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Private Midnight

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  71 ratings  ·  25 reviews
By the author of Zanesville, a seductive story of grit, gunplay, vampirism, and a bit of bondage.

Detective Birch Ritter is a man on the edge-of himself. His past is filled with secrets, shadows, guilt, and ghosts. Then a dubious police buddy he hasn't seen in a year introduces him to a mysterious woman who says her business is shadows. What she knows about what lies betw
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2009 by Overlook Books
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This is the story of a cop, slightly crooked, in a downward spiral after a divorce. The number of unhappy events in his life is stacking up and he's having a difficult time. He becomes involved in some unusual cases, and even more critically, with a strange woman who seems part seer, part dominatrix, and perhaps part monster. Our cop protagonist eventually discovers that he's going through some rather odd changes. I can't say much: It's difficult to write much about this book without spoiling.

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, someo
Kurt Reichenbaugh
What a cool, weird book this is. Saknussemm takes elements of noir, horror, erotica, mystery and a dose of good-old-fashioned pulp and delivers a dark carnival of a book about obsession, submission, gender and identity. The novel is told through Detective Birch Ritter's voice as he investigates a pair of bizarre suicides that may be connected. He is introduced, through a missing ex-partner, to Genevieve Wyvern. Birch quickly learns that Genevieve is more than just a mystery woman with a heart of ...more
Matthew Revert
The title of Kris Saknussemm’s ‘Private Midnight’ conjures myriad meanings. At the most basic level, you can sense the noir overtones. Upon picking up the book, you may be forgiven for believing you’re about to embark upon a mystery novel, and in a sense, you are, just not really the kind of mystery you have in mind. Dig a little deeper and the title begins to contort and take on new meanings. It provokes a sense of isolation and loneliness – a soul shrouded in darkness. In this sense, ‘Private ...more
Jul 09, 2009 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Folks that want a very creative contemporary urban *kinky* fantasy story.
Recommended to Richard by:
Shelves: scifi-fantasy, adult
(I'll avoid any major spoilers, but don't make any promises regarding spoiling developments of mood or the broad plot outlines that can be found in the publisher's blurb. I will say that when the publisher's blurb says "vampires", they're wrong. There is no vampire in this story. There is something worse.)

OK, this is a very strange book.

It starts off mildly strange: it is clearly a hard-ass, tough-as-nails, police procedural (if you don't know the sub-genre, see wikipedia). The protagonist
Oct 31, 2009 Jim added it
Shelves: gave-up
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It seems like a detective story, and retains a lot of the conventions, the tough but flawed police detective, the femme fatale who holds all the cards, and is also the suspect in a murder investigation. It doesn't stay there however, opening up into a completely different avenue to consider things like facing the past, repression, power, gender struggles and the difficulty of fighting something you can't even understand. Fascinating and original story and well worth your time.
I give Kris three for well written, but two stars for poor judgement call with sexual description. I didn't realize of course that the inside of the cover said 'psychoerotic noir fairytale' until I was about a quarter of the way through and after a few more chapters, dropped it due to lack of momentum. There are just some books out there that don't move slow enough or quick enough for the best of us.
Wow.... This was one wild ride. If you decide to read it, prepare yourself. This is so much more than a hard-boiled mystery. It's an examination of sexuality, gender roles, psychology, violence, power and real horror. Not for the squeamish or cozy mystery readers.
Waste of time. Nonsensical. Hard to read and follow storyline. Rated F.
Detective Birch Ritter. Man, cop, Noir protagonist of Private Midnight.
Once started, this novel feels like a police-procedural, but it’s so much more than that. Multi-layered to begin with, it quickly takes on a dreamlike quality. Loaded with psychosexual tension and noir-metaphors, it’s very easy to read, and even easier to get lost in. Then, towards the end, it takes an even darker turn (if that’s possible); a turn no-one can see coming, yet seems a natural direction when it arrives.
The writi
Remember seeing "From Dusk Till Dawn" in the theater, in its original release?

Well, maybe not. Guess you'd have to be a certain age, maybe a certain gender, for that. But for me, as a teenager, seeing that movie was kind of eye-opening. Because halfway through, the movie does its volte-face, and you have an entirely different genre of movie on-screen, with attendant different expectations governing the way you think about it. And of course, the movie is about changed expectations, about changeli
Lyric Powers
Told in the voice of the crime noir classics, with intense erotica and unsettling psychological horror in abundance, Detective Birch Ritter's story is one I can guarantee you've never heard. Over the course of his unhappy and unfaithful life, he has seen much of the surface darkness of humanity--the crimes we commit against each other, the lies we sell--but with the introduction to what he at first assumes to be a high class hooker, he is exposed to an inner darkness that even he could never hav ...more
Alex Telander
PRIVATE MIDNIGHT BY KRIS SAKNUSSEMM: 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 resulting recipe 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 cru
SICK BOOK ! Absolutely astonishing. Rarely have I read a book that transcends genre so well. You may call it 'psychoerotic neonoir' but I believe Private Midnight is so much more than just a label. The bleak, dark, violent, sexy, intense and bizarre atmosphere of the book will be haunting me for a long, long time, just like David Lynch's Inland Empire and David Cronenberg's Videodrome still do.

Kris Saknussemm is a master of fiction and story telling. Private midnight is wonderfully written and
William Thomas
A crooked combination of Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn, Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore and Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf. It comes off with the flavors of all 3 of these books with an added off-hand first person prose properly imitating noir. It isn't Saknussemm's forte, noir, but he gets it right. Sometimes the sentences are too jagged, like James Ellroy without the jazz, but it's easy to overlook. What this book is most importantly is something metaphysical and something existential ...more
Jun 16, 2011 Glenn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: s-m
The jacket describes this book as a "psychoerotic noir fairytale" and that doesn't even begin to describe the wild ride that is Private Midnight. Birch Ritter is a tough as nails LAPD homicide detective whose life is coming unraveled. His girlfriend shot him, his wife divorced him, and even his partner asked for a transfer. Now, as he investigates two suspicious suicides, he finds himself drawn to a mysterious and beautifull woman, Genevieve, who offers to unlock the secrets of his past and his ...more
This is one of those books that no matter how many times you read it, something new will pop out at you. What you think is going to be a detective story quickly turns into a soul searching experience when Det. Ritter meets Genevieve. Past experiences, sexuality and the supernatural all come into play. This book made me ask myself how much would you be willing to go outside of society's norms to be your true inner self? What would you be willing to give up and change? Could you stay sane in the p ...more
Kim Kash
This is one of those books that makes the reader feel very uncomfortable: whatever happens next is not going to be okay. It also made this reader feel confident that I was in good hands. A less skilled writer than Saknussemm could not so successfully mess with genre, with emotion, indeed even with physics. Pulp, noir, erotica, and horror all churn together in Detective Birch Ritter's nightmarish entanglement with the hypnotic Genevieve Wyvern. Describing the plot would be beside the point. This ...more
During the initial chapters of this book, I didn't think I'd care for it. But once Birch visits Genevieve for the second time, the novel takes an occult turn and kept me turning the pages until the end.
A crime-noir thriller, full of great one-liners, innuendo, and grizzled characters. But the answer to this case is a bit more than unpredictable-it will change this hardened investigator's life forever.
I've read a substantial number of books and this is, without a doubt, the worst book I've ever read. I'll keep this as a reference so I can be reminded of what NOT to do when I write.
Mar 28, 2009 Julene marked it as to-read
Kris Saknussemm read in Seattle this month, so I heard him read from this 'noir' novel. I read Zanesville and look forward to his 2nd book.
Wow, awful.
MORBUS UNTERMOND marked it as to-read
Feb 23, 2015
Nicole marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2015
Jeremy Maddux
Jeremy Maddux marked it as to-read
Jan 06, 2015
Sean Ferguson
Sean Ferguson marked it as to-read
Dec 10, 2014
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Lingering Questions 1 4 Dec 04, 2012 12:01PM  
Kris Saknussemm is a cult genre bending novelist and multimedia artist. Born and educated in America, he has lived most of his life abroad, primarily in Australia and the Pacific Islands.

His science fiction themed novel ZANESVILLE, published by Villard Books in 2005, was hailed by critics as a revolutionary work of surreal black comedy. It has attracted the devotion of outsider artists like the Le
More about Kris Saknussemm...
Zanesville: A Novel Enigmatic Pilot: A Tall Tale Too True Reverend America Sinister Miniatures Sea Monkeys: A Memory Book

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