Title: When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, Romance, BDSM,
Length: 405 pages/Word Count: 108,000
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Daniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so: he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper’s house—with Kenny inside it—after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night.
Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn’t believe Daniel’s absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar, tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night—for the sake of the other townsfolk. Daniel’s fascinating, but Bel’s not going there.
Yet as he’s drawn further into Daniel’s dark world, Bel finds that he likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace he’s ever known. But Daniel’s demons won’t leave him alone, and he’ll need Bel’s help to slay them once and for all—assuming Bel is willing to risk everything to stand by him.
When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock is a gritty and intense journey of healing and self-acceptance. This novel is quite riveting with incredibly complex, appealing characters and a refreshing, unique storyline. It is also an extraordinarily moving romance between two unlikely lovers that flourishes despite some very overwhelming odds.
Daniel Whitlock’s life in his small hometown has never been easy but following his release from prison, it is almost unbearable. With no one believing he has no control over his actions when he is sleepwalking, Daniel lives in seclusion and keeps to himself as much as he possibly can. Unable to trust himself, Daniel goes to extreme lengths to keep from leaving his cabin, but these methods are far from foolproof. One night while he is sleepwalking, he crosses paths with local cop Joe “Bel” Belmont. Bel literally saves Daniel’s life and sets them on a course that will either break them or ultimately set them free.
Bel is conflicted by his contradictory emotions where Daniel is concerned. Like many of the townspeople, he discounts the sleepwalking theory and generally agrees that Daniel got away with murder. All of that changes as he gets to know Daniel and witnesses the torture he goes through night after night. Daniel only knows one way to achieve a semblance of peace, and although he is out of his depth, Bel reluctantly gives in to Daniel’s pleas to help him. Daniel cedes all control to Bel and through bondage and sometimes, pain, Daniel’s life becomes calmer and much easier to manage.
There is a BDSM element to When All the World Sleeps, but this is not a typical D/s novel. Daniel uses pain and bondage to help manage his sleepwalking so there is definitely a degree of kink to their relationship. While Bel has dominate tendencies, he is uncomfortable taking complete charge of Daniel and he is reluctant to cause Daniel any pain. While these techniques are effective, Bel realizes that this not a healthy way to manage Daniel’s problems and they begin to explore other alternatives to help Daniel cope.
When All the World Sleeps is full of raw emotion and real life problems, but overall, there is very little angst. Daniel’s struggles to come to terms with his hurt, guilt, anger, sorrow and regret are realistically and poignantly depicted. Bel’s reactions, thoughts and doubts are believable and it is easy to sympathize with his confusion over whether or not he handling Daniel’s problems correctly. Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock bring the story to a heartfelt conclusion that is absolutely perfect for Bel, Daniel and their future.