Today’s review is the first novel in Douglas Lindsay’s Barney Thomson series, The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided on this book. I knew it would be a crime story, complete with murder and brutality and gratuitous violence and blood and Lindsay’s dark humor. In this I was not disappointed.
For one thing, this book is funny. The main character, Barney Thomson, is so inept and socially awkward it’s hard to tell whether you should be cringing for him or laughing at him. You feel bad for the guy and then he pulls a crazy stunt or comes up with a scheme that’s just too ridiculous not to laugh at. Certain times I wanted to shake him, yell at him ‘what are you doing?!’
This story is gory in the best ways possible without going overboard. There are several ‘oh, that’s just wrong’ moments – simultaneously gross and absurd – none of which I can tell you about without spoiling several plot points. Thankfully, Lindsay doesn’t go into vomit-inducing detail and leaves the really gory bits up to your imagination.
There are so many twists and bends and brilliant foreshadowing that you don’t realize is foreshadowing until you read it a second time. Lindsay doesn’t just let you ride a gentle uphill storyline; he takes you on an out of control roller coaster ride. There are so many climax/resolution points, times I thought the story was just about wrapped up, that I lost count. Lindsay taunts us, teases us, right up to the very end. The final twist is one of the best I’ve ever read.
I give The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson 5 straight-razors out of 5. Terrible people doing terrible things in the most absurd ways possible. This was a hell of a fun ride. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.
Final word: Football. I have excessively limited knowledge about football and I’m fairly certain I know more Barney Thomson. This fact amuses me greatly.
Next time: Either the essay from The Phantom of the Opera I keep promising, an essay on The Catcher in the Rye, or a review of Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments.