Private Midnight by Kris Saknussemm

23 Apr

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Inside all of us is something wanting to break free.

No one knows this better than Detective Birch Ritter. He is a man on the edge of himself and he doesn’t know if he can keep himself from falling. Divorced and alone, he lives for his job. His job is his life. The long hours keep him from thinking of what could be.

And especially what was.

While investigating a case where a business man was chained to the inside of his car and the car set aflame, he receives a visit from an old police buddy, someone he never thought he would see again. Someone who knew his secrets.

Saying nothing, the man leaves Ritter only a business card with an address written on the card in what looks like scarves. The words move and shift; Ritter knows this must be a trick of the light, or his mind playing tricks on him. The past can haunt you in many ways.

Knowing that he should just ignore the business card, something pulls at him to go. He knows that going to an address written on a mysterious card left by someone who knows his past could be dangerous.

But something compels him to go.

When he arrives, he meets Genevieve. A curvy red head with looks that won’t quit, he follows her inside her house, still not sure what he is doing there or why he came. He is entranced by her, almost hypnotized. Shocked by her beauty and what she wants him to do.

Genevieve introduces Ritter to the world of bondage. Shock collars and blindfolds, submission and darkness. She knows things she could not possibly know, knows secrets from his past that he has told no one about. Though he is frightened of her, he cannot stay away.

The deeper he follows her into the darkness, the more of his past confronts him until all he is left with is a choice: cling to his safe, boring, lonely life? Or embrace the midnight darkness that waits inside of him? As Genevieve strips Ritter physically, emotionally and physiologically, he knows that he has no choice.

He must submit and change his life forever…

My meagre plot description doesn’t even come close to describing how great this book is. Its part gumshoe detective story, part noir thriller, part erotica and part something else altogether. Combined, all these elements make one of the best and most frightening novels I have ever read. Indeed, Private Midnight is one of the best books of 2009 so far.

Private Midnight defies genre. There is absolutely no way to categorize this book. It is not simple fiction. Instead it is an incredible tour-de-force that defies all genres, transcends them all and becomes something all its own.

For me, reading Private Midnight was like being inside a train that was destined to crash. It was like watching a car wreck in slow motion; I knew what would come would challenge my ideals of what is normal and acceptable, that it would make me uncomfortable and leave me haunted. But I welcomed every blood soaked word.

Not only is Private Midnight an incredible mystery, it is also the ultimate study in human nature. What makes us tick? What are our desires? What frightens us? What happens when fear, pleasure and desire are mixed together? What drives us to stay away from the darkness or give into it and swim in its depths?

While reading Private Midnight I was shocked, uncomfortable, thrilled and frightened. Rarely has a book affected me in so many different ways. Many authors would not be able to write a book that transcends genre and make it good. Saknussemm does this and more and the result is a heady, incredible thriller that is seedy, sexy, thrilling and tantalizing.

If you read one good book this Spring, make sure its Private Midnight.

And discover the darkness inside of you…

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