Gah! So good...Gordon is my f'ing spirit animal (minus the drugs and the crime and the...well, maybe not spirit animal...but I LOVE him!)Ok, so I'll preface this by saying yes, I'm a huge fan of the "In the Company of Shadows" series and it is, indeed, one of my favorite reads. BUT, I tried really hard to read After Midnight as the standalone that it's meant to be. And I can assure anyone who questions it that yes, it is a standalone. There are places and names that are familiar to fans of ICoS, but the book even has a bit of a different feel. After Midnight is nothing that I'd typically find my "type" of book: it's not a traditional romance (the MC's have a bit of a contemptuous relationship) and I'm not sure if any of the characters are actual likable and it's set in a dystopian world...BUT IT WORKED FOR ME! *scratch my head*Romance be damned - the 2 MC's have a crazy sexual tension and every interaction, whether hate-filled, confused, mocking...WAS HOT. And by the end, you'll shock even yourself, that they somehow became a couple you're ROOTING for! Likable characters be damned - Gordon is an antihero. He's insecure. He's a brat. He tries too hard. He's needy. And he would not admit to any of that. And by the end, you'll shock even yourself, that you're overwhelmed by the need to care for him, protect him, hang out with him, be his bestie (get out of the way Carla...there's a new BFF in town...ME!) And Adam...three words...I WANT MORE. Dystopian world be damned - Something about Santino Hassell's writing transforms you to that time and place and makes you feel like you're right in the middle of it. I felt this way in ICoS and I felt this way in this book as well. And by the end, you'll shock even yourself, that it didn't feel fictional...it felt like just another town for some reason. Now, I have to admit that the book started a bit slow for me, but picks up quickly once the 2 MC's finally meet. And to be truthful, the sap in me wishes there was MORE Gordon & Adam time and, you know, one of those perfectly wrapped up "and they lived happily ever after..."s. (There had BETTER be another book after this that extends the story...PLEASE!) But, I found the book captivating, satisfying, and I highly recommend it.