Thank you to Piatkus Books at Little Brown, Book Group for sending me a copy of Sleep Like A Baby in exchange for a review.
In the latest installment of Charlaine Harris’ mystery series, Robin and Aurora’s newborn Sophie is proving to be quite a handful. The new parents hire a nurse, Virgina Mitchell, to come and help them for a few weeks when Robin has to leave town for work and Roe is struck with a bad case of the flu.
One particularly stormy night, Roe wakes to hear her daughter crying and Virginia nowhere to be found. Searching for her reveals a body outside… but it isn’t Virginia’s.
Now, not only does she have a newborn to care for but a new puzzle to contend with – who is this mystery woman dead in their backyard, and what happened to Virginia?
Now, I’m going to have to confess something. I hadn’t actually heard of Charlaine Harris prior to this book… there, I said it! This was my first foray into The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries series and my first ever Charlaine Harris read. Further digging has led me to see that she wrote The Southern Vampire Mysteries which later went on to be developed into HBO’s series True Blood – a title I have heard of. While I’ve long passed my teenage obsession with vampires (Oh, the days of naivety when I thought Twilight was good) and have no plans to revisit it (Sorry, Skarsgård!) I did happen to quite enjoy Harris’ novel about us mere mortals.
Once I got past the frankly eye-roll inducing name of our protagonist, Aurora ‘Roe’ Teagarden, Sleep Like A Baby grew on me. Harris’ writing is very engaging and the book as a whole does its job. It’s comedic at the right times, suspenseful when needs to be, and most importantly, it has a lot of heart. Having not read the other books in the series, I don’t know all that much about how Roe and Robin’s relationship developed, but that didn’t hinder my experience. Harris does her best to catch you up by briefly explaining any references to other storylines whilst creating a rather sweet portrayal of the core family unit. While the experience of motherhood is very much in the distant future for me, I would guess, from my very limited knowledge, that Harris nailed the ups and downs and emotional changes that come with it.
All in all, it’s a very entertaining read. The characters are well fleshed out, the plot is interesting enough that it’ll make you want to persevere, and I suppose it’s wholly believable. Some mystery thrillers can be wildly outlandish throughout, but Sleep Like A Baby felt very genuine and, dare I say it, tame despite its inaccuracies and how insufferable Roe can come across. My one big criticism is that the ending is rushed. There’s no other way to put it. Quite frankly, it feels like Harris got to the end and was like ‘Crap! I forgot to say who the murderer was!’ and then spewed out that ending for the last two or so pages. It was a little disappointing considering the exciting build up of stalkers and shootings. I finished it, closed the book and felt a little like ‘That was it?’ and not in a good way.
I suppose that if you’re looking for an introduction to Harris and Aurora Teagarden, then Sleep Like A Baby isn’t it. The mystery, while fun to follow, falls flat at the end and seeing the dedicated fanbase that Harris has from her Sookie stories, the general consensus seems to say Sleep Like A Baby is mediocre in comparison to Harris’ previous works which you can take as you will. As someone who went in blind to The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries, I can’t say that it was all bad. After all, I found it a nice easy read and a sweet change from all the monstrous thrillers I’ve read of late. Sleep Like A Baby is a cozy mystery best served on a cold day, curled up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate.