Twelve is not Midnight but a designer drug. McDonell, 18 when he wrote the novel, lifts pacing from Brett Easton Ellis — “American Psycho” comes to mind. “White Mike” is an urban drug dealer with middle class rich kids as clients. Good work if you can get it.
Even their names swim in greed: Hunter, Tobias, Claude, Lionel. Sven. It’s December 27 in New York City and McDonell portentuously winds down the clock to New Year’s Eve. White Mike is a generational sponge, a tic collector, a passive Holden Caulfield who observes without judging.
McDonell treads an inch from both satire and caricature. A dealer named Mark Rothko got his name for shoving a kid into a real Rothko at the Met, damaging kid and painting. McDonell deftly works all these angles — drugs, sex, and privilege gone awry — before guns take over.