Thursday 12 March 2015

REVIEW: James Newman - Midnight Rain

Genre: Horror / Mystery / Thriller
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Publication Date: 26th April 2011
Pages: 354


I'm gonna be really kind and give you 2 reviews of Midnight Rain by James Newman.

Review 1: Listen it's by James Newman - no review needed - just buy the thing!

Review 2: Midnight Rain was Mr Newman's first full novel. After a quick conversation with him on Facebook a couple of nights ago (give that a go by the way - he is one of the most approachable and friendly authors I know of) he told me he was rather proud of it. 

I think I have to agree that he should be immensely proud of it. For a debut novel it is outstanding.

Kyle Mackey lives in Midnight. The year is 1977. His world is in turmoil. His father was killed in Vietnam, his hero brother leaves for university in one days time and his mother seems to be content only when staring into a bottle of Wild Turkey. If he thinks his life is messed up now, he is in for a nasty surprise. On the evening of the annual Apple Gala, Kyle travels home through the woods on his trusty bike "Burner". He stops off at a spot he calls his "secret place" only on that night it was no secret. Kyle witnesses a brutal cold blooded murder. He knows the man who did it. He runs wondering what he is going to do about this and most importantly who he can trust.

That's it. That's all I'm giving you. To tell any more would be to take away some of the twists and turns in this book that make it so wonderfully special and I would never do that to you. If you read it near me it's the sort of book that I would ask where you were up to and then just smile and walk away leaving you infuriated and me with a warm feeling inside me cause I know the pleasure you will get in the bit you're coming up to. The main character of Kyle is superb. He's just a 12 year old kid. The things he has to go through in this book would make Jack Reacher pee his pants. He is so cool and you will find yourself feeling sorry for him, feeling angry for him, feeling angry AT him and rooting for him over and over and over.

Some people compare this to McCammon's coming of age novel Boys Life. I can see where they are coming from. The difference with this story is it's full on from the word go to the very end. Just when you think Kyle has it sorted it takes another turn, then another, then another. At one of the twists in this book I actually shouted an obscenity at my kindle.

If you have never read James Newman before, do yourself a favour and start where he started, with Midnight Rain. The writing is superb and you will be hooked from the first page. Someone told me recently "A good book makes you want to live in the story. A great book gives you no choice"

A book with "James Newman" on the front gives you no choice.

I'm not going to insult it with anything less than top marks.

General rating:

★★★★★ Perfect.

Horror rating:

★★★★★ Perfect.

Thriller rating: 

★★★★★ Perfect.

You can buy Midnight Rain here.

Book Synopsis:

Do you remember the exact moment your childhood ended?

1979. Jimmy Carter is elected America's 39th President. New York police apprehend the "Son of Sam," and the King of Rock n' Roll has permanently left the building. In a town called Midnight, North Carolina, twelve-year-old Kyle Mackey couldn't care less about any of that. He has his own problems to deal with, as he ventures toward a strange new world called manhood...

Kyle's older brother Dan is going away to college. Several years ago their father was killed in Viet Nam, and Mom is an alcoholic devoted more to the bottle these days than to her family. Kyle has never felt so alone. The night before Dan's flight leaves for Florida, Kyle visits what he calls his "Secret Place." All boys have a Secret Place, he believes, and his is an old shack in the woods bordering Midnight. Kyle's love for his secret place is shattered, however, when he stumbles upon something that proves his favorite spot in the world is neither as private nor as innocent as he once thought...

It begins with the naked, battered corpse of a young woman. And, standing over her, a man Kyle knows...

MIDNIGHT RAIN is a dark coming-of-age novel in the vein of Robert McCammon's BOY'S LIFE and Stephen King's THE BODY (STAND BY ME). It is a tale of growing up in the South, a reflection of boyhood and all its wonders, and the story of how one boy deals with a terrible secret that threatens to tear apart both his family and hometown.

James Newman is the author of a diverse selection of horror and suspense tales, dark fiction told with a distinct Southern voice and more often than not with a hint of pitch-black humor. His published novels include MIDNIGHT RAIN, THE WICKED, ANIMOSITY, and UGLY AS SIN. When he's not writing, he enjoys watching horror movies (and showing off what he knows about the genre with the recent release of his first NONfiction book: 666 HAIR-RAISING HORROR MOVIE TRIVIA QUESTIONS), listening to loud rock n' roll, and even dabbling in some stage-acting every now and then.

In real life, James lives in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife and their two sons. Online, he divides his time between 
Facebook and his website.

James' author page can be found here.

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