chelle reads

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DEPRIVATION by Roy Freirich


GENRE: Psychological Thriller


SUMMARY: A gripping psychological thriller from the author of Winged Creatures. August, Carratuck Island, New York: a silent child is found abandoned on the beach clutching a handheld video game, and residents and tourists alike find themselves stricken by relentless insomnia. Denied the outlet of dreams—fears, guilt, and primal urges find other ways to surface. A teenage girl competes in an online game: who can stay awake longest? The bleary police chief struggles to keep order. The local doctor battles the ghosts of his past to find the cause and a cure for the epidemic, and face down the violent mob that blames the child. Cut off from the mainland, the island plunges into chaos, murder, and suicide.

BUY LINKS: Meerkat Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roy Freirich leads multiple lives as a writer. He adapted his novel Winged Creatures for the film Fragments, and has written screenplays for Fox Searchlight, Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, and Sony. His lyrics have been sung by legends Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, and Patti Labelle, among many others. He lives with his wife, ever-patient editor and frequent cowriter, Debrah, in Malibu, California. Visit him online at

AUTHOR LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY: $150 Book Shopping Spree!


Excerpt: Innocently, they come in August to Carratuck Island and the end of sleep. From ferries out of Long Island’s North Fork, or from the south ports of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the sojourners disembark in chattering, impatient lines at the old Bay Haven dock to trudge—with roll-ons and duffels and backpacks, a toddler crying, a dog barking—to their weekly rentals, share houses, motels. On to the broad shining ocean, along gray planks of boardwalk and over the dunes from the sandy lanes, a pilgrimage, a peregrination, they cross the narrow island. In flip-flops, struggling with coolers and umbrellas and mesh bags bearing floppy hats and tubes of sweet-smelling sunblock, they come—the tourists and weekenders, the clusters of couples and friends and families reunited yearly for these last fleeting days of summer. From the beachfront Cape Cod or cedar-sided architectural second homes, the ad and publishing executives come, the bond traders and middle-aged trust-fund children, with a folding chaise and towel and a Kindle or tablet, for even just an hour to inhabit a perfect moment of sea, air and light, to cling to, as in a lingering farewell, a moment somehow so lazy, insouciant, redolent of youth. A Frisbee seems weightless, coasting slowly and improbably straight through the sodden air, until giving in to gravity to skid into a wet footstep near the tide line. Kids grapple over it, pushing, giggling lazily, all knees and elbows, jams yanked, and taunts muttered like endearments, almost sweetly: “aaassswiiipe,” “biyatch,” “bite me.” Women frown down at their shoulder straps, melted ice sloshes in coolers as their lids creak open, and there’s the snap and hiss of a pop-top, the smells of baloney sandwiches gone warm, yellow cheese cubes in baggies, peeled oranges. Teenagers thumb cells, texting each other from yards away. Laughter erupts, dies. Tinny music leaks from earbuds, chunky thrash guitars, sibilance of cymbals, angry indecipherable vocals. A young mother lies on a spread towel; she stares up at nothing, her eyes wide, unblinking, the tender skin beneath darkly bruised. Her fingers absently clutch and release the hot terrycloth, holding on, letting go, holding on. Nearby, her little boy sits cross-legged in the sand. His hair is tufted to a point on one side by dried salt, his trunks are crooked and the skin on one hip is pink and etched by the damp waistband; his eyes are bluer than the ocean, fixed on the bright little flashing square in his hand—his GameBox—and the funny, tiny figure there leaping and dodging glowing balls, fleeing, or to the rescue. Points! Sparkles! A bouncy song of bleeps! A gull floats nearby, hovering in the scantest breeze, wingtips trembling. On his screen, the little hero leaps a platform, a cloud. A wave hesitates, and spills lazily ashore.


My Review

Something goes unmistakably wrong in Carratuck Island, NY. Residents and tourists alike are falling prey to an unsettling insomnia. Sam Carlson, the local doctor, finds no cause nor cure for the extraordinary case. Meanwhile, frustrated Chief brings in a boy with no parents found at the beach with his handheld video game. Sam and his girlfriend, Kathy, offer to take custody of the boy until Child Services arrive. Once they find the cause of the boy’s mother, who was the only one taking care of him at the time, Cort, a teenager who promised to babysit him, blames herself for the boy’s mother’s death. Cort participates in a no sleep challenge on social media with a boy named Tay. Young love and social acceptance bring them together. Unfortunately, nobody outside the island seems concerned enough to reach out a helping hand. Folks are all confused, needing medicine to help them sleep. Of course, the medication can run out, and when it does, there comes the sour smell of betrayal. With no more sensible course of action, rebellions arise. Kathy is frantic for solutions too, she can’t stand Sam’s reassurance. Before you know it, a rumored, know it all doctor accuses the mute, traumatized boy for the hysteria. Rich, deep action in a dry summer setting, this book is not your average thriller. Can a dreamless night bring you awake? This book will answer that question and many more. Not only is Freirich’s writing style unique and mysterious, it brings a great purpose to the plot. Thanks to Meerkat Press for an ARC!