Read by Sean Barrett
Length: 6 Hrs 21 Min
Genre: Comedic Horror
Quick Thoughts: A Night of Blacker Darkness is the perfect audiobook for when you need to infuse a little levity in your life. It’s a quick listen and will provide you plenty of laughs and cause you to look at some literary dignitaries in a new light.
I really feel there is a lack or well written comedy in literature today. Now, I’m sure upon writing this someone will school me with a plethora of top notch comedic talents writing today, but on my own I have found quite few. In fact, the only author who consistently gets a laugh out of me is Tim Dorsey with his Serge A. Storm novels. There are plenty of authors who write within other genres that have genuinely funny moments, yet rarely do I find novels that are straight comedies that actually make me laugh. The few that have over the past year or so have been absurdist comedies without much need for plot or character development. Yet, sometimes you just need something that is both a cleverly written comedy as well as a good story. For this reason, I had been looking forward for quite a while to take a listen to Dan Well’s vampire farce A Night of Blacker Darkness: Being the Memoir of Frederick Whithers As Edited by Cecil G. Bagsworth III. I had first heard about it on Well’s Blog and during one of Larry Correia’s Book Bombs. The Night of Blacker Darkness is a bit of an oddity for Wells, heck it’s an oddity for the publishing industry, so Well’s ended up releasing it as an independent eBook, and eventually an audiobook on Audible. So, I decided I just had to check out something written by Well’s that was a little too strange for traditional publishing, and just might give me a few laughs at a time I needed them.
A Night of Blacker Darkness is a comedy of errors that actually gets both aspects right. The plot is a mishmash of misunderstandings, betrayals, bad assumptions, strange obsessions and delightfully demented characters that comes together in a hilarious way. Fredrick Whithers is planning the crime, and the only thing that is keeping him from pulling it off is the fact that he has already been arrested for it. When Withers pulls off a prison escape in a coffin meant for another, he is greeted by a group of vampires who mistakes him for The Great One of Legend. Now, tailed by his vampiric groupies and hunted by a Vampire Hunter, Fredrick must find a way to pull off his caper while preventing a stake being driven into his heart. Dan Well’s Vampire farce is the perfect antidote to the emo vampire trends that are plaguing the undead. It reads like a classic Laurel and Hardy episode, with quick witted humor, over the top plotting and some delightfully kooky characters both historic and fictional. The story is set in the Victorian England, allowing Fredrick to interact with some classic literary figures before they became the legends they are today. From one poet’s annoying habit of turning every conversation into a rhyming poem to the morbid late night activities of a budding horror novelist, Wells cleverly sets up each appearance so that it will give the reader moments of dawning realizations. A Night of Blacker Darkness reminded me a lot of one of my favorite movies/plays "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead." It’s the type of novel I know I could read multiple times and find jokes I missed with each reading. A Night of Blacker Darkness is the perfect audiobook for when you need to infuse a little levity in your life. It’s a quick listen and will provide you plenty of laughs and cause you to look at some literary dignitaries in a new light.
I really enjoyed Sean Barrett’s reading of A Night of Blacker Darkness. Barrett is the straight man in this audiobook comedy duo. He delivers his reading with the audio equivalent of a straight face, giving the dark humors and goofiness its proper place. His reading reminds me of the Victorian characters of old time radio shows, delivered with a bit more polish and some sardonic wit. I love his voice for John, Fredrick’s seemingly dimwitted companion and struggling poet. He handles all the voices well, including the female characters. Barrett also delivers the witty back and forth dialogue breathlessly, transitioning from one character to the next, never breaking stride. He never overdoes any of the characters, allowing the goofiness to bubble to the surface through the language and situations. A Night of Blacker Darkness is a hidden gem of an audiobook that listeners should consider if looking for something fun and funny.