Kris Saknussemm - Wanderings of a Zelig-like, mysterious, super-mentally-gifted amnesiac who can defeat his enemies simply by chanting tongue twisters

Kris Saknussemm, Zanesville: A Novel (Villard, 2005)

"WHO IS ELIJAH CLEARFATHER? Futuristic bioweapon or good old-fashioned messiah? Reincarnated ex-porn star or mutant information-age revolutionary? The man who awakens in New York City’s Central Park with no memory of his identity and the enigmatic message FATHER FORGIVE THEM F carved into the flesh of his back may be all of these things and more. Taken in (and then expelled) by a group of freedom fighters battling the soul-deadening Vitessa Cultporation, Clearfather is a stranger in an even stranger land. Following tantalizing clues that point to the gnomic Stinky Wiggler, and pursued by murderous Vitessa agents, Clearfather embarks on a surreal odyssey of self-discovery across an America that resembles a vast amusement park designed by some unholy trinity of Walt Disney, Hunter S. Thompson, and Hieronymus Bosch. Accompanying Clearfather is an unforgettable cast of characters–including Aretha Nightingale, an ex-football-playing drag queen; Dooley Duck and Ubba Dubba, hologram cartoon characters sprung outrageously to life; and the ethereally beautiful Kokomo, whose past is as much a mystery as Clearfather’s own.
By turns hilarious and deeply moving, a savage, fiercely intelligent satire that is also a page-turning adventure and a transcendent love story, Zanesville marks the arrival of a brilliant new voice in fiction."

"Saknussemm's debut novel describes the picaresque wanderings of a Zelig-like character through a post-apocalyptic America where psychotropic drug dependency and bodily mutilation/alteration are the order of the day. The protagonist, Clearfather, awakens as a middle-aged man in a future Central Park, with vague childhood memories and an outsize member. He makes his way through an America in which the divide between public and private is so nonexistent that the U.S. government itself is privatized, outsourced to the monolithic drug manufacturer, Vitessa Cultporation. Searching for his identity and an explanation of the current state of the barely unified union, Clearfather encounters deposed sex-obsessed-drug-addicted corporate scions, lesbian motorcycle gangs, gay heavyweights and possibly the creator of the universe, at least in its current state. Saknussemm creates a self-contained, sci-fi world where celebrity worship is pervasive and holographic mascots, "eidolons," stand in as shills for everything from fast-food haggis to "Childrite nurturing centers." Tedious action sequences between warring factions and an autistic attention to authorial eschatology make this a long trudge. But it is just a slight step into the imaginative ether to see how many of the novel's obsessions are endgame imaginings of current societal problems." - Publishers Weekly

"This sweeping, satirical first novel envisions a not-so-distant future America in which earthquakes and holy wars have wreaked havoc on the national psyche, and the people are either reclusive and superrich or damaged victims of misguided technologies. Into this schizophrenic landscape steps Elijah Clearfather, a mysterious, super-mentally-gifted amnesiac who can bring his enemies to their knees simply by chanting tongue twisters. Found by a clandestine community of rebel hackers living in Central Park, Clearfather bears a striking resemblance to a former porn-star-turned-cult-leader executed, Waco-style, by the FBI. Possessing the ability to infiltrate and unhinge the minds of those around him, Clearfather is ultimately deemed too dangerous for community membership and is ceremoniously packed onto a Greyhound bus with a makeover and a map leading him back through his haunted past. Thus Clearfather is launched on a madcap journey that involves errant 3-D-advertising icon Dooley Duck; an unlikely friendship with a wealthy adolescent drug addict and Warhol, a mutant bull mastiff; and the love of Kokomo, an enigmatic girl whose past may be as mysterious as his own. Part picaresque, part brilliantly inventive black comedy, Zanesville is one of the most creative, edgy, and entertaining novels sf has spawned in a decade." - Carl Hays

