Sean McCloy’s THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH HITCHCOCK is the life-story of a young man obsessed with Alfred Hitchcock who grows up to find himself in one Hitchcockian nightmare after another, apparently forced to play the role of murderer…or is he just a “harmless fantasist?”
Narrated by the killer, a lonely, guarded, sociopathic soul who believes himself to have supernatural powers, particularly the ability to converse with Hitchcock across time, space, and even death, the book is a first-person look inside the mind of a film-savvy maniac, killer or not. Devoted Hitchcock fans may find this an amusing, macabre, murderous romp through the mind of the master storyteller as told by a demented apostle. For everyone else it might not be as compelling.
While the effort the author put into the book is impressive, and one can enjoy the artfulness, it’s not particularly emotional or moving in any way. There’s no one to root for here, and just like in many Hitchcock films, the story feels cold and cynical much of the time. The main character is essentially a stalker, but instead of stalking the man himself, he wraps himself in the “essence” of Hitchcock as revealed in his films. What is delicious fun in a movie turns out to be not-so-fun in the harsh light of reality. It may be asking too much: the book fails to make murder as entertaining as it is in Hitchcock’s motion pictures.
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH HITCHCOCK leans heavily on Hitchcock’s earlier, British works, and the story takes place in Britain, so if your knowledge of “Hitch” is from Hollywood on, you may need to brush up on the formative years. As a puzzle, it’s entertaining to pick out the allusions to the films. It’s not all straight-forward and even the most ardent film buff will find the task a challenge.
Beginning with the delightful title, there’s much to admire about Sean McCloy’s book, especially his grasp of Hitchcock films, the wry humor, and the skilled weaving of familiar Hitchcock plots into the narrator’s story.
~Dave Eisenstark for IndieReader