Friday, October 14, 2011

A Night of Blacker Darkness, a Review

"Do you ever wonder," said John idly, "why we call buildings 'buildings?' Are they in a state of constant construction? We should call them 'builts.'"
"Not like that," said John. "More tuneless, almost melancholy--like the whisper of a dying candle."
"I think it's safe to say that no one in this room knows what you're talking about."

A Night of Blacker Darkness, being the memoir of Frederick Whithers, is exactly what the subtitle says it is: a memoir.  Who, you may ask, is Frederick Whithers?  Mr. Whithers was a simple man of the early 19th century, who lived quite a simple life prior to his death, at least according to Mr. Bagsworth III's introduction.  According to official records, Whithers died of consumption while serving a prison sentence for forgery.  But if the memoir is to be believed, he faked his death, rose from his coffin, was spotted by a group of vampires who immediately proclaimed him the Great One, and had an unusual few days of pure  farcical madness as he tried to lay stakes on a ninety-thousand pound inheritance.

To expound on this madness would, I fear, spoil the brilliance of Mr. Whithers' memoir.  There is a great mystery lurking in the plot, drizzled with some fantastic humor so thick that one's willingness to suspend disbelief is almost challenged.  Murphy's Law prevails often, it seems.  The story is hilarious, and I had to stop reading a few times just so I could finish laughing.  John ____* may be one of the funniest characters I've ever read, and his dialogue/musings always cracked me up.

I became aware of A Night of Blacker Darkness just a few weeks ago.  While browsing Kindle book deals, I was looking through favorite authors, and this book came up.  And being a fan of Dan Wells, the mastermind behind this fictitious memoir, and furthermore intrigued because this book is only available as an e-book, I decided to give it a go.  I assure you, it's well worth the $5.

So what more can I say about this book?  It's very well written, though there are a few errors throughout the pages, but not enough to derail the story.  It's definitely macabre, as Frederick's post-prison journey takes him to graveyards, mortuaries, charnel houses, a ghoul's lair, a basement full of vampires, and many other random places throughout Bath and London.  And while the story never crosses into all-out horror, there are traditional elements of horror present.  To me, though, the delight came from the mystery mixing with the antics.  Wells makes use of a few familiar tropes and creates a gem.

I could say much on this read, but so as to not potentially ruin anything, I'll say little else.  If you have an e-reader, you really should read this book.  It's short and can be read in a lazy afternoon.  It'll have you laughing and have you intrigued.  I can easily recommend it to genre fans, literary fans, people that like to laugh, people with e-readers, and fans of Young Frankenstein or Dracula Dead and Loving It.  Better yet, go to Amazon and read the free sample (here).  I heartily enjoyed A Night of Blacker Darkness, and I eagerly look forward to seeing what else Dan Wells has to offer.

*This surname is intentionally blanked out by me, not in the book.  


contemplatrix said...

when I saw that you were reading this on goodreads and saw the blurb, I hoped it would be good, that it would be as funny as it sounded.

thanks for the review and recommendation.


Carl V. said...

Don't have an e-reader but boy does this book sound like something I would thoroughly enjoy. It has all the elements that I like in a story, especially during the month of October.

Cheryl said...

That sounds like a great book to read in October! I am going to have to add this to my list!

logankstewart said...

@L: Definitely good, and absolutely funny.

@Carl: I honestly didn't think I'd enjoy the e-reader, but since I got a Kindle back in August, I've fell in love with reading even more, especially now that the library supports Kindle loans.

@Cheryl: Yes, do, and enjoy the read!