Title: The Somnambulist
Author: Jonathan Barnes
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 353 pgs.
Summary: Edward Moon, the great detective magician, is past his prime and no longer guaranteed a spot at the tables of the upper crust. When a bizarre case falls into his lap, Moon is sure this will be his greatest and last adventure; his constant and silent companion, The Somnambulist, warns Moon that this will end badly as assassins from other worlds intervene.
pg 1 – Be warned. This book has no literary merit whatsoever. It is a lurid piece of nonsense, convoluted, implausible, peopled by unconvincing characters, written in drearily pedestrian prose, frequently ridiculous and wilfully bizarre. Needless to say, I doubt you’ll believe a word of it.
pg 92 – Forgive me if the above sounds condescending—I add this last detail only for the benefit of the ignorant and for tourists. I should hope my readers educated enough to recognize the significance of Wren’s achievement without it being explained to them, but regrettable it remains the case that one must always make allowances for dullards. I cannot police the readers of this manuscript and it is a sad and tragic truth that I have never yet succeeded in underestimating the intelligence of the general public.
Why should you read this book?
Well, the inside cover tells me to “remember the name Jonathan Barnes…for he has burst upon the literary scene with a breathtaking and brilliant, frightening and hilarious, dark invention that recalls Neil Gaiman…read on…and be astonished!”
I’m sad to say that I was not impressed, no matter how the inside cover encouraged me to be suitably astonished and bewildered. I was bewildered, but only because I continued to read the book despite the very annoying, self-indulgent narrator who liked to tell me that the entire chapter I just read was a bald-faced lie. This narrator reminded me of all the arrogant guys in my life that I’ve avoided, and it was only by fierce willpower that I got to the end, which was, thankfully, interesting and well-written.
Read this book if you’re interested in taking complete advantage of the first person narration so your reader questions what is true and what isn’t. And if you want to leave them confused and a little annoyed by the end of the last page.