Author: Simon R Green
Title: Something From The Nightside
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: Ace 2003
Purchased: Borders, Cambridge, 2004-01-24, £5.99
I like Simon Green (actually, I like him as a person, too - we met him in Philly in September 2001, at the Worldcon). He's one of those writers who hasn't yet produced top flight work, but has produced some enjoyable stuff along the way, especially the Hawk and Fisher books.
Something From The Nightside is a mix of detective noir with a dark alternate London. When we first encounter our hero, a John Taylor, he's sitting in his private detective agency, in our London, waiting for a client, any client, and wondering how he's going to pay his bills. And then a tall, good-looking elegant blonde walks in the door, needing him to find her daughter.
Very Philip Marlowe.
But then it becomes different, because Taylor has to go searching in the Nightside, the alternative London that's reached by taking strange turns in the London Underground, and that's peopled by strange creatures as well as some of the nastiest humans you could ever meet. In this Nightside, it is always night, and it turns out that our hero ... well, protagonist, but he's on the side of good, and pretty heroic at times ... has a history. He was born in the Nightside, and only left for the real London some five years ago.
The rest of the novel deals with the quest, on which the t,g-leb has tagged along, with the old friends that he reencounters, with the enemies he has to overcome, and with what the quest is really about. Oh, yes, and he has a 'gift' ability to help him.
At the end, discoveries are made, betrayals done, friends killed (but not many), and possible love lost. What we don't find out is what Taylor may eventually cause to happen, because there are powers and prophecies (one of which he actually experiences) which are never explained, but these are part of a much bigger story. Perhaps we'll find out, perhaps not. Meanwhile, this is an enjoyable and exciting dip into a world, with some nicely humourous moments along the way (and including the Hawk's Wind Bar and Cafe chapter). It's not deep, it's written as pure fun, and as that, it works very nicely indeed, thank you.