Something From The Nightside by Simon R. Green
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
I just love these Tales From The Nightside books. They all have a great noir feeling about them, and center on old-fashioned, trench-coated detective John Taylor and his misadventures in the Nightside, a part of London you really don’t want to visit. No, the books aren’t great literature, but they are so much fun. In a very creepy way. And in spite of the creep factor, they make me laugh. A lot.
I think what I love the most is the Nightside, itself. Maybe I should let John Taylor describe it. The Nightside is “that sick, magical city within a city. London’s best kept secret. It’s always night in the Nightside, always three o’clock in the morning, the hour of the wolf, when most people die and most babies are born. That part of the night where it’s always darkest just before the dawn, and the dawn never comes….You can find joy and horror in the Nightside, salvation and damnation, and the answer to every question you ever had. If the Nightside doesn’t kill you first.” Let it be said that there are monsters in the Nightside, in every possible guise. From vehicles that run on blood instead of gas, to houses which digest anyone who comes through the door. It’s wicked Urban Fantasy at its most bizarre.
The books are decidedly campy, very 1940’s in tone, and seem to parody the great detective movies of that era. One can imagine that The Maltese Falcon, itself, might reside in a corner niche in Goodfellows, the oldest bar in the universe. Literally. The tongue in cheek dialog never fails to tickle my funny bone, no matter what awful thing might be happening to the characters in the books. And speaking of those characters, they are many and varied, and each unique in the strangest ways. My favorites are Shotgun Suzie and Dead Boy, though Razor Eddie is right up there, too.
Melodramatic? Yes, but in that funny way that voice-over lead-ins to old television shows are, kind of like Rod Serling introducing The Twilight Zone. Corny? Absolutely, but with a real cutting edge…and I do mean CUTTING. These books won’t appeal to everyone, but if you have a slightly dark sense of humor like I do, they just might work for you. Oh, and by the way, don’t believe anyone who tells you the books are anything like The Dresden Files. I adore The Dresden Files books, but these are nothing like them. Neither in writing style, nor in plot lines, setting, or character development. They are one of a kind stories, in my opinion. But don’t take MY word for any of this. Try a couple for yourself. They are quick, light reads, and well worth the time. Read them in order, because there are ongoing plot lines that begin to resolve themselves over time. And let me know what you think. Me, I’m a Simon R. Green fan for life, and I give each of these books 4 stars for sheer originality.
There are at least 13 Nightside books, to date. The first five are:
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