SLEEPLESS By Charlie Huston (Ballantine, £12.99)
WHY stop at adapting genre conventions when you can reinvent the whole genre? That seems to be Charlie Huston's plan in Sleepless, a traditional police procedural tucked into a stunningly original work of speculative fiction. Parker Haas is a young, idealistic cop working undercover in the narcotics division of the Los Angeles Police Department. His assignment is to track down any illicit traffic in a rare drug before the dope dealers and pharmaceutical corporations corner the market.
This job would be difficult enough in any big city, but it's positively perilous in a nightmarish environment where ten per cent of the world's population is unable to fall asleep, LA is under martial law, and the walking zombies are so addicted to computer games that "total insomnia becomes a virtue".