Review: None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney

(Last Updated On: October 13, 2020)

Did I finish None Shall Sleep or did it finish me?

๐Ÿ”ช I literally had to muffle a SCREAM that literally came out of my mouth when a ~thing~ surprised me at 11pm
๐Ÿ”ช I was so engrossed that I lost hours and forgot to feed my cat dinner until almost midnight
๐Ÿ”ช I finished at 2am and am still thinking about the book days later

If you need a TL;DR: I loved this book so much I lost all sense of time & recommend this to fans of Criminal Minds and Silence of the Lambs.

About None Shall Sleep

Publisher: Little, Brown BYRย  |ย  Release Date: September 1, 2020ย  |ย  Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thrillerย  |ย  Format: Hardcover & Audiobookย  |ย  Source: Purchased

US cover for None Shall SleepThe Silence of the Lambsย meetsย Sadieย in this riveting psychological thriller about two teenagers teaming up with the FBI to track down juvenile serial killers.

In 1982, two teenagersโ€”serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bellโ€”are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can’t crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active caseโ€”a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagersโ€”things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country’s most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson. Despite Travis’s objections, Emma becomes the conduit between Simon and the FBI team. But while Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he’s an expert manipulator playing a very long game…and he has his sights set on Emma.

Captivating, harrowing, and chilling,ย None Shall Sleepย is an all-too-timely exploration of not only the monsters that live among us, but also the monsters that live inside us.

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My Review of None Shall Sleep

Photo of None Shall Sleep over fairy lights

โœจ You canย read an excerpt ofย None Shall Sleep here!

I will forever be salty that I didn’t know this book EXISTED until almost 3 weeks after it’s release. *shakes fist at hiatus* But friends? I’m so thankful I found out about this book at all because I loved it and need to warn you now that it’s joined my list of books I’ll never shut up about. Not even sorry.

What a captivating and gripping read None Shall Sleep is! Honestly, I’m forever thankful the other 2/3 of This Mortal Squad was down to order the book and squeeze in an immediate group read because WOW. This is literally one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Taylor Enjoys my Pain
Taylor enjoys my pain.jpg

This is a great book to read with friends; you’ll want to have an outlet for all the developments (but perhaps have a reading breakdown to make chatter without spoilers easier)! My patreon exclusive reading vlog for this one is largely me screaming and dancing around spoilers… which is a Time. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about the writing style that… resonates with me. It’s fast paced with an almost procedural feel to it with the third person narrative. The book flew by and I literally lost track of time for HOURS because I was so invested in the story.

“People take their motivation where they find it, Emma, and life is full of motivation. But they have to be inclined to begin with, don’t you think?”

Often times I find crime procedurals sacrifice character development for plot, but Ellie Marney crafted an entire cast of characters who come alive on the page regardless of their “pagetime.” Every person was described so you could picture them (racially diverse as well, although it is worth it to mention the sexist and racist comments that come out of the serial killers’ mouths) and at times it almost felt like I was reading nonfiction accounts with how alive everyone felt.

I love Emma, Bell, and Cooper so much and was incredibly invested in their well-being, which made for an incredibly tense read! Emma and Bell both have dealt with their own traumas and their work on Cooper’s interview unit brings new challenges to their recovery. It was interesting to watch these two strangers learn to work together, form bonds, and begin to lean on one another.

“The idea of being part of a team is tempting. It’s the isolation of the thing that eats away at you: being alone on the island of the mind.”

Now… we have to talk about Simon Gutmunsson, the teenaged serial killer known as The Artist.ย Honestly I am afraid to say this, but he is kind of endearing and likeable despite being clearly terrible. He’s got the charisma of Hannibal Lector and has so many layers to him, you can’t help but be captivated by him. His chapters were among my favorite to read, and I worry what that says about me.

While in overall tone the book reads more like an adult novel with eighteen-year-olds, the author does a good job infusing these characters with teenage impulsivity. Their experiences forced them to grow up fast and it is obvious they were good picks for the special unit as they have a knack for the work. Despite their immediate success, they’re still inexperienced and government offices are nothing if not bureaucratic nightmares. I appreciated the clash of teenaged “I Know What’s Best” butting heads with “Big Dick Energy” leadership, as well as Cooper’s message of needing to learn to navigate tough people in the workplace. That’s a lesson I wish I’d learned much earlier in life!

“And this focus on the perpetrators sticks in her throat. It’s like the victims get forgotten. Why is it always about the killers?”

One thing that I really appreciate is Emma’s concern with victimology, and if this is a series that continues it would be so interesting to watch victimology gain traction.

“There are no limits, he sees now. There are no monsters, only people.”

Some early reviews made this book sound absolutely terrifying, but I have a high threshold as a lifetime lover of horror so I didn’t find it scary. I’m probably not a good judge for the scare factor though, but if you can watch & enjoy Criminal Minds and Silence of the Lambs, I think you will be okay. The book is graphic and violent, diving into the minds of serial killers and the hunt to catch them.

Overall? The book community is sleeping on this infectiously captivating YA thriller! This is a perfect fall read, especially for Spooky Season, with fantastic characters and a compelling plot that will keep you gripped to the very end. I need more of these characters, so it is now my mission to get this book the sequel it deserves.

Audiobook Notes: I read along with the audiobook and overall it really added to my reading experience! Recommended!

Representation: racially diverse world
Content warnings: blood, death, depictions of grief, graphic descriptions of murder victims, murder, reference to death by suicide, underage drinking

Reader Voracious patrons get exclusive access to my reading vlog for None Shall Sleep and others on Patreon!

Are you a fan of true crime mysteries that delve into the minds of killers? Have you read None Shall Sleep yet or is it on your TBR?

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. Ariel

    October 13, 2020 at 6:57 AM

    I canโ€™t wait to read this one! Iโ€™ve heard so many great things about. I definitely need to get my hands on it soon

    1. Kal

      October 15, 2020 at 12:10 PM

      PLEASE READ IT and join my Simon Gutmunsson fan club, Ariel!

  2. Meaghan @ Hail & Well Read

    October 30, 2020 at 7:59 PM

    Me, crossing my fingers that this is one of the books my family will get me for Christmas? YOU BET. It sounds like this one is going to knock me flat, judging by your review, and I’m READY FOR IT.

    1. Kal

      December 29, 2020 at 9:57 PM

      I hope your family came through for you and got this one for you… because it’s such a good book! I might re-read it if I can’t get the slump gone soon because it will be a gripping audiobook re-listen that may clear the cobwebs.

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