A cry of pain, hard and desperate, tore through Carthage City one night …
Ryan Howse’s thoughts
Carthage City is the real protagonist of The Long Nights. Like many a noir before it, you can feel its presence oozing through every description, every block of dialogue and text. It’s a rain-drenched city filled with all the blues bars you can shake a stick at.
For me, these scenes were the real highlight of the story. Mock has a deft hand at dialogue and infusing these places with the right sensibilities. Blues musicians, fancy art gallery shindigs, discussions at bars well after hours, all felt like they popped right off the page. On top of his work as a psychic investigator hunting the supernatural, he’s an artist, and when Mock brings that sensibility into play, his writing excels.
Joe Kellerman works as a great protagonist because he’s so underpowered. This isn’t Sandman Slim or the Dresden Files, where sure there are monsters but the hero can take them on directly. He’s got some minor psychic powers that are both help and hindrance.
As a matter of personal taste, when the characters already know and have studied the monsters they’re hunting, a key element of horror fades away. (Cosmic horror gets around this, but while I enjoy cosmic horror, I find it more interesting than scary.) Luckily, he did have plenty of strange ambiguity and mental landscapes that helped offset that.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Long Nights, a noir tinged with the macabre.