Tag: Dark Comedy

Adrian Baldwin – Stanley McCloud Must Die! | Review

Title: Stanley McCloud Must Die!

Author: Adrian Baldwin

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 368

Rating: 4*/5


Adrian Baldwin - Stanley McCloud Must Die!

Adrian Baldwin – Stanley McCloud Must Die!


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.


Adrian Baldwin

Adrian Baldwin


Click here to buy Stanley McCloud Must Die!.


Adrian Baldwin – Barnacle Brat | Review

Title: Barnacle Brat

Author: Adrian Baldwin

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 406

Rating: 9/10


Adrian Baldwin - Barnacle Brat

Adrian Baldwin – Barnacle Brat


I feel like there should be a disclaimer here because this book was sent to me, but it wasn’t for review purposes – it was a gift, a Secret Santa present from the author himself. Not so secret, then.

Still, I’m far from ungrateful – it turned out to be a cracking read, a well-written book from a guy who’s got a history of writing for the screen. Barnacle Brat is Baldwin’s first novel, a “dark comedy for grown-ups” with a seriously interesting story-line and more twists than you can shake a stick at.

I won’t go into too much detail when it comes to the plot, but I will tell you that it follows a young man called Leon who sees a lot of weird stuff that no-one else can see, including an angry clown with a baseball bat who seems to be out to get him. His visions get more and more disturbing, and along the way you’re treated to a rollercoaster ride through his bizarre but endearing psyche.


Adrian Baldwin

Adrian Baldwin


Leon’s on a mission to move away from Manchester to Wales to settle down and get some writing done, a mission which I suspect the writer bases on reality – Baldwin made the same journey himself, and here he really is writing about what he knows, although he claims that he never had an imaginary friend.

Personally, I thought that the book was a real barnstormer, something you could read again and again, discovering extra layers to the story every time – I think that, in part, that’s because there are so many twists that your perspective on Leon changes over time, and you’re almost a different reader at the end of the book than you were at the start. It’s pretty rare for an author to achieve that.

Overall, this is a cracker of a novel, an impressive debut by a man who clearly knows his way around a story – it’s recommended reading for pretty much anyone, but especially for people who like the weird and surreal or for people with a great sense of humour. If you’re afraid of clowns, though, then I suggest you try something else – apart from the fact that Pogo the clown sounds absolutely terrifying, there’s also a massive picture of him on the cover. You wouldn’t want to have nightmares now, would you?


Evil Clown

Evil Clown


Click here to buy Barnacle Brat.


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