John Taylor is a half-human, half-supernatural private investigator based in London who works in the “greyer areas of the legal and illegal.” Originally from the Nightside, the “secret, hidden, dark heart of the city…London’s evil twin,” Taylor left his home five years ago and has no intentions of returning. Sure, he might be living out of his derelict office in the dangerous part of town, but it beats living in a dangerous side world where powerful creatures have it out for you. Wealthy Joanna Barrett interrupts Taylor’s mundane life, asking for his help in finding her missing teenage daughter, Cathy. His interest is piqued when Joanna tells him the person who recommended Taylor’s services informed her Cathy is in the Nightside. Taylor tries to warn Joanna against the dangers of the Nightside, but Joanna’s wealth finally convinces Taylor to take one more trip home.
The moon illuminates the Nightside (it is always 3:00 A.M.) and full of all manner of shady people and creatures. Cars might be monsters, friends might be enemies, and alleyways can shift at a moment’s notice. Even the temperature changes with the city’s moods. Joanna is shocked and disgusted by the gritty surroundings, and even more astonished by Taylor’s “friends”: Pew, the vicar; Alex Morrisey, the owner of Taylor’s favorite bar; Razor Eddie, “Punk God of the Straight Razor”; and Shotgun Suzie, the bounty hunter. Taylor’s friends are a great help, giving him leads to Cathy’s whereabouts, and warning him he’s a wanted man. Aiding the search is Taylor’s gift of third-eye sight, which gives him the ability to sense past events while he’s in the Nightside. Taylor and Joanna must sidestep dangerous people and places as they try to find Cathy before it’s too late.
Something from the Nightside reads like a classic P.I. novel until you get to the supernatural sub-world and body horror. Taylor’s constant advice to Joanna once they enter the Nightside is “it’s best not to ask…it’s best not to think about it.” It’s a place where you can slip through time, get abducted by aliens, or have an authentic 1960s Coke in a ghost diner. It’s quite an original setting and each chapter introduces a new character, a new threat, and a new facet to the world of the Nightside. Taylor constantly warns Joanna she can’t trust anyone in the Nightside, so there’s a constant sense of lurking danger.
Simon R. Green knows how to get you right into the setting. He describes the sights, smells, and sounds so distinctly you can almost feel a different aura as you read each new scene. Taylor’s warnings about the nefarious nature of the Nightside prove necessary as we see the truly dark side of this world. Many scenes made me queasy, and I’m a fan of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. The author described gore from some of your worst nightmares in excruciating detail.
The story itself was a quick, fast-paced read. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a short suspense novel, but if you’re a fan of a slow burn this won’t satisfy you. It seems like Taylor and Joanna ricochet from one place to the next at almost lightning speed, with no break in between on their journey to find Cathy. It kept me interested, but also felt like the story was resolved rather abruptly. The warnings Taylor gets about his family and the threatening implications this has for him propels the drama into future novels, but I’m not sure this series is for me.
Rating: 3 out of 5 supernatural underworlds
2016 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Categories: A Book Recommended By A Family Member