"Ever wonder what kind of novels Neal Stephenson and China Mieville might write if they had a little more fun? Enter Zanesville, the genre-bending, metafictional world of first-time novelist Kris Saknussemm. Zanesville riddles as much as it amuses. It starts with a preface, featuring an alternate 19th century American history about an ignored genius named Lloyd Sitturd. Sitturd leaves behind the resonant and cryptic inscription: “The hidden may be seeking and the missing may return.”
Fast-forward to a timeless corporate-controlled future. An amnesiac named Elijah Clearfather wakes up in Central Park with a mysterious phrase carved on his back and apparent mental powers. Is he the key that will end übercorporate reign on America? Or is he a weapon of mass destruction? Clearfather and his gigantic phallus are determined to find out.
Pluck the book’s more capricious imaginings and the plot essentially boils down to this: Clearfather and friends take a cross-country road trip in search of Clearfather’s past. The closer Clearfather gets, the more Sitturd’s history and Clearfather’s origins become intertwined and the more Vitessa Cultporation wants to stop Clearfather.
Not one word is predictable in Saknussemm’s novel and the reader turns each page at his own risk. Witness Clearfather’s stage entrance:
“He crashed back into himself and felt the Easter evening damp. Dolls and chains hung in ritual fashion from the branches surrounding him, and through the knife-hacked oak trees he could make out great luminous spires and domes, and older grim, but luxuriant blocks of apartments sealed with steel-plate louvers as if against attack. Beside these rose skeletal scaffoldings on which, judging from the hives of lights, whole families perched on open-air platforms while resourceful or desperate individuals dangled in slings and sacks suspended from guy wires. Across the sky, as though projected from behind the sulfur-tinged clouds, flashed pictograms and iridescent banks of hypertext. The word Vitessa was repeated often…”
Zanesville is not a novel for the impatient. Saknussemm aims higher, harder, louder, wider, farther, and deeper all at once, skewering, scrambling and satirizing America’s past, present and future. At times, Saknussemm’s sentences read like an explosion of American cultural references that just happen to have a verb. But if you’re tired of all of the fuss over mediocre fiction, Zanesville packs more memorable scenes in 500 pages than some critically acclaimed authors have written in a lifetime." - Leland Cheuk

"Zanesville is a satire of modern day culture, set amidst a future America gone psychedelic. Elijah Clearfather's journey to discover just who and what he is, at times a reincarnation of a religious cult leader or porn star or even a modern day savior, allows Saknussemm to comment on, and take shots at, just about everything in today's culture. From religion, to consumerism, politics, and corporatism, nothing is left out. Saknussemm uses heavy doses of humor to make his points, often times bordering on the bizarre, but almost always very funny. This can either be in word play or just the bizarre settings he's created for the characters to travel through.
In fact, the main attraction to me was the setting. Think of Stephenson's America in Snowcrash, only more fractious, hopped up on LSD, and cranked up to 11. America has been taken over by the Vitessa Corporation, who has a hand in almost everything, especially drugs. In this future America, Saknussemm introduces us to holographic cartoon characters who take on a life of their own, mutilated lesbian biker gangs in the Midwest, seemingly sentient tornados in Central Texas, 50 foot remote controlled celebrity robots engaging in a larger than life Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot battles, and the new city of Los Vegas, which extends for most of the entire length of The New Left Coast. Most of the old left coast having fallen into the sea after the big one, called Bigfoot. Into this setting comes Elijah Clearfather. A man who has no idea of who or what he is, Elijah travels the breadth of the US, trying to discover why his memory is gone. Along the way, he meets an impressive variety of characters, including an ex-football player turned drag queen now resistance leader, his to be love Kokomo, who has problems of her own but seems to mesh with Clearfather well, and a ton of other interesting characters.
Ultimately, Clearfather does discover who and what he is, and the reveal had that Stephen Baxter feel where, suddenly, the scope of the story broadens enormously, and becomes something completely different from what you thought. But then again, maybe not. There was enough ambiguity at the end to allow the reader to attempt to reach his own conclusion about Clearfather. I will say that I liked Clearfather's meeting with Stinky Wiggler, his possible father, in a valley that reminded me of John Galt's valley in Atlas Shrugged, only not about objectivism. With so much going on, its clear that Saknussemm is layering the story with lots of deeper meaning. Unfortunately, due to my present circumstances, I could not give the book the time or attention it deserves to 'get' all that was going on. That bothered me to a certain degree. Also, the book is non-stop insanity from beginning to end, with few breaks to catch your breath. At times I would become overwhelmed by all that was going on and couldn't remember people's names or the sequence of events leading up to where I was. Again, not necessarily the fault of the book, more a result of my limited reading time. But since we review the reading experience here, I knock a star off.
If you liked Snowcrash for its setting, or you like humorous satire, you'll like Zanesville, a strong debut novel from Kris Saknussemm." - JP Frantz

