment using a stimulant gas perfected by Wallis, which will insure the test subjects cannot, under any circumstance, sleep. Wallis finds the perfect “guinea pigs” in Sharon and Chad, two Australian tourists who have been traveling the world together. They are enticed to volunteer largely because of the hefty monetary payoff they will earn at the end of the 21-day period. They agree to be sequestered and monitored twenty-four hours a day for three weeks inside a comfortable living space that is fully stocked with everything they may need. They are able to rest, exercise, read, watch television, cook, and even play basketball. They can communicate with the scientists at any time. Anything else they need or want is available to them at their request.
Wallis’ students are excited to make history alongside the professor they respect so much. Penny Park and Guru Rampal are excellent students who appreciate the value in the work Dr. Wallis is doing. Not to mention their personal feelings for him. Park has always had a huge crush on the professor and Rampal would love to be just like him. Because of this, both are ecstatic to be chosen and trusted to embark on the 21-day journey alongside him.
When things don’t quite go the way the students expect, Dr. Wallis must stay on his toes to keep them in his corner and involved in the experiment. Wallis also finds himself struggling to keep his personal life from coming unraveled in the process. Readers will simultaneously love and hate the characters and the plot twists. Bates does an excellent job developing his characters and the plot twists move the story along at a pace you will risk losing sleep over. While reading this book, I found I was both afraid to go to sleep and afraid not to, often staying up way past my bedtime, anxious to see what would happen next.
Jeremy Bates has created a fast-paced read that will give you chills. You will strain to focus the blurred lines between what is ethical and what is not when using human test subjects for the furtherment of science. What is right and what is wrong? Where do we draw the line? I thoroughly enjoyed “The Sleep Experiment.” Any fan of horror will attest to Jeremy Bates’s ability to spin a tale that will both give you chills, and leave you wanting more.