Review: When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock

March 24, 2014 Review 27

Review: When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock

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.

Title: When All the World Sleeps
Author: J.A. Rock, Lisa Henry
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Mark Cooper versus America, Brandon Mills versus the V-Card, The Two Gentlemen of Altona, The Merchant of Death, Bliss, Sweetwater
Published by Riptide Publishing
Source: Publisher
Published: March 24, 2014
Genres: Male Male Romance
Pages: 405
See the title at Goodreads
Stars: five-stars
Flames: five-flames

J.A. Rock

Wow. I’m still totally and completely wowed by this book. Giving you a five star review will never do this book any justice. Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock have collaborated and given readers two men that are beyond memorable. They have put them through trials that no one should suffer. Daniel and Bel made it and I’m still wondering how. When All the World Sleeps is a book that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. It’s a dark and twisty tale that will bring on the tears. Daniel and Bel will find a place in your heart the same way they found a place with each other. Amazing, this book is just beyond amazing.

“If I ain’t crazy naturally, I feel crazy from not sleeping. So maybe I am crazy.”

My heart broke for Daniel for the entire book. The entire book! The man never got a break. I wanted that man to have peaceful sleep more than I have ever wanted anything for a book character. He is so completely tortured by the life he tries to live. After just a little page time with Daniel you don’t see him as a murderer like the whole town he lives in does. Henry and Rock have made him and his problems so complex that as a reader you can’t put the book down. You have to see what he will say or do next.

“I wanna keep this. Be patient. I’ll learn.”

Bel is a true cop. He wants to help people. He tries to rescue Daniel from himself, but soon discovers there is so much more to Daniel than the town talk. Small town America, the town knows more about what’s doing than you do. Everything Bel knows about Daniel is just that, town talk. It doesn’t take Bel long to see that things are not what people have assumed. Bel is drawn to Daniel. He sees the enigmatic Daniel for the gentle soul that he truly is. He sees the man that Daniel doesn’t even know he is.

The BDSM was completely different than what I’m used to. Now please keep in mind Vanilla Vanessa typically just steers clear of the books where I’m given a dom and a sub and a series of kinky sex scenes. It’s simply not my forte. Bel and Daniel have something completely different going on with their dominating, submitting, and bondage. It has a place in the book. It is something Daniel welcomed into his life to “fix” him. I won’t say Daniel is doing things the wrong way, but he is perhaps doing things for the wrong reasons. His problems cloud many things for him though so he is just doing what he feels will get him the most peace.

Riptide Publishing

Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, authors of When All the World Sleeps. We’re touring the web talking about our influences, our crazy ideas, this new book, and even giving you a sneak peek or two! And of course there’s a giveaway involved! Leave a comment to win! 

Thanks so much to The Jeep Diva for having us, and to everyone following the tour. Here’s today’s look at When All the World Sleeps:

Logan, North Carolina

Kenny Cooper casts a long shadow over the town of Logan in When All the World Sleeps. Even though he’s dead before the story even starts, he remains a pivotal character. Everything that happens is because of Kenny Cooper.

Daniel Whitlock, one of our MCs, was friends with Kenny in elementary school, and crushed on him in high school. Then, one night Daniel came onto Kenny. Kenny and his friends bashed Daniel so bad they put him in the hospital.

Everyone in Logan knows that Kenny and his friends bashed Daniel Whitlock, and everyone knows the reason. Even Bel, a closeted cop, thinks that Daniel brought the beating on himself. Logan is a small town. If you’re gay, you shut your damn mouth about it and get something going on the quiet with the guys at Greenducks. You don’t bait the straight boys.

Then, months after the bashing, Daniel Whitlock got up in the middle of the night, and took some kerosene from his dad’s shed. He drove to the local convenience store where he bought a lighter. Then he went to Kenny Cooper’s house and burned it down with Kenny inside. Afterward he drove home again and went back to bed. When the cops knocked on his door the next morning, he claimed not to know why his hands were burned.

Kenny’s death sent a shockwave through Logan; one from which the town never really recovered. This is largely because Daniel’s “bullshit” defense — that he was sleeping when he did it — meant that he only served eight months for manslaughter. Eight months for taking a life. It’s not hard to see why the town of Logan hates Daniel Whitlock, and why Kenny’s friends feel cheated by the law.

But it’s also not hard to see why Daniel wanted revenge on Kenny. Kenny beat Daniel nearly to death and intended to kill him, but fled when he heard someone coming. And the law cheated Daniel completely, turning a blind eye to the bashing. The idea that Kenny had a “reason” for bashing Daniel is wildly unfair and wrongheaded, and yet Daniel’s feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness in the wake of the murder make it hard for him to stand up for himself.

The idea of “no winners” is important to the story. We didn’t want to write a black and white situation with obvious heroes and villains. Kenny certainly isn’t redeemable, but he meant something to his friends and family, and his own twisted logic, his prejudices, made sense to him. Everyone in WAtWS is flawed. Everyone is wanting. Creating Kenny Cooper allowed us to explore the nature of prejudice, the complexities of justice, and the disparity between what people are and what we might want them to be.


Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a great pair of prizes! Up for grabs is an ebook of our last co-release, Mark Cooper versus America, and a $20 gift voucher from Riptide.  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your Facebook or Goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On APRIL 2, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave the more chances you have to win this awesome prize!

You can read an excerpt and purchase When All the World Sleepshere.

About the Authors

Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

You can visit Lisa her website, at Goodreads, or on Facebook or Twitter.

J.A. Rock has worked as a dog groomer, knife seller, haunted house zombie, standardized patient, cashier, census taker, state fair quilt hanger, and, for one less-than-magical evening, a server—and would much rather be writing about those jobs than doing them. J.A. lives mostly in West Virginia, and always with a beloved dog, Professor Anne.

You can visit J.A. at her website, her blog, or on Twitter or Facebook.

Lisa Henry

27 Responses to “Review: When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock”

  1. Lori Meehan

    Wow. The book sounds so intriguing defiantly putting thus one on my TBR list.
    Lorimeehan1 at aol dot com

  2. Robyn Marden

    Can’t wait to read this. Looks perfect for a buddy read!

  3. christi snow

    I was lucky in that I got an ARC of the book. It’s an absolutely incredible read!! I love hearing your thoughts behind Kenny and the whole situation. Like so much of life, it’s definitely not black and white. What kills me about this story and Daniel’s character is that no one condemns Daniel harsher for his actions than Daniel himself. He punishes himself on a daily basis for something that he honestly couldn’t control. So freaking emotional and so good!! My heart broke for him. Don’t put me in the drawing (although I need to go buy Mark Cooper vs America), but I just had to post and comment. Great, great book, girls! smiles…

  4. Trix

    What a glowing review–I’m intrigued for sure!


  5. RhoMelie

    I had this on pre-order at Riptide because I love what Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock write together. Haven’t read it yet because I’m just that much behind. I’m thinking this book gets to leap-frog to the top of the list.


  6. Leah K.

    This book sounds so good, I cannot wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!


  7. Elise-Maria Barton

    What a thoroughly intriguing premise for a book! I loved the idea of the duality of our natures and the possibility that our subconscious can actually manufacture an aggressive nature to protect our physical selves.
    I thought the excerpt was an excellent writing example of these two authors. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Valerie C

    I have this up next on my Kindle. Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the giveaway. 🙂

    val_massimo at yahoo dot com

  9. BlackAsphodel

    I’d love to read this!


  10. Jill P

    Love a story with a dark under current!

    jasdarts at hotmail dot com

  11. evening-green

    Thanks for the review and giveaway!

    eveningreen AT gmail DOT com