"A man wakes up in central park with no memory save for a few disjointed images. He is soon found by a group of techno-rebels who seem an odd selection of freaks led by a former linebacker now turned transvestite. The rebels discover that the man is very well endowed, both physically and psychically. In fact, he is deemed too powerful to keep. So, they name him Clearfather, put him on a bus, and give him a map to send him across America on a voyage of discovery, but not before injecting him with...stuff (I wasn't really clear on whether it was drugs or some type of nanotechnology).
The America of today is long gone in this story. The government has been completely privatized and the country is now run through a massive "cultporation", known as Vitessa, which uses psychotropic drugs to control the population. Somehow Vitessa knows of Clearfather and fears him. They pursue him and try to eliminate him.
During his trip across the country, Clearfather discovers his extraordinary powers as he encounters a freakish and dysfunctional aristocrat family, a freakish lesbian biker gang, a freakish truck full of religious refugees, and the freakish mutant remnants of a love cult. Eventually, he ends up in a theme park laden "Los Vegas", which is, of course, full of freakish and bizarre imagery.
You'll notice that I used the word "freakish" a lot. That is because every scene and description is one of abnormality. At first, it's interesting, but after a few chapters these scenes start to lose their effect with nothing "normal" appearing for contrast, and, by halfway through the book, the constant barrage of unusual scenes tends to become a kind of literary white noise. The author seems to be trying too hard to tell the reader what it is like to use hallucinogens.
That's not to say the book was all bad. Saknussemm makes some good satirical jabs at American pop culture. I especially like the shots he takes at celebrity worship with giant celebrity robots marching down streets named for yet other celebrities. He also gets the anticonservative message across loud and clear by showing the nightmare that corporate control can turn America into. The story itself is a somewhat formulaic but still often enjoyable messianic-scifi style story that often reminded me a bit of the Matrix.
All in all though, the freakishness distracted a bit too much from the plot. However, while I've always felt that the works of Hunter S. Thompson were drug induced thought-vomit, hordes of people love his work. So, I guess there is an audience for this type of novel. Those feeling nostalgic for the anti-establishment, stream of consciousness, hallucinogenic writing style of the 1960's and 70's might enjoy this book." - Daniel Eskridge

"He wakes up confused as he is not sure who he is, or why he is in the middle of what he assumes is a distorted Central Park, nor how he became middle-aged. He vaguely recalls some childhood moments though they are not lucid and even his humongous by even Deep Throat standard's maleness seems more like an anime.
Dubbed Clearfather he travels across America seeking to find himself, but receives no assistance as the federal government has been outsourced to the monopoly drug manufacturer, Vitessa Cultporation. Instead he uncovers disposal sex, massive drug-addiction, combative mutilated lesbian motorcycle gangs, organ donors for breakfast, gay heavyweights and the probable creator, but no Clearfather.
ZANESVILLE is an interesting futuristic picture that extrapolates the problems of current day America with two trends losing the drug wars (from within) and outsourcing the entire federal government (Mussolini would enjoy this vision). The panorama is bleak as groups battle one another for a crumb while Big Brother is the future corporation that takes on legendary cult status. The excess battle scenes take away from the prime hyperbole of connecting the dots of the age of Saknussemm with the troubles impacting Americans during the Administration of the first MBA president. Mindful of El Topo, readers of dark gloom and doom allegory thrillers will want to read this cautionary tale." - Harriet Klausner

Read Chapter 1:
http://januarymagazine.com/features/zanesvilleexc.html
Kris Saknussemm, Private Midnight (The Overlook Press, 2009)

"A seductive story of grit, gunplay, vampirism, and a bit of bondage.
Detective Birch Ritter is a man on the edge-of himself. His past is filled with secrets, shadows, guilt, and ghosts. Then a dubious police buddy he hasn't seen in a year introduces him to a mysterious woman who says her business is shadows. What she knows about what lies between the darkness and the light inside men is more than Ritter may want to find out, and much more than he can resist learning. It's said that to try to forget is to try to conceal, and concealing evidence is a crime. But maybe revelation is another kind of crime-against nature.
Kris Saknussemm, the widely acclaimed author of the sci-fi smash Zanesville, now delves into another genre, and another world-a world where even the sunlight is shadowy and where deviancy is the norm. Private Midnight is a journey into the seedy, sexy, underbelly of life-crime noir for a new generation."

