January 11, 2024
Meerkat Press will reissue Roy Freirich’s 2020 novel Deprivation on February 13th, 2024, featuring a haunting, heartbreaking new novella and cover.
On a razor’s edge between speculation and reality, Freirich’s psychological horror Deprivation tracks the spread of the next epidemic —insomnia. Over a week, as sleeplessness engulfs a New England summer resort island, the hapless Chief of Police struggles to keep order, a blurry doctor searches for the cause and the cure, and a teenage girl competes with her friends in an online game: who can stay awake the longest? Impaired judgment spirals into delusions, the island is cut-off, and hysteria descends into mob rule and murder. For some, suicide is the only way to close their eyes. Deprivation blends the brutal carnage and deeply emotional bonds of The Last of Us with the excruciating suspense of Paul Tremblay’s Cabin at the End of the World.
The new novella features cellist Sarah, caring for her comatose, former symphony conductor husband, Jeremiah. As sleeplessness spreads, Sarah is not immune — nor Jeremiah, who awakens, weak, hoarse, but grateful. Suspecting he will relapse into coma if and when the strange epidemic of insomnia ends, they slowly make their way through the chaos of Carratuck to the far cove where he proposed to her, to dance in the shallows and make love a last time before sleep can find them again.
Meerkat Press is excited to announce the acquisition of the much anticipated new novel, Deprivation, by acclaimed author and screenwriter, Roy Freirich. The novel, which Kirkus Reviews calls a “cinematic . . . well-paced action thriller,” will be published early 2020.
Deprivation is a gripping psychological thriller set on a small New England coastal island stricken by an epidemic of insomnia. After a mysterious, silent child is found abandoned on the beach clutching a handheld video game, residents and tourists alike find themselves utterly unable to sleep. Exhaustion impairs judgment, delusions become hysteria, and mob rule explodes into shocking violence. Told from three perspectives: Chief of Police Mays tries to keep order, teenaged tourist Cort and her friends compete in a dangerous social media contest for the most hours awake, while local physician and former Harvard psychiatrist Dr. Sam Carlson battles his guilt over a student’s suicide and the blurriness of his own insomnia, to try to treat the sleepless—until he and the child must flee the violent mob that blames the child for the epidemic.
“I was immediately impressed with Roy’s writing. The novel is absolutely addictive with a pace and energy that will not let you put it down,” says Tricia Reeks, who acquired the novel for Meerkat.
Roy Freirich’s fiction explores the ways in which we symbolically reenact unresolved experiences in our lives and in our dreams. Deprivation depicts a community denied the outlet of dreams, spiraling into chaos as unconscious fears and urges find other ways to surface. Freirich says of the novel, “It began with my own struggles with insomnia, and the single question that haunted and finally terrified me: what if we were unable to ever sleep again? Deprivation has found the perfect publisher in Meerkat Press, a caring home for fiction with a speculative bent.”
April 12, 2019 INTERVIEW:
Advance Reviews for DEPRIVATION
“Be prepared for sleepless nights, because once you start thismulti-layered psychological thriller, you'll find it impossible toput down . . . and when you've finished, you won't be able tostop thinking about it!”
—Linda Hepworth, NB Magazine (5 stars)
“Freirich delivers thrills and suspense in some of the sharpest writing of any American author working today. The language is so precise, the details and disparate collection of vacation islanders so acutely observed, that when the seemingly impossible happens—no one on the island can sleep—you never doubt for an instant that the living nightmare that follows is terrifyingly real. Insomniacs be warned: this page-turner guarantees a very late night.”
—David Angsten, author of The Night-Sea Trilogy
A twisty psychological thriller that reminds us that the greatest monsters are to be found within.”
—Tom Epperson, author of Roberto to the Dark Tower Came and The Kind One
“A rattling read! Claustrophobic, unsettling, visceral.
”—Alice Clark-Platts, author of The Flower Girls
“A beautifully crafted trap. At first, the reader imagines that it will be one of those classic horror-thriller books... a great beach novel, along with the latest Stephen King, PeterStraub or Dean Koontz. But it conveys a much deeper and disturbing reflection on humanity, not far from Albert Camus’s The Plague, José Saramago’s Blindness or Josh Malerman’s Birdbox. Beyond the mystery lies the question on mass hysteria, modern technology and the slowly dissolving of empathy in our society. Extremely well written, with precise and convincing descriptions, realistic characters and deep-reaching plot, Deprivation is a must-read.”
—Seb Doubinsky, award-winning author of The City-States Cycle series
“Set in a sleep-starved beach town, Deprivation is a stark psycho-thriller told in prose that’s at once elegant, lucid, and more than a little hypnotic. With deft pacing, hip atmospherics, and above all, his brilliant style, Roy Freirich evokes the sensory distortions that come in transit between wakefulness and dreams. Truly, Deprivation is a rare piece of work, a thriller that succeeds as both art and entertainment.”
—Kurt Baumeister, author of Pax Americana
“A smart literary thriller, Deprivation kept me guessing to the end.”—Keith Rosson, award-winning author of The Mercy of the Tide
2021 — DEPRIVATION a Foreward Reviews Finalist for Best Thriller of 2020
As part of its mission to discover, review, and share the best books from university and independent publishers, Foreword Magazine, Inc. hosts an annual awards program each year. Finalists represent the best books published in 2020.