Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#2: The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson by Douglas Lindsay

A dour barber with delusions of grandeur working in a second-tier shop dreams of murder and retribution; meanwhile, a squad of bored, weary, bickering cops hunt a serial killer terrorizing Glasgow.  Where these two storylines intersect, in a maelstrom of violence, is at the heart of Douglas Lindsay's The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson.

The description makes it sound like pretty grim fare, but Lindsay's novel is full of surprising humor, and is almost surreal in spots.  If Thomas Harris and Nick Hornby opened a barber shop, and Douglas Adams was the first customer, the three of them together might brainstorm up something like this.

I was caught unawares at first, but once I got into the rhythm of the storytelling I found myself wrapped up in Barney Thomson's misfortunes. Lindsay writes in more of a cinematic style and probably owes more to post-modern directors like Quentin Tarantino than the noir traditions of authors like Cornell Woolrich.

The downside of having an unlikable schlub as a protagonist is offset by some humorous writing and interesting ideas.  There has apparently been enough interest that Barney Thomson returns at least twice more, and I'm sure I will look for these as well.

I received this for my beloved Kindle from Blasted Heath, a publisher of e-books, and read it steadily.

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