"James Ellroy meets David Lynch in this addictive mix of noir and supernatural horror from Saknussemm. Det. Birch Ritter investigates the suspected suicide of California real estate magnate Deems Whitney, who apparently doused his Mercedes with gasoline and died in the resultant explosion a day after changing his will to benefit his trophy wife and disinherit his grown children. Before the cop can interview Whitney's widow, Ritter receives a cryptic message from his ex-partner that steers him to the enigmatic Genevieve Wyvern. Wyvern, who disconcerts Ritter with how well she knows his past, plunges him into a surreal world of bondage, domination and mind games. Despite being humiliated by Wyvern, Ritter finds himself unable to stay away from her lair. An unexpected and bizarre twist well into the novel jolts the fairly standard plot off the rails, but the powerful narrative voice will compel most readers to follow." - Publishers Weekly

"Life is piling up for Det. Birch Ritter. He's a big man loaded down with ugly cases; guilty secrets; a violent, ethically dubious approach to police work; fresh divorce papers; and a personal demon he calls El Miedo. A crooked colleague sends Ritter to Genevieve, a woman who is equal parts psychiatrist, seer, and dominatrix. So begins Ritter's dark spiral downward, a series of strange changes that cannot be explained by the laws of the world as he knows it. Saknussemm (Zanesville) creates an original blend of noir procedural, horror, and dark eroticism but sometimes loses control of his own linguistic dexterity. The result is intriguing but also muddled and awkwardly paced. A great rush of late developments suggests that either a sequel is forthcoming or that the book's most captivating questions will remain partly unanswered. What is the extent of Genevieve's power? What is the truth about Ritter's past? What will become of him? Saknussemm is a writer to watch, but this book is recommended only for large libraries where complex genre-bending works have found readership." - Neil Hollands

"A narrative that moves from a noirish hard-boiled detective novel to a fantasy of sexual transformation, an uncomfortable journey for the first-person narrator and for the reader. Birch Ritter is a detective-cynical and world-weary, of course-whose patter sounds at once fresh and drearily familiar: "It was a hooker, I was pretty sure. It was trouble I was certain"; "She had a laugh like Stevie Nicks on nitrous oxide and a slow burn gotta-get-there bed moan like an ambulance in Friday night rush hour." Ritter gets involved in two puzzling cases: Real-estate mogul Deems Whitney is found dead in his burnt-out Mercedes, and a man named Mervyn Stoakes has engaged in a spasm of self-castration. One of Ritter's old partners then mysteriously puts him onto Genevieve, Whitney's widow, whose grief for her husband's death might be for show. When Ritter goes to meet her in her old house in a rundown section of town, his life literally changes. She takes off her clothes, blindfolds him and tells him his name is going to be "Sunny." Ritter is intrigued, bewildered and ultimately frightened by the charismatic and powerful Genevieve, and he keeps going back for more-not for sex but for the powerful draw of her personality and for what she can reveal to him about his past. Ultimately, Ritter/Sunny notices some changes, not just in his personality (crying, for example, starts to become a more normative experience for him) but also in his body. Genevieve is a shape-changer who's able to reinvent some of the ghostly images from Ritter's past, including his mother. By the end the word "freakish" doesn't even begin to describe the events of the novel, which include Ritter's pet cat being devoured by a giantsnake and Genevieve serving up her consort Sophia as "tender meat" in an entree Ritter unwittingly consumes. Off-the-wall strange and surreal-and definitely not recommended as a Mother's Day gift." - Kirkus Reviews

"How many books are there with a sleazy cop finding some kind of redemption after a redheaded femme fatale walks into his life? In Private Midnight, Birch Ritter is the cop whose self-admitted crimes leave the opening pages soaked in blood and the sweat of illicit sex. Genevieve is the mysterious woman who leaves a trail of suicidal associates behind her. Ritter starts investigating her – an investigation to which she submits willingly. What he unknowingly signs on for is a therapy session with the devil, and there's always that pesky price to pay.
But if you're thinking Kris Saknussemm's follow-up to his critically lauded debut, Zanesville: A Novel, is going to be some kind of watered-down Dashiell Hammett knockoff, you're barking up the wrong hangman's tree. Genre is a term that has no meaning here, and Private Midnight avoids plot twists by vaulting instead from police procedural to erotic thriller to occult horror to philosophical tome.
Ritter's internal monologue starts off sounding like a cop written by someone who knows law enforcement only from reading high-end and pulp detective fiction. When it works, it's witty, culturally rich, and brutal in a seedy way. When it fails, it's like Damon Runyon, James Ellroy, and Dennis Miller dukin' it out for keyboard ownership. But as Ritter changes (or, more accurately, undergoes his own Metamorphosis, courtesy of Genevieve), the book melds the mystic/mythic exploration of The Golden Bough and the easy eroticism of those early porn novels Anne Rice used to put out under a pseudonym. Only, you know, addictively readable. As Ritter transforms from irredeemable gumshoe to something stranger and more willingly perverse, so does his narrative voice become clearer and starker, and the events become weirder, more sordid, and shamanistic.
Private Midnight courts controversy, but that's almost undoubtedly Saknussemm's intention. As Genevieve strips Ritter down physically and spiritually, Saknussemm cracks open a series of modern shibboleths about sexuality and justice and invites the audience to feast on its guts. It's impossible to say whether individual readers will be entranced, appalled, or disgusted by his work. But if this book is Saknussemm's sophomore misfire, then it is at bare minimum bold, intriguing, and disturbing." - Richard Whittaker

