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Review: Something From The Nightside

Something From The Nightside by Simon R Green.

  • somethingfromthenightsidePaperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441010652
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441010653

 

Review

I first discovered Simon R Green with the Hawk & Fisher series of books. I graduated from those to the grand space opera, Deathstalker.

Simon is a master of the very long series. I’m not sure how many books the two series mentioned above have, but I think I have read 5 or 6 in both.

The latest book from Simon that I have read is “Something From the Nightside”. This somewhat Chandleresque thriller is about a PI named John Taylor who hails from the Nightside. The Nightside is an always 3am, magical underbelly to a modern day London. You can only get to the Nightside by traversing secret passageways and subways through evil, scary territory.

The story starts with major character, Joanna Barret arriving at John’s rundown office. She is cold, rich and attractive (as all good PI story heroines should be). She has a runaway daughter and wants John to find her. John agrees because that’s what he does.

One hitch to the search, Joanna has information that her daughter was last seen heading to a place she has never heard of, The Nightside. A second hitch is that John left the Nightside 5 years earlier and vowed never to return. People want him dead. He needs the money.

John and Joanna head to the Nightside. Once there, they meet Alex, the angry bartender at the world’s oldest bar; Razor Eddie, the unkillable killer; Shotgun Suzie, ex-SAS bounty hunter with a soft spot for John; and many more bizarre characters, not the least of which is the Nightside itself.

The story is breakneck and never boring. Knife fights, giant insects, time slips and alien predators; it’s all there. John and Joanne take a walking tour of the Nightside. There is a bar that is perpetually in the 1960’s. John is mysterious and with each scene we learn a little bit more about his past.

Raised in the Nightside by strangers after his father dies. His mother abandoned both father and son. Many people in the Nightside have powers and John’s special power helps him find things; anything.

This is a good book but not nearly as good as Deathstalker. I would say this one is on par with Hawk & Fisher. A very good read but not incredibly memorable. I am pretty sure it is the first in a new series. I would be willing to buy the next one to see where it goes.

If I have any complaint with the book, it’s that everything is just too pat. Every time all is lost, someone shows up to bail him out. If someone doesn’t show up to bail him out, his special power is especially powerful.

Sometimes it felt like I was reading a series of standalone scenes rather than a coherent whole. Each scene was a set piece with characters introduced and dismissed. Most to be seen later but some not. Several scenes don’t seem to have any real reason for existing in this book except to add filler and provide some background for a future book.

Those are minor complaints though. I did enjoy the book and at times I found it very hard to put down. It’s a book you will rush to finish and be a little bit sorry when you do. I can recommend it to anyone who likes this genre or who likes Simon Green’s other work.

LewisC

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