Debut author stuns with international bestselling thriller ‘Anna O’

Sleepwalker or murderer? In his first thriller, Anna O, researcher Matthew Blake dives into the dark and murky world of “sleep crimes”.

Joining the ranks of Gillian Flynn, A. J. Finn, and Alex Michaelides, Blake delivers the thriller of the year: a shocking mystery about a young woman who commits a double murder while sleepwalking, and then never opens her eyes again. With great tension, characters and a compelling mystery, this novel is not one to miss.

It is no wonder this novel was quickly snapped up by Netflix and will be adapted for the big screen. According to Deadline, Warner Bros have already secured the rights to Anna O, so watch this space!

ALSO READ: ‘I am Ella’: A remarkable story of survival from Auschwitz to Africa


Prepare for sleepless nights… #AnnaO is the thriller from @Matthew__Blake that has everyone hooked:

‘Anna O will blow your mind’
‘I didn’t see any of the twists coming… brilliant storytelling’
‘Gripped from the start’

— HarperFiction (@HarperFiction) March 15, 2024

Blake’s writing is a bit of a marmite item. Some people will love it and some people will hate it. I, for one, loved it. He writes characters so well, he builds tension expertly and his dialogue quickens the pace of the novel, making the reader fly through the book.

The only issue I had with the book was the chapter length. Most of the chapters were very short which broke the flow of the story many times. Several chapters could have been joined together, but despite this, the novel still reads easily.

My favorite feature is that Blake uses a flashback structure to slowly reveal more and more about the characters and develop the mystery. You cannot help but want to keep reading. Anne O is the definition of a ‘just-one-more-chapter’ reading experience.


What if your nightmares weren’t really nightmares at all?

We spend an average of thirty-three years of our lives asleep. But what really happens, and what are we capable of, when we sleep?

So excited to start #annao this weekend! @Matthew__Blake @HarperFiction

— Jen (@mywatchbegins) February 15, 2024

Anna Ogilvy was a budding twenty-five-year-old writer with a bright future. Then, one night, she stabbed two people to death with no apparent motive—and hasn’t woken up since. Dubbed “Sleeping Beauty” by the tabloids, Anna’s condition is a rare psychosomatic disorder known to neurologists as “resignation syndrome”.

Dr. Benedict Prince is a forensic psychologist and an expert in the field of sleep-related homicides. His methods are the last hope of solving the infamous “Anna O’” case and waking Anna up so she can stand trial. But he must be careful treating such a high-profile suspect—he’s got career secrets and a complicated personal life of his own.

As Anna shows the first signs of stirring, Benedict must determine what really happened and whether Anna should be held responsible for her crimes. Only Anna knows the truth about that night, but only Benedict knows how to discover it.

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What if your nightmares weren’t really nightmares at all? For readers of Gillian Flynn and A. J. Finn comes the thriller of the year from @Matthew__Blake: the dark and twisty tale of a young woman who commits murder with her eyes wide open and her brain still asleep.

— Owl’s Nest Books (@owlsnestbooks) February 25, 2024

“Will keep you turning pages well past your bedtime”.

Nita Prose – bestselling author of ‘The Maid’.

“An irresistible concept beautifully executed”.

Lee Child, bestselling author of the ‘Jack Reacher’ series.

“Extremely entertaining and terribly twisty”.

Cecelia Ahern, bestselling author of ‘PS. I love you’.


I’m bouncing off the walls with excitement now the news is official with Berlanti and Warner Bros acquiring #ANNAO by @Matthew__Blake for the next big production on Netflix!! @HarperCollins @HarperCollinsUK @MMLitAgency

— Madeleine Milburn (@agentmilburn) April 2, 2024

After discovering that the average person spends thirty-three years of their life asleep, Matthew Blake felt the pull of a story. He began extensive research into sleep-related crimes and into the mystery illness known as resignation syndrome, research that sparked a thrilling question: if someone commits murder while sleepwalking, are they innocent or guilty? And so his novel, Anna O was born.

Before writing fiction, Matthew worked as a researcher and speechwriter at the Palace of Westminster. He studied English at Durham University and Merton College, Oxford.

Anna O is published by HarperCollins and is available from Exclusive Books stores for R390.