A Dark, Twisted Journey Through Terror and Death, Volume One 

Recently I had the opportunity to review a draft copy of “After Midnight,” and it was a scary experience, to say the least.  Not because of the author’s writing, which is more a stream of consciousness narrative than anything else; but because of the nightmarish visions of blood, gore and death that the reader must endure while following him on a guided tour of hell. 

Welcome to the bowels of evil. Welcome to the world of Irish writer, Patrick Cunningham. “When the forces of darkness awaken-when the fate of the world is at stake-who will be brave enough to stand and fight for the powers of good and the whole of humanity?” This is Cunningham’s challenge to the reader and the premise of the story. 

Fight for the powers of good and protect humanity from the forces of evil?  That’s a pretty tall order, and the answer to that question will surprise you.  As it turns out, action figures like Superman and Wonder Woman need not apply. The fate of our world rests in the hands of four, twenty-somethings named Ben, Rodger, Jackie and Sarah. Two hip couples named Ben, Rodger, Jackie and Sarah step in to save our world from destruction?  Whoa!  Who are these people and what do they have going for them?  As it turns out, quite a lot.

For one thing, they are clever, quick witted, strong and incredibly courageous.  And for another, as Cunningham puts it, “The girls kick ass just as good as the guys.”  Well, no big surprise there.  This is the twenty first century isn’t it? So much for the cast of good guys. 

Who are the bad guys?  It depends on where in the book you are reading of course, but in no particular order you will run into hostile extra terrestrials, ghosts in a haunted house, a chain saw wielding madman, a legion of murderous scare crows on a deserted island, a super secret Army test gone amok, and a gaggle of female vampires. 

One of the latter, a toothsome young woman named Stephanie falls in love with Ben and takes the extraordinary step of invading his girl friend’s body from time to time to have her way with him. 

So what is “After Midnight” really all about?  Is it just about blood and gore, or does it serve some higher purpose? In a recent interview, Cunningham said, “The book is a series of short stories centered on the four main characters. I don’t give any real descriptions of the characters so the reader can use their own imagination and make believe that they are that character. I just set up the stories to trigger your imagination and take you on a roller coaster ride into madness and mayhem.” 

So there you have it.  “Imagination” is the key to this book. Those who have it and like to use it will find it a good read.  Those who don’t probably won’t. 

Meanwhile, Patrick Cunningham who lives in Ireland, a country surrounded by myth and legend, is hard at work on Volume Two of “After Midnight.”  I wish him luck on that project, as well as success with Volume One. 

Ron Standerfer is a freelance writer and photographer who is a frequent contributor to Blogger News Network.  His latest novel, The Eagle’s Last flight chronicles the life of an Air Force fighter pilot during the Cold War and Vietnam years.  Details of the book can be found on www.theeagleslastflight.com.        

Title:  After Midnight 

Author:  Patrick Cunningham 

Publisher:  AuthorHouse UK Ltd. 

Publisher Address:  50 Avebury Blvd., Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2BE 

Publisher Phone Number and URL:  080019744150, www.authorhouse.co.uk 

ISBN, Price, Publication Date:  978-1-4343-7925-2, $17.98, 2008 

Reviewed by: Ron Standerfer for Reader Views (December/2008)

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