Sleepless Summer


Life in Blaashoek will never be the same again

Seasons come and go in provincial Blaashoek, where the town’s superficial harmony is upended by the arrival of a wind farm—a blessing for some, a curse for others. The irritating hum of the turbines keeps butcher Herman Bracke, known far and wide for his delicious ‘summer pâté,’ awake at night. He falls prey to a deadly fatigue and gradually loses control over his work, setting off a series of blood-curdling events with fatal consequences for the townspeople. Dehouck’s characteristic black humor and concise, punchy prose make for a refreshing take on the modern thriller.

Download cover

Categories: ,




Paperback ISBN


Ebook ISBN



Publication date

June 11, 2019




Bram Dehouck

Bram Dehouck (Belgium) was the first author ever to win both the Golden Noose and the Shadow Award, the two most prestigious… Read more

Book Club Questions

  1. Was there anyone you were rooting for? If so, what made them stand out?
  2. Was there a character who reminded you of somebody you know? Could you imagine them giving in to murderous impulses so easily?
  3. Of all the killers, is there anyone with a more convincingly redeeming character trait?
  4. Is anyone innocent in Blaashoek? Is anyone to be blamed more than the rest?
  5. Is there any justice to who got killed and who escaped the violence?
  6. Did Walter deserve to be spared, perhaps because he was at peace with the change in the village (i.e. the windmills)?
  7. What would you do if you were Walter, returning from that final bike ride?
  8. Are there any positive elements to Blaashoek, or is anything good just a facade?
  9. Did you find the village dynamics recognizable? Which specific aspects made it so?
  10. Did you see the ending coming? Did you think the butcher’s murder would be the novel’s most violent event when you had just finished reading that scene?
  11. Did you like the fast pace combined with the vivid and grotesque imagery?
  12. Did the book more often make you laugh or shudder?
  13. What kind of feeling were you left with after closing the book?
  14. Would you like to read more by Bram Dehouck, or perhaps other books of this style?


“A compact and original story, with a heart-stopping climax. Dehouck writes effectively and concisely. With the right words in the right place, he only needs a few pen strokes to get to the heart of his story. A beautiful book, a relief.” —JURY, GOLDEN NOOSE AWARD

“Dehouck creates a melancholic and wistful atmosphere in a world dominated by dark egocentrism. Uncanny, original and haunting.” —Flanders Literature

“Edgar Allan Poe-like…disturbing…a Coen Brothers-meets-Stephen King nightmare of an ending.” Shelf Awareness

“A clinically perfect development of mania from annoyance, published by the exclusive World Editions and translated insightfully by Jonathan Reeder….Bram Dehouck has written a gem of a book” Jeffrey Mannix, The Durango Telegraph

“A read-it-in-one-sitting mystery.” King’s English Bookshop

“Dark and intriguing, a masterfully told tale of murder.” E. SHAVER, Bookseller

“Following the lives of various inhabitants of a sleepy village who, increasingly rapidly, turn their surroundings into a living hell, is one of Stephen King’s trademarks. Dehouck is better at it—without involving the occult or taking up more pages than necessary.” —NRC Handelsblad

“Dehouck obviously loves the written word and manipulates it with impressive precision. It is a small miracle how he brings to life over twenty characters in barely two hundred pages.” —Het Parool

Sleepless Summer is a surprising book that exudes an atmosphere of melancholy. The minute descriptions of the events in the village lead almost unnoticed to a furious finale.” —Thrillerweb

“It’s like the blackest version of Midsomer Murders you could possibly imagine, infused with the dark, psychological tinge of the finest Scandinavian crime fiction. I loved it.” —Raven Crime Reads