Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Private Midnight-Kris Saknussemm

Private Midnight
Kris Saknussemm
Overlook, Apr 2009, $24.95
ISBN 9781590201763

Detective Birch Ritter leads the official investigation into the death of multimillionaire California realtor Deems Whitney in what looks like a suicide. The evidence points towards Deems hosing his Mercedes with gasoline and dying in the subsequent explosion. The only doubt re the case is one day earlier, the victim changed his will naming his latest wife as his sole beneficiary and cutting out his adult children.

However, his former partner, whom he has not spoken with since they split up a year ago, suggests Ritter speak with the mysterious Genevieve Wyvern. He does though he cannot fathom why; worse she shakes him up with her intimate knowledge of him that no one else knows except him. Wyvern explains she works her magic in the shadows and that men hide from everyone including themselves. To his humiliation, she dominates him making the cop her submissive little boy “Sunny” in a bondage match of what seemed equals. Ashamed of himself not because she overwhelmed him, but because he wants her to dominate him even more while his case goes nowhere unless he can overcome his lower head need for his new Mistress.

This is a strange but well written supernatural police procedural starring two lead characters that enter in a game of domination. The tough Noir like cop is overmatched in this contest against Genevieve. The death inquiry provides more of a backdrop as the deep story line focuses on the needs and motives of Ritter to even his becoming a kick butt cop once Wyvern strips him bare. Not for everyone, PRIVATE MIDNIGHT is an exciting Noir with an exotic paranormal spin.

Harriet Klausner

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