The Night Game
Page Count: 250
Publication Date: Sunday, March 01, 2015
Cover Artwork: © Lynn Saville. Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery www.lynnsaville.com
About this Book
New York. Late winter. The city is shrouded in fog.
Mary lives alone in her childhood home, a rambling brownstone on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
After a series of menacing phone calls, and fearing that she is being stalked, Mary contacts Sheila, one of her oldest friends. Sheila agrees to move in until the situation is resolved. The police investigate and initially focus on respondents to a dating site she has recently joined. Mary suspects her ex-husband David, with whom she is still obsessed.
Fast-paced and dark The Night Game offers up psychological intrigue and emotional depth. Nothing in this surreal story, which culminates in the re-enactment of an old murder, is as it seems.
Praise for Frank Golden’s previous novel The Two Women of Aganatz:
“Indubitably a powerful document, an ambitious and courageous one. The Two Women of Aganatz explores male and especially female sexuality in a manner which is frank, unfettered and totally without restraint.” Vincent Banville/The Irish Press
“…...uncomfortable, but compellingly and poetically described by a powerful imagination.” Carol Coulter/The Irish Times
Frank Golden is a poet, novelist and visual artist. His previous novel, The Two Women of Aganatz, was published by the Wolfhound Press, Dublin. His last book of poems was In Daily Accord (Salmon Poetry). He has received two bursaries in literature from the Arts Council of Ireland and a number of other awards. He lives in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland. www.frankgolden7.com
The Night Game was launched during the 2015 Ennis Book Club Festival, on Friday 6th March, 2015, with the official launch introduction by novelist Louise Phillips.
Review: The Night Game by Frank Golden reviewed for Midwest Review by Michael J. Carson
Synopsis: It's late winter in New York City and the city is shrouded in fog. Mary lives alone in her childhood home, a rambling brownstone on Manhattan's Lower East Side. After a series of menacing phone calls, and fearing that she is being stalked, Mary contacts Sheila, one of her oldest friends. Sheila agrees to move in until the situation is resolved. The police investigate and initially focus on respondents to a dating site she has recently joined. Mary suspects her ex-husband David, with whom she is still obsessed. Fast-paced and dark "The Night Game" offers up psychological intrigue and emotional depth. Nothing in this surreal story, which culminates in the re-enactment of an old murder, is as it seems.
Critique: Impressively well written with a wealth of unexpected plot twists and turns, "The Night Game" is a terrifically absorbing and entertaining read that is very highly recommended to the attention of suspense/thriller enthusiasts. A master of the mystery genre, Frank Golden delivers one of those unique stories that will linger in the mind and memory long after his novel is finished and placed back upon the shelf. "The Night Game" is very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Night Game" is also available in a Kindle edition.
Review: THE NIGHT GAME by Frank Golden reviewed for The Irish Examiner by Brian Leyden (Saturday, May 2, 2015)
Frank Golden’s second novel, The Night Game (Salmon Publishing), is set in a fog-choked New York at winter’s end. It opens with Mary walking home from work one evening, and sensing danger in the air. Oddly, Mary is rather fatalistic about the prospect: “She accepts the reality of something malevolent about to possess her.” When Mary gets home, she discovers that a man has left yet another threatening phone-call on her messaging service, one promising that he will ‘come and get her soon’.
It’s an appropriately creepy introduction to a novel billed as a psychological intrigue, and Mary’s life quickly begins to spiral down into fear, paranoia and crippling self-doubt. Why does the NYPD cop, Gerry Keaney, behave so bizarrely when he comes to investigate the threatening call? Might Mary’s ex-husband David, whom she left due to ‘mental cruelty’, be trying to terrify her, or has he even worse in mind? Can Mary even trust her friend Sheila, who comes to stay with Mary to help her over this difficult period, but who has sinister secrets of her own to hide?
These are all potential plot developments in a conventional psychological thriller, but The Night Game is by no means a conventional novel. Frank Golden is also an artist, filmmaker and poet, and the story is told in language that is as rich and dense as the fog that shrouds proceedings throughout. As Mary walks home that first evening, “The sloot bellow of a distant foghorn gutters in the darkness,” and Mary “ … feels the freedom in occlusion, the draped secrecy of befogged streets, the cling and obfuscation of the particle world.”
This is not, however, language for its own sake. The vividly imagined storytelling is latticed with allusion, metaphor and double meaning, all of which become increasingly apt as Mary’s psychological condition is revealed. She’s an ‘alternate’, a woman with disassociative identity disorder who is entirely conscious of – and indeed, actively encourages the development of – the multiple personalities she inhabits at various stages throughout the story.
The ‘domestic noir’ sub-genre of psychological thrillers thrives on the emotional intimacy between its protagonists, most notably in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep. In The Night Game, however, Frank Golden offers a fascinating twist on the conventions. Mary is every bit as ambiguously shape-shifting a character as her nemesis, but despite her apparent vulnerability she’s also equally dangerous: here the hunted is as potentially lethal as the hunter, and Mary – who just so happens to keep ‘a malicious little knife’ in her cutlery drawer – has no intention of playing the passive victim.
The tension derived from Mary’s gradual metamorphosis results in a compelling tale that delves deep beneath the skin of the psychological thriller to explore unusually complex motivations. The story plunges into the dark gore of the human psyche, detailing brutal violence, abusive sex and harrowing self-harm. Indeed, certain passages demand a strong stomach, and there are times when it feels as if Golden is almost daring the reader to glance away, for the sake of decorum, from Mary’s self-torturing agonies.
There are a number of improbable narrative segues (although such developments, it should be said, are fully in keeping with the nightmarish tone), and Golden’s emphasis on the psychological rather than the thriller means that the story occasionally veers into extended dialogues on therapy and disassociative identity disorder that tend to stall the story’s impetus. For the most part, however, The Night Game is a challenging, transgressive and gripping read, a chilling portrait of one woman’s personal hell. ~ Declan Burke
Review: The Night Game reviewed on bookish.com (2015)
I’m reading The Night Game by Irish novelist and poet Frank Golden, a New York-set novel of psychological darkness that opens on fogbound city streets and develops a story where moments of seeming clarity and solidity are revealed to be illusory and vaporous. Gotham itself is a city skewed in terms of geography and environment, a metropolis that feels half-dreamed and bubbles with desire, kink, deception, and madness. Damage, secret selves, personalities with coordinates out of Nietzsche and Freud—that’s the human atmosphere of The Night Game, its title coming from a Romanian surrealist painting. I feel sure I’ll remain guessing until the end. —Phil