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ISBN: 9781915789105

Genre: Thriller, Psychological



What if I told you that sleep was just a habit? What if the third of your life you spend asleep, you could be awake instead?


Grafton is a single dad who works in local radio, but he’s always dreamt of being a ‘real’ journalist. When he gets a whiff of a story – a Scottish commune whose residents believe that sleep is a social construct – he decides to investigate… something tells him ‘the Sleepless’ might finally provide answers about his wife, Liz, who abandoned him and their son Isaac for a similar cult in India.

Born out of COVID-19’s age of ‘alternative truths’, this commune set in Ardnamurchan, Scotland, rejects societal routines of sleep with the aim of achieving a toxin cleanse, a nirvana of sorts...


However Grafton finds the truth of the commune is much more sinister and its governance thirsts for blood, using torturous methods to keep its followers weak…

As Grafton is drawn deeper into the extreme world of the Sleepless, Liz reappears, and Grafton has to race to save both himself and his son…


  • Are there ideals strong enough to compel a mother to leave her young child and husband?
  • And will history repeat when the husband starts to learn more? In The Sleepless, the struggle between blood ties and a powerful cult is laid bare.


"The Sleepless is a dazzlingly smart and compelling thriller, which will grip you from its unforgettable opening scene and will linger with you long after you have finished it. Liam Bell is a writer of rare and distinctive talent, and this is a novel not to be missed. These are characters and situations – vividly rendered, unsettlingly plausible even at their most terrifying – which will haunt you, a novel which will keep you up all night. " -Ellery Lloyd, author of People Like Her and Reese's Book Club pick The Club


A page-turning thriller with a folk horror atmosphere, The Sleepless will appeal to readers of Emma Cline’s The Girls and Fred D’Aguiar’s Children of Paradise.


“A cracker of a thriller with a razor sharp focus, a deliciously intriguing premise, and prose that will keep you turning those pages long after you said you’d go to sleep.” 
- Russel D McLean


“The Sleepless is a taut and ambitious cult thriller exploring herd mentality and our desperate desire to find logic in the illogical.”
- Rachelle Atalla 


"Make sure you get a good night's sleep before reading this! Kept me wide awake and turning the pages." - Lesley Thomson, author of the Detective's Daughter series


“With more twists than a contortionist’s body, Man at Sea wraps you up in Maltese history, drags you through wartime rubble, and holds you tight throughout...” 
- Northwords Now on Man at Sea 


“A study of treachery, forgiveness and the thirst for revenge...”
 - The Herald on Man at Sea



Meet the Author:

Liam Bell is author of three previous novels, Man at Sea, So It Is and The Busker, as well as short stories and articles in publications including New Writing Scotland, Litro, and Northwords Now. He was born in Orkney and grew up in Glasgow. He has studied at Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Glasgow, and the University of Surrey and now teaches at the University of Stirling. More information at or on twitter @liammurraybell.

The Sleepless by Liam Bell


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