Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
It’s been a while since I read one of Kevin Klehr’s novels. I started on “The Midnight Man” with the feeling that it was all too normal, too “straight” a narrative. Then it got weird, and I felt comfortable again.
The other books of Klehr’s that I’ve read and enjoyed have all been spiritual, but in a non-religious way. The story in this book counts as paranormal, but it felt a good bit less fantastical. Why? Because this is all about dreams. We’ve all experienced the paranormal quality of dreams.
It is hard to categorize this as a romance, this story of the disintegration of a gay couple’s seven-year relationship Oddly enough, although I’m an older man approaching his 46th anniversary, it really cut close to the bone. One doesn’t live forty-six years with another man without thinking about nearly every issue that Klehr’s two protagonists have to face.
Stanley and Francesco are an Australian couple in their forties; Stanley is right on the edge of fifty, which is something of a critical detail. He is not only facing a daunting mid-life crisis—the undeniable loss of youth—but he is also facing the loss of his longtime partner, for reasons that are not entirely clear. Yeah, it’s about sex, but it’s not really about sex.
In his dreams, Stanley meets Asher, a twenty-one year old, who becomes his confidante and paramour. Once more, it is not just dreams; Asher is part of a spiritual world in which he is one of The Midnight Men, whose role it is to enter people’s dreams and guide their souls—themselves—to a better place.
What ends up happening for the reader is a surprisingly detailed study of the relationship between Stanley and Francesco. It is easy to take sides at first, but it becomes less clear cut as the author probes more deeply into both characters. As we see them for who they really are, we begin to understand how their path has gone astray.
I want to give props to the author for giving us Adelaide, Stanley’s mother. At first presented as slightly surreal, almost an archetype, she becomes more interesting and more vivid as the story progresses. She is rooted in Stanley’s past, while Asher is rooted in his present (if only in dreams). Both of them play crucial roles in the way the narrative plays out.
Last week my grown son (my husband and I adopted two children twenty-five years ago) asked me, out of the blue, “Why did Daddy stay with you all these years?” I had no idea what to tell him. This book gave me some ideas.