All the smells and feels of Wetworld came back. Sailors and cradle robbers—the girls appearing like hastily planted flowers. Runaways from Spokane… rebel daughters from some Main Street in the Midwest. Strippers past their use-by-date trying to hide their wrinkles.
Then out of the blue neon one summer night, there’d suddenly be this lap dance mirage. A new twilight-blonde mink with jackknife legs and marzipan boots—eyes like bits of bashed-in mirror. I slipped the peculiar card in my pocket and turned on the ignition, feeling like I’d been asleep for a hundred years.
Still, some things never change. Mondays are such damn lonely days.”

This is the razor-sharp, world-weary voice of Detective Birch Ritter, the narrator of Kris Saknussemm’s crime-noir thriller Private Midnight. The book is a departure for Saknussemm, whose first novel, Zanesville, was a metafictional amusement park jam packed with would-be Messiahs, omnipotent corporations and lots and lots of explosions. Private Midnight is a character-driven piece of genre fiction that has much more depth than other books in the category, sparked by Saknussemm’s lean sentences and crystalline observations of a debauched Los Angeles.
The novel starts off like many noir thrillers. Ritter investigates the suicide of a real estate magnate, who evidently doused his Mercedes with gasoline and blew himself up after leaving his estate to his trophy wife and disinheriting his grown children. During the investigation, Ritter is introduced to a beautiful and mysterious woman named Genevieve Wyvern who seems to know his past better than she should. All sounds pretty familiar at this point. Could be an episode of CSI or Law and Order. But Saknussemm, true to his genre-subverting reputation, doesn’t let the reader off so easy.
The suicide investigation turns out to be a launching pad into a surreal, sexy, and at times grotesque world of bondage and hyperreality as well as an exploration into Ritter’s shadowy past. Ritter can’t stay away from Wyvern and soon, she is implicated in a larger conspiracy that makes the Los Angeles criminal underworld look like Disneyland.
While the plot never quite takes off, hinting rather than resolving Wyvern’s role in the central premise of the book, it’s Ritter’s rich backstory and character development combined with Saknussemm’s muscular prose that carries Private Midnight, even for readers who can’t quite stomach the kinky sex (ed. warning note: one scene contains an animal torture, which MostlyFiction.com wishes the author had omitted). With his trademark capriciousness restrained and his imagination disciplined and purposeful, Saknussemm has delivered his most mature work of fiction to date." - Leland Cheuk

