Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: John Taylor is not a private detective per se,
but he has a knack for finding lost things. That's why he's been hired
to descend into the Nightside, an otherworldly realm in the center of
London where fantasy and reality share renting space and the sun never
Book #1 in a new-to me series, recommended by a fellow book group member.
This was interesting enough - despite the cliches and obvious riffs from other popular series - to want to read more.
The obvious cliches - it was a dark and stormy night and a beautiful, rich woman walks into our down-on-his-luck protagonists dive for an office in desperate need of a private investigator. He's a sucker for a damsel in distress. There will be kissing. She even calls him "my Hero".
London has a darker, magical side. Not the first time an author has explored this - Neil Gaiman's, Neverwhere (1996) comes to mind.
It seemed every character we met has a name (Razor Eddie, Shotgun Suzie, the Collector) and our protagonist gives us a rather lengthy character biography as he explains each person to our damsel.
Basically, the book is a detective noir with a healthy dose of fantasy quest.
But yet it all works. Where the book redeems itself is how Green wraps everything up at the end. Which I can't talk about because that would be a mega-spoiler. I also found the use of each character having a "gift" interesting. John has a mysterious past and parentage that keeps the sub-plot interesting and intriguing. For a first book, the reader is thoroughly introduced to Nightside and it's quirks and quirky characters. Hopefully the author can now build on this base rather than revisiting it in books to come.
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