Three Hours Past Midnight by Tony Knighton

Three Hours Past Midnight by Tony KnightonThe unnamed lead character in Tony Knighton’s Three Hours Past Midnight (Crime Wave Press) runs around the Philadelphia night with a perpetual fuck you grimace. This attitude, this Philly attitude, is something those of us from the Philly area embrace. We don’t give a shit what other cities think of us, plus can be our most vicious critics. Our soccer fans even have a chant, stolen from Millwall, that goes:

No one likes us, no one likes us
No one likes us, we don’t care!

We’re from Philly, fucking Philly
No one likes us, we don’t care!

I bring this up because Tony Knighton’s hard-boiled novel is Philly through and through. Tony Knighton’s Three Hours Past Midnight is as hard as a Darryl Dawkins backboard-breaking dunk or Chuck Bednarik knocking out Frank Gifford on the football field. Tony Knighton begins the tale with our unnamed narrator pulling off a successful heist and then his accomplice gets shot dead. Because another partner of the narrator had been killed in a previous job, our narrator heads out into the streets of Philadelphia to hunt down the killer and the missing loot, he needs to clear his name.

Tony Knighton’s succinct style never abandons the reader in senseless description, but he has the skill set to bring Philadelphia’s night alive with all of its danger and narrow streets. Unlike Rocky’s 30-mile montage run, Knighton’s narrator believably journeys from Manayunk to the airport and many places in between making the city as a setting as important as the credibility of Tony Knighton’s unnamed narrator. If youse are longing for that 50s style hard-boiled lead character, then Tony Knighton’s Three Hours Past Midnight is the one for you. Everything about this book rings true.

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Apologies for all of the sport metaphors in the following review. I counted only two references to Philly sports teams in the entire book. The Philadelphia sport references are totally the fault of this reviewer.

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