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Private Midnight    by Kris Saknussemm order for
Private Midnight
by Kris Saknussemm
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2009 (2009)

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* *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

From the author of the quirky and outright bizarre Zanesville comes a new novel that takes the classic noir detective story and boils it down ... then bakes it ... then deep fries it; and throws in a bunch of sex and kinky stuff. The result is Saknussemm's Private Midnight.

Saknussemm harnesses the voice and feel of a classic, noir detective novel from the very first page. Detective Birch Ritter has everything a detective of his type needs. A crummy, tough job takes up all his time. He seems to never sleep, and has a sordid and dark past filled with tragedy and bad choices that constantly come back to haunt him and the reader.

Private Midnight has two stories going on: one is the case that Ritter needs to solve, and horrifically mangled bodies keep turning up; the other is a strange introduction to a type of therapist who uses elaborate mind-games combined with dominatrix-style sex acts, all with the apparent goal of getting Ritter to pour out his heart and his past, and move on with his used up life.

Whether you're looking for a gritty detective story or something with sexual spiciness to it (or perhaps both), you'll thoroughly enjoy Private Midnight. Its unique voice and complex story will leave you turning the page just to find out what's going to happen next.

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