As a young man, Leon Nader suffered from insomnia. As a nightwalker, he even turned to violence during his nocturnal excursions and had psychiatric treatment for his condition. Eventually, he was convinced he had been cured - but one day, years later, Leon's wife disappears from their flat under mysterious circumstances. Could it be that his illness has broken out again?
In order to find out how he behaves in his sleep, Leon fits a movement activated camera to his forehead - and when he looks at the video the next morning he makes a discovery that bursts the borders of his imagination. His nocturnal personality goes through a door that is totally unknown to him and descends into the darkness....
German author Fitzek makes his U.S. debut with a lurid thriller. After Leon Nader lost his parents in an accident at age 10, he suffered bouts of sleepwalking, requiring treatment with sleep specialist Dr. Samuel Volwarth. As an adult, Leon again turns to Dr. Volwarth after his wife, Natalie, flees his house in an unnamed city in terror, with a bloodied mouth and a black eye Leon fears he inflicted while sleepwalking. Provided with a camera to track his night movements, Leon begins to suspect his waking hours disguise a sinister second life buried in the vaults and crawlways of his apartment complex, built by the mysterious Albert von Boyten or maybe just the inner channels of his tormented mind. As Leon's nightly searches intensify, Fitzek vigorously whips the plot into a frenzy of hypnagogic secrets, sex, and sadism. The protagonist's paper-thin characterization undermines the emotional stakes of Leon's desperation, and after a stretch of serviceable suspense, the book's final twist strains plausibility, landing with an expository thud.