A shadowy organization dispatches narcoleptic photographer Ben Nigra West to conduct an obscure research assignment. There, in the streets and casinos of Reno and the abandoned ghost towns of the surrounding Nevada Desert, reality begins to blur. Ben finds illicit romance with his cousin El and friendship with a host of prostitutes and homeless men while trying to keep his tenuous hold on waking consciousness. A botched errand, haunting childhood memories, relentless bodily hazard and an arcane African mask ritual take shape in Douglas W. Milliken's sensuous prose. To Sleep as Animals is an existential detective novel charting one man's slow belly-crawl from obsessive searching into near oblivion.