Written by: Mack Moyer
Johnny Midnight is a huckster of the paranormal world, a man-whore on the wrong side of forty with a paunch (he loves bacon, damn it) who manages to bumble his way into the New World Order.
In Everyone Hates A Hero by Gregory L. Hall, we get to watch this wayward jester use the world as the straight man to his antics, even if some of those straight men are vampires and zombie gangsters, usually while jamming to his favorite ABBA CD.
Midnight is famous for chasing boogeymen that don’t exist, but only at the behest of the Elite, a shadowy group that controls the world. Why? Because in running after monsters that aren’t real, and often making an ass out of himself in the process, Johnny Midnight helps cover up the creatures that are.
The joy in Everyone Hates A Hero comes from watching Midnight chuckle and whore his way through a bevy of colorful characters, from the undead and demonic to his stern Elite handler Ulysses and personal assistant (and possible ninja) Millicent.
Millicent in particular brings some great laughs. She’s secretly in love with Johnny though too timid to make a move. There’s a series of gags wherein Millicent talks dirty into Johnny’s bad ear, which of course he can’t hear at all.
Midnight’s romps with random women – including an Amish hooker, because why not – and gleeful traipse through the paranormal world get derailed when his ex-fiance comes asking for help, having demon trouble of her own.
One of the only weak points in the novel is the creature harassing Johnny’s ex and, eventually, Johnny himself. Oh, it gives a couple good scares no question, including using a bathroom mirror for a creative kill.
The antagonist always feels like it’s in the periphery, more of a concept than a character. I would have liked to see Johnny have extra opportunities to lob jokes and middle fingers at this demon baddie. It just felt like Hall could have explored the demon a little further.
But the scares and, most importantly, the laughs work. I tore through the novel, chuckling more often than not. Johnny Midnight is a fascinating guy, channeling Bruce Campbell from Army of Darkness with the attitude of Tony Stark.