Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Something From The Nightside" by Simon R. Green

John Taylor is a private eye hearkening back to the good old days of Chandler, Hammet, and the like. As the book opens, he's in his seedy little London office, arguing on the phone with someone to whom he owes money. In true film noir fashion, in walks a very classy dame, one who screams money, offering him what should be an easy case - find her missing teenage daughter.

Except that daughter has gone to The Nightside, and John knows all about the horrors that await him there. The Nightside is in the heart of London, a sort of alternate reality where it is always 3 am. There is no such thing as weather per se; the temperatures and such reflect the emotions of The Nightside itself. As Taylor puts it, it probably accounts for the great amount of rain there. The Nightside is a dark, scary place full of people who are not quite human, things like Timeslips, and all sorts of general weirdness. John was born there but left five years ago after some distinct unpleasantness. He's not in a great hurry to return, but Joanna Barrett, the rich broad, is offering him a lot of money, money he can hardly afford to refuse.

This is the first in The Nightside series by Green, and it's a great little book. As one character points out early on (and John himself tells us again and again), one can never be sure what one is looking at in The Nightside, as things are never what they seem to be. There are cool characters, like Alex the bartender, and scary ones, such as The Harrowing. The feel is sort of like a cross between Sam Spade and the flick "Dark City". John is a mystery himself, having been born of a human father and a mother was most certainly not; his father drank himself to death when John was just ten years old. John is almost a celebrity in his old home, and there's talk of an inheritance, although just exactly what he's supposed to inherit is never spelled out. (I have a feeling that will come in subsequent installments of the series.) There's a great "tough chick", Suzie Shotgun, rounding out the cast of characters on the hunt for the missing daughter, too.

This is definitely a thumbs-up title for The Bookbabe. It's a tightly-written, short, very cool little book. I look forward to spending more time in The Nightside.

No comments: