Fiction Review: The Hole Behind Midnight by Clinton J. Boomer

Yes, I know this is a game review blog for the most part, but The Hole Behind Midnight would have far-reaching game potential even if it hadn’t been written by someone who’s been writing, making short films, and working in the RPG industry for a while.

But let’s back up for a moment. What the heck is The Hole Behind Midnight? On one level it’s an urban fantasy along the lines of Neil Gaiman‘s American Gods or China Mieville‘s Kraken. But then there’s the other 665 levels of swearing, sex, violence, and swearing. Did I mention swearing? If not, I should mention the swearing again. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the F-word used this colorfully.

Royden Poole is the main character: a short, feisty, contrary, and tiny man who is not only amazingly intelligent and intuitive, but able to do a bit of magic. Poole can visit the weird space of the 25th hour – the Witching Hour that can happen between 11:59 pm and midnight. Do you have any idea what lives in that minute? Gods of imaginary places. Horrific, twisted things who want to feed on your flesh as much as your soul. Goat-men. Magical transvestites. And hell knows what else. Poole starts the book out pretending to be dead and spends the rest of the book wishing he was.

When I started reading this book, the language was a bit shocking. I read a ton of urban fantasy (including The Thirteen Hallows, which ranks as the most bloody and violent of the genre I’ve read so far), but The Hole Behind Midnight entered a whole different realm of perversion. And I’m not ashamed to say that I liked it. It’s definitely not for everybody, so if you think The War for the Oaks is the pinnacle of UF so far, I’d recommend you not give this one a read. But if you like your heroes a bit on the unlikeable side with a potty mouth and more than a few issues to resolve, Royden Poole is your dwarf man.

Under all the language, sex, and violence however is one of the most richly constructed worlds I’ve ever read. I think Joseph Campbell would have had a heyday with it, as it seems to involve not only myths and legends from the ancient world, but fictional lands from popular books like Peter Pan, popular music like “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” not to mention other wacky ideals and places of popular culture. This book is a smörgåsbord of ideas and damn I hope nobody tries to make a movie out of it. I don’t think the world can handle the psychedelic, acid-trip, porno world that Royden visits frequently.

That said, it would be a hell of a place to roleplay in though I have no idea what system you could use for it. Perhaps The Dresden Files FATE-based RPG from Evil Hat. FATE is about the only system flexible enough to handle the weirdness of the world behind the 25th hour. It would take one warped GM and several warped players, but I’d be game. 🙂

If you’re looking for an entertaining, intelligent thrill-ride with a lot of swearing, sexual perversion, and images that you’ll never get out of your head, The Hole Behind Midnight by Clinton J. Boomer should be on your e-reading list. I’m already excited to know that he’s working on a sequel. Just be warned that when Royden Poole gets into your head, the F-word is going pop into your head when you least expect it. Pick it up at Amazon for the Kindle or at DriveThruFiction!

If you want to know more about Clinton Boomer, who’s written numerous materials for Paizo (Pathfinder Adventure Path #28: The Infernal Syndrome, Pathfinder Chronicles: Dungeon Denizens Revisited, Pathfinder Adventure Path #41: The Thousand Fangs, etc.), plus short stories and more. The Hole Behind Midnight is his first novel and I hope it’s not the last! Check out his website at ClintonJBoomer.com for more!

(The Hole Behind Midnight was released by Broken Eye Books, so be sure to check out their website as well!)

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