Title: Stanley McCloud Must Die!
Author: Adrian Baldwin
Page Count/Review Word Count: 368
The first thing I have to say about this book is that it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. When Baldwin calls it “dark comedy for grown ups”, he’s not wrong. In fact, his work reminds me of what Irvine Welsh would sound like if he tried to write a sitcom, and there are definitely references to Welsh’s work here right down to a Renton reference and a Scotsman called Dougie who gets up to all sorts of shenanigans.
There is a plot here, but the plot almost comes second to the characters, although both are a lot of fun here. It’s an odd book because there are basically two different story lines taking place at the same time. The first plot follows a chap called Stanley McCloud who’s diagnosed with a terminal illness and who makes a bet with a bookmaker that he’ll live to his next birthday. The problem is that she decides to try to kill him off early so she doesn’t have to pay up.
While all of this is happening, there’s also a second plot which follows a serial killer called the Head Honcho, and that’s kind of why I wanted to read this book. One of his victims is named after me and so I wanted to find out how I died. I wasn’t disappointed. I also read this as part of Todd and Dane’s Indie Readalong, which is an initiative I’m running with a friend over on YouTube.
All in all, this was a fun book and while it started to drag a little near the end, I think that’s just a byproduct of its length. For an indie book, it’s a startlingly well-written and well-edited work that, while it might not be for the mainstream, is a great addition to the indie landscape and one which deserves more readers. Sure, there are trigger warnings for pretty much everything imaginable, but that’s hardly surprising. I mean, I’ve read Baldwin’s work before and this was more of the same. A lot of fun – but also pretty much crazy.