Seven months ago, Pallas Llewellyn, Talia March, and Amelia Rivers were strangers, until their fateful stay at the Lucent Springs Hotel. An earthquake and a fire partially destroyed the hotel, but the women have no memory of their time there. Now close friends, the three women co-host a podcast called the Lost Night Files, where they investigate cold cases and hope to connect with others who may have had a similar experience to theirs—an experience that has somehow enhanced the psychic abilities already present in each woman.
After receiving a tip for their podcast, Pallas travels to the small college town of Carnelian, California, to explore an abandoned asylum. Shaken by the dark energy she feels in the building, she is rushing out when she’s stopped by a dark figure—who turns out to be the women's mysterious tipster.
Ambrose Drake is certain he’s a witness to a murder, but without a body, everyone thinks he’s having delusions caused by extreme sleep deprivation. But Ambrose is positive something terrible happened at the Carnelian Sleep Institute the night he was there. Unable to find proof on his own, he approaches Pallas for help, only for her to realize that Ambrose, too, has a lost night that he can’t remember—one that may be connected to Pallas. Pallas and Ambrose conduct their investigation using the podcast as a cover, and while the townsfolk are eager to share what they know, it turns out there are others who are not so happy about their questions—and someone is willing to kill to keep the truth from coming out.
Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐
Eye-catching cover, fascinating blurb, paranormal romantic suspense - Sleep No More by Jayne Ann Krentz is all that and then some. It took me a chapter or two for the story to really grab me, but once it did, I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to the Lost Night Files. The characters are interesting, and I love the psychic abilities. The podcast is certainly prevalent these days, and it's one I would listen to in real life. I liked our romantic couple and found them easy to root for, but my favorite part of this one was the investigation. This author knows her stuff when it comes to building tension and keeping the pages turning, and turn they did. Rather than give away the book's secrets, I'll just sum it up by saying that Jayne Ann Krentz has pulled me into this intriguing world of mystery and paranormal abilities, and I can't wait to see what's next for the Lost Night Files.
The bones of the Carnelian Hospital for the Insane still stood, surrounding her on all sides. The four-story structure had been constructed of stone and stout timber but the interior, now sunk in an eternal gloom, had been slowly crumbling for decades. She was forced to scramble through a minefield of broken chairs, rusted bedsprings, sagging doors, shards of broken glass, and the discarded medical equipment of another era.
The scene came straight out of her nightmares. At least this time the place wasn’t on fire. She probably ought to see another therapist about her little obsession with scary old buildings but she craved answers and she had concluded no therapist could provide them. She also knew she would not be able to let go of her morbid fascination until she got the answers.
She was halfway through the rubble of the hospital lobby when a figure detached itself from the shadows and came toward her, blocking the path to the door.
Focused on escape, her senses still in an adrenaline overload, she yelped in alarm, swerved to the side and tried to change course. Her intention was to steer a path around the stranger but the sudden move caused her to stumble into a three-legged table. It toppled under her weight. Of course it did. Sometimes she wondered if every stick of furniture in the world was out to get her.
She knew she was going down. She thought about the jagged chunks of glass that littered the floor. This was going to be a bad fall. She could only hope the messenger bag would protect her from the worst case scenario.
The man who had been in her path was suddenly at her side. A strong hand gripped her forearm, steadying her.
She was shocked by the speed with which he had moved. It was as if he had known she was going to change course and run into the table.
“It’s all right,” he said. “I’ve got you.”
The physical contact sent an electrifying jolt of intense, intimate awareness across her senses. Maybe she was still in the automatic drawing trance. Maybe this time she really had stayed under too long.
“Let me go,” she screamed.
She was amazed and reassured when the ear-splitting cry escaped her throat and echoed through the ruins. In her dreams she was always voiceless.
“Shit.” The stranger released her, clamped his hands over his ears and took several steps back. “I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to talk.”
Freed, she headed for the front door again. She reached into the messenger bag, groping for the Taser she had carried religiously since Lucent Springs.
She managed to grab the electroshock weapon but in her frenzy she dropped it. The stranger scooped up the device. Simultaneously he used his free hand to keep her from tripping over a door that had come off its hinges and was now on the floor.
Another flash of breathtaking intimacy rattled her nerves. She had never experienced anything like it. She froze, frantically trying to figure out what was happening. Before she could recover from the shock the stranger released her and stepped back.
“We’re getting off on the wrong foot here,” he said. He held the Taser just out of reach. “If you’ll give me a minute, I can explain.”
He was still between her and the door. She launched herself at him, hoping the head-on attack would catch him by surprise.
He didn't appear surprised but he moved out of the way.
“Don’t touch me again,” she said. “You’ll be sorry.”
Clutching the messenger bag she rushed past him. Miraculously she did not stumble this time.
“I’m the reason you’re here,” he called after her. “Ambrose Drake. I sent the email about the asylum to the Lost Night Files.”
She shot through the doorway, out of the ruins and into the foggy daylight of the rugged Northern California coast. His words began to sink in. They did not register fully until she was a few feet away from her car.
The mention of the podcast made her scramble to a halt. She recognized his name, too. She was here today because of a listener named Ambrose Drake.
She realized there was one other vehicle parked in front of the asylum. Drake’s car, no doubt. She should have heard him arrive. The asylum stood on an isolated cliff above a cove, connected to the main road by a long, narrow, graveled lane.
Yes, she ought to have heard his car but she had been so deep into the trance she had been oblivious to the warning sounds of gravel under tires and footsteps on the creaking, groaning floorboards of the asylum.
The realization of just how vulnerable she had been while in her other vision was unnerving. In the old days—before Lucent Springs—she had never gone so deeply into the drawing trance.
She retreated a few more steps and flattened a hand on the side of her car to steady herself. Drake was on the front steps now. He had the Taser in his hand but he made no attempt to pursue her.
He didn’t need to chase her to make her nervous. His slick, fast reaction ability aside, he looked like he had barely survived a shipwreck followed by a long stretch of time lost at sea on a life raft. He still had some muscle on him—the line of his shoulders beneath the windbreaker was strong and sleek--but it was obvious he had lost too much weight in the recent past. The fierce planes and angles of a face that at one time had probably qualified as interesting, even intriguing, could only be described as haggard now. He had the eyes of a man who was haunted by ghosts.
“You’re Ambrose Drake?” she said, trying to process the swiftly moving events.
“Yes. I didn’t mean to scare you. I apologize. I’m the one who suggested this old hospital would make a good series for the Lost Night Files podcast.”
Excerpted from Sleep No More by Jayne Ann Krentz Copyright © 2023 by Jayne Ann Krentz. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. She has written contemporary romantic suspense novels under that name and futuristic and historical romance novels under the pseudonyms Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick, respectively. Jayne currently lives in Seattle, WA. Learn more online at jayneannkrentz.com.