There are so many things we don’t know. 96% of the universe is missing – where is it? How did sex and death evolve (they didn’t have to). And among those profound mysteries is the role of sleep and dreaming is one of the most mysterious of all.
Most animals and invertebrates sleep, and die quicker from sleep deprivation than starvation. All mammals seem to dream, and their minds are more active in REM sleep than when awake. But neuroscience and psychiatry is only beginning to scrape the surface of this dark nocturnal activity.
First, let me thank you for your vital support in getting Fall of the House of Murdoch published this time last year. It was the first book to cover both the Leveson Inquiry and the hacking scandal, and as that story rumbles on and on, it has become a major work of reference on one of the hottest political and media scandals of recent years. That’s all thanks to you.
Since publication I have come to know many of the players involved (politicians, journalists, victims) personally. I’ve spent quite a bit of time at the Old Bailey, and will be attending the forthcoming trials. The fruit of this will be a second edition of the book (in hardback, paperback and bigger print!) sometime next year, and with much more detail, drama and nuance.
Meanwhile, I’ve also been busy with a new novel, and your support again will be vital.
The novel is called Sleeping Demons and it’s a contemporary psychological thriller about a combat veteran, his psychotherapist, recurrent nightmares and lucid dreams.
It may seem like a far cry from the journalism and non-fiction rigour of Fall of the House of Murdoch. But it isn’t.
In fact, everything in this thriller, from the fascinating therapies for different sleep disorders, to the current looting of Syria and the role of private security contractors, are based on hard research, neuroscience, and growing trends in international crime.
The heroine of my new book is a clinical psychologist who has a special talent for helping victims of post-traumatic stress (combat, torture, sexual abuse) deal with recurrent nightmares. Dr Sophie Lake helps her client defuse their fears and regain their mental health by rehearsing new endings, and sometimes waking up in the dream and influencing the outcome (Lucid dreaming). It’s a very successful established cure for recurrent nightmares…
Until she begins to inhabit a nightmare of her own.
Sleeping Demons draws on my background as a dramatist for stage, radio, and TV. I wrote the opening episodes of the long running hit Waking the Dead, and wrote and devised other prime time thrillers such as In Deep, Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Sea of Souls.
Indeed, the premise of the book has already been optioned as the basis for a science based TV drama series, with funding from the Wellcome Foundation.
As far as I know, Sleeping Demons is the first detective thriller which makes a psychotherapist the lead investigator, and places dreams and the unconscious at the centre of the mystery.
If you support the book now, you will not only get your name in the back, but over the next few weeks, be able to take part in an international mystery hunt, with upgrades and prizes.
So please join me at my shed in the Unbound site, and let’s face down our fears and confront our inner demons.