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The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson

Douglas Lindsay

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (4 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Piatkus

Published : 1999

Copyright : Douglas Lindsay 1999

ISBN-10 : PB 0-9541387-1-6
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-9541387-1-4

Publisher's Write-Up

Barney has never had the knack of talking drivel to complete strangers, and it irks him. Certainly, he can talk about the weather with the best of them, but when it comes to uncompromising, asinine bollocks, he just doesn't have it...

Barney Thomson's success as a barber is limited. It's not just that he's crap at cutting hair (and he is); it's because he has no blather. He hates football for one thing. He hates most people. He hates his colleagues most of all, and the glib confidence with which they can discuss Florence Nightingale's sexuality or the ongoing plight of Partick Thistle.

But a serial killer is spreading terror throughout the city. The police are baffled. And for one sad little Glasgow barber, life is about to get seriously strange...

'Scotland's latest literary maestro.'

The Face


Daily Mail



'Glasgow's answer to Sweeney Todd.'


'Pitch-black comedy spun from the finest writing. Fantastic plot, unforgettable scenes and plenty of twisted belly laughs.'

New Woman
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Victim (010902) Rating (8/10)
Review by Ray (010802) Rating (9/10)
Review by Chrissi (011101) Rating (7/10)
Review by Nigel (011001) Rating (9/10)

Review by Victim
Rating 8/10
What can I say? I had heard of Douglas Lindsay from a couple of people extolling his virtues. Gotta read some (find some...) So when I had a visitor bearing gifts (well cheapies) I dug deep...

First thing to do - Sort them into chronological order, I have no problem with reading series out of order but when you have three all at once - they might as well be done the right way round!?!

OK- started reading the first one - the tale is of a man who is probably a good percentage mouse, he has a job, which is going downhill; a wife who doesn't listen to him (or speak to him B-) ) And a slightly senile mother.

The language took a little getting used to, trying to decipher a Glaswegian accent takes a bit of doing, luckily I have seen a couple of episodes of Rab C Nesbitt!!!

Once you get the language going in your head this book has some extremely funny bits, very dark, but highly entertaining!
Go for it - Top notch stuff!

Victim (1st September 2002)

Review by Ray
Rating 9/10
Barney doesn't know it yet but his life is going to take a very weird turn for the worse. Nigel and Chrissi have already told you the gist of the story so I'll just let you know what I thought of it.

In a few words, "Funny, Enjoyable and well written" . When I finished it I thought that Channel 4 films should buy the rights and make a series of films. Its got that pace about it filled with twisted humour that their kind of films thrive on. May I suggest Keith Allan (from Shallow Grave fame) be Barney :).

I found that this book had be laughing every other minute and as its not the longest of books, the pace is just right to keep you reading it in one go. The characters that Lindsay creates are sublime. I thought Barney's wife was a bit mad until I met his mother.

The policemen involved in the search for the serial killer have enough depth to let you feel sorry for them and Barney's character is simply brilliant. A man of his own undoing and as Nige said 'Be careful what you wish for Barney…'

Maybe it's just Nige's and my sense of humour but I thought this book was great. Now out to buy the rest in the series...
Ray (1st August 2002)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
Hmmmmm, well, where do I start, Nigel loved this story and he thinks that my sense of humour has taken a long walk off a short plank, because I was not overly enthralled. And he says that the second one is even better... I don't know if I will read the second, but I may...

Barney Thomson is a murderer, albeit an accidental one, but a murderer still. Unfortunately he was actually considering committing the crime before it happened, which kind of places him in a quandary. How does one dispose of a dead body? Barney is not the most dynamic of people, and he now has to outwit the police who are investigating the work of a serial killer who posts bits of bodies back to their loved ones.

The black humour in this story is very evident, along with some lovely asides, just small moments which make you smile. I loved Barney's wife's preoccupation with soap operas, and the ridiculous nature of the names and the plots, they were just so beautifully observed.

It took me a long time to get into this book, Barney is not (to me) the most likeable character, but once it all starts to snowball, it takes on aspects of farce, which should, for comedy purposes, never be forgotten.

I suppose I may read the next in the series, after all, my sense of humour should be fed every so often on new varieties of things.
Chrissi (1st November 2001)

Review by Nigel
Rating 9/10
I don't know if we have been lucky, but this is another fantastic book sent in by an author; we better get a bad one soon or people will think we don't tell the truth, which we do!

I don't want to give too much away as it would spoil a very funny story for anyone who wants to read it... and read it you must. The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson tells the story of the title character, a barber in Glasgow who has a pretty miserable life. He isn't getting on with his work colleagues, his wife is a soap addict to the point where her entire conversation with her husband is 'Yes, dear' while glued to the TV, his car is being repaired for a small fortune, it's raining constantly and to top it all there is a serial killer on the prowl. Through a series of mishaps Barney gets caught up in the investigation with hilarious consequences... 'Be careful what you wish for as your wish may come true' has a whole new meaning for Barney.

From the prologue you realise this novel isn't going to pull any punches, mixing the laughs with the darker side of human nature, something of which Douglas Lindsay seems to have a wonderful grasp; the story is littered with both subtle and obvious observations on how we react to things. An example is how Barney hates the 'asinine' plots of the soap operas his wife watches yet without a second thought discuses very similar events with his friend Bill on the phone.

There are other bits that I'm sure are aimed at the reader. For example, at the start of the story the names of the soap opera characters mentioned are realistic, yet as it progresses they become more and more ridiculous... the thing is I think your mind tends to jump these names and you miss them, a bit like adding in your history homework ' ...Winston Churchill succeeded pants Neville Chamberlain after' ...of course it could just be me and not intentional at all, but it's still very funny.

The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson is a brilliantly written comedy of the darkest order... you will feel guilty when you laugh but laugh you will.
Nigel (1st October 2001)

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