"Ritter is a police detective who has been through two divorces, lots of death, and plenty of guilt and fear. He is feeling lonely and tired. One day an old cop friend who is nothing but trouble drops off a business card on his desk; which will forever change his life.
Ritter meets a seductive woman who is mysterious and desirable. Now he only has her on his mind and things are starting to become very strange…
When I first started reading this book it felt like a 1920’s detective story – I thought of Dick Tracy: the smoke, the night, the ominous narrator, the dingy bars and the loud precinct. I thought it had the classic comic book detective story feel to it – it didn’t last that way.
Soon I wasn’t sure what to believe; I didn’t know what was really happening and what was being imagined. The story then started to remind me of The Machinist. Ritter seems obsessed, he is quickly losing weight, and odd things are happening. I kept expecting the end to reveal that Ritter was crazy and he was imagining everything.
Ritter becomes increasingly distressed. None of his clothes fit him, he can’t eat, he has no one to talk to, and he has blackouts and disturbing dreams and when he wakes up he is usually covered in an odd substance. All the while, his obsession with the mysterious woman becomes stronger and more dangerous.
I don’t think giving a no spoiler review can give this book justice. It is by far the weirdest book I have ever read. I think I uttered the words “what in the …” several times outloud. Some of the things in this book were absolutely disturbing.
When I got about half-way through the book I really didn’t want to keep reading. About two-thirds through the book I really didn’t like it much. When I finished the last page of the book I was so stunned I couldn’t hate the book and wanted everyone to read it so they could go through the same thing I did.
I don’t usually cuss, but if I had to give a one statement explanation of this book I would have to say it’s a psychological mind !#$%. I had a hard time getting through it, but the end was worth it. The psychological warfare is pretty intense and interesting. And I have never read an ending like this one.
Without knowing anything about the author I figured the writer was male, when I ended the book I thought the writer might be a woman! Which I think is quite genius and fitting. I won’t tell you if Kris is male or female, I think you should read and guess yourself, then read the bio! Primeval and psychological elements of sexuality, manhood, control, violence, fear, and darkness make this book quite fascinating.
I just finished Private Midnight and could go on and on about it, but I don’t want to give anything else away. Let me know if you read this. I would love to have a conversation about it!
Oh, and to address the "vampire" element. I was expecting this book to have the present popular vampire character, which it didn't. I do however, believe that describing a vampire in it's most basic and primeval form is quite fitting. Read it and tell me what you think." - vampirebooks.blogspot.com

"Kris Saknussemm is no stranger to kinky sex. While doing research for his newly released novel Private Midnight, he asked focus groups which, if any, fetishes they engage in on a regular basis. The responses ranged from the harmless (shoes) to the potentially fatal (peanut butter, which can result in hyperventilation and instantaneous, toad-like skin boils if you're allergic, as one orgy participant accidentally discovered). Saknussemm rose to literary acclaim in 2005 for his sci-fi thriller Zanesville, which features a protagonist regenerated from a mutilated penis and a giant Michael Jackson robot that roams the Las Vegas desert. His new novel, Private Midnight, is described as a “psychoerotic fairy tale,” a noirish tale of a cop tracking a shape-shifting temptress through a trail of dingy dive bars.

Your first book, Zanesville, inspired Michael Jackson to want to construct a "Jackobot." What the hell is a "Jackobot?"
- A giant robot of himself to stalk around the desert surrounding Las Vegas—which, in Zanesville, is actually one of many mammoth celebrity robots that are pitted against each other in combat, but which go rogue and rampage through the city causing total devastation.
Private Midnight is touted as a "psychoerotic fairy tale." What do you mean by that?
- By “psychoerotic,” I mean the "mind game" aspect of sex, our private psychologies being where our sense of sexuality lies in both senses of that word. “Fairy tale” is there to distinguish the book from straight-up crime fiction, although it definitely has that noirish feel. But I wanted to create sort of an allegory about the relationship between men and women, in all its violence and weirdness. Society often tries to sanitize—and in some cases, legislate—primal emotions that remain forever resistant to ideology and political correctness, but I think sexually deviant behaviors, like fetishes, are important to examine and talk about.
You reportedly did market research on fetishes to prepare for this book. Was that part of your attempt to access your own “primal emotions?”
- [Laughs.] Fetishes amuse and fascinate me and are one of my chief interests, generally. I think they are a long way from being truly understood, but they're becoming more mainstream as they become more widespread and talked of openly.
What are some of the fetishes that appear in Private Midnight?
- Infantilism, matriphilia, the fixation on ghosts, music, violence.... The whole story is permeated with a fetishistic view of life.
Matriphilia?
- A mother fixation. Not so much sex with one’s mother. More the turning of a partner into a mother figure, while the other partner remains childlike. Think diapers and pacifiers. It’s really about pretending to be a child again. It’s one of a genre of fetishes that emphasizes vulnerability and being in need. Frequently, powerful figures—both male and female, but predominantly male—and people of wealth and authority engage in this fetish. For those types, it’s pleasant to have someone take care of them, since they’re so used to calling the shots. It's the playful “let’s pretend” element of many fetishes, which often signals the absence of a deeper need in real life.
In line with “let’s pretend," what elements of the bloody, sweaty, sex-filled world in Private Midnight are you actually familiar with?
- I do know more than I should. I’ve been busted for drugs. I’ve been beaten up by police. I’ve been with prostitutes. I know what it’s like being falling-down-drunk in the streets, and I’ve been stabbed. I also have friends who are jazz musicians and major crime squad investigators, both of which lurk around the story." - Interview with Tolly Moseley

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