Mike Reviews: How To Be A Vigilante: A Diary By Luke Smitherd

Genre: Horror/Thriller/Comedy/Superhero

Format: Audiobook (also available on Kindle and paperback)

In the late 1990s, a laptop was found in a service station just outside of Manchester (England). It contained a digital journal entitled ‘To The Finder: Open Now To Change Your Life!’

Now, for the first time, that infamous diary is being published in its entirety.

It’s 1998. The internet age is still in its infancy. Google has just been founded and social media was in its infancy.

Eighteen year old supermarket shelf-stacker Nigel Carmelite has decided that he’s going to become a vigilante.

There are a few problems: how is he going to even find crime to fight on the relatively peaceful streets of Derbyshire?

How will he create a superhero costume – and an arsenal of crime-fighting weaponry – on a shoestring budget? And will his history of blackouts and crippling social inadequacy affect his chances?

This is Nigel’s account of his journey; part diary, part deluded self-help manual, tragically comic and slowly descending into what is arguably Luke Smitherd’s darkest and most violent novel.

This is one of my favourites of all of Luke’s works. And I think it might have been my first, because the twist in the story as it progressed was pretty shocking for me. The tone took a far more serious, and darker tone, during the last third of the story.

Nigel is presented as extremely socially awkward and someone who finds it difficult to understand social situations he finds himself in. He also seems to be a little ‘simple’. Is that the right term to use? But he has a good heart and he wants to help victims of bullies and crimes. The problem is, the real world isn’t a comic book and things that seem straight forward for our world-saving superheroes, doesn’t always work out so well in reality.

If you choose to read this novel, and I recommend giving it a shot, and if you enjoy it, I’d recommend all of Luke Smitherd’s work, with one exception. The Stone Man. Ironically, this is his most popular novel, but I didn’t like it at all, so I can’t recommend it. But I can recommend this. Just be prepared to be left reeling and feeling a little reflective for the rest of your day, as you digest the ending.

Page count: 215

Goodreads rating: 3.8

Mike’s rating: 4.25

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