Series: The Nightside Series #1
Author: Simon R. Green
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 shines.
For John Taylor, there's no place like home...
Something From the Nightside is one of those books that has been around for a while (it was originally published in 2003) but unfortunately had gone unnoticed by me. Similar to the Anita Blake series, I finally noticed it in a trip to Barnes & Noble's sci fi section a few weeks ago. Specifically, it was the cover of the sixth book in the series, Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth, that caught my attention (it's absolutely stunning, in my opinion). I've been on a urban fantasy kick for the past few months so it got added fairly quickly to my wishlist.
In this book, we're introduced to John Taylor, a down on his luck detective with to many bills and not enough cases in a run down part of London. With a not-completely-human mother who disappeared after his birth and a father who couldn't cope with it, John was raised in the Nightside by neighbors and survived by his own wit (along with the supernatural talent to find things, as a result of his mother's true nature).
The nightside itself is hard to describe. It's alternate universe, in a way, to normal London. The things that go bump in the night make it home, aliens, Gods, anything you can imagine can be found here really. On top of that, everything in the nightsides falls into the extremes. I'm not doing it justice here, you really need to read the book to get the proper feel for it (Simon Green did an absolutely stunning job creating an atmosphere).
In this particular book, the first in the series, John finally returns to the nightside after fleeing it five years ago on a case to find a missing teenage runaway, Cathy, with her mother Joanna. The case takes us through shady bars, back alleys and the lowest points in the nightside and Joanna works well as good conduit through all of this. Her introductions to the nightside is ours.
We are also introduced Razor Eddie, Punk God of the Straight Razor, and Shotgun Suzie. Those names (and personalities) should be more than enough reason to pick up this book. But I will admit bias, I'm a fan of anything with a badass girl who carries a shotgun and whose career choice falls into the mercenary field.
The book also sets up some subplots that will be answered in later books, along the lines of what John's true destiny is and why the powers that be are after him.
We're also offered several twists in the story that where foreshadowed well but far from obvious. The big bad is slightly....off but I'll forgive it. In the case of this book, it's more about journey than where we end up.
Something from the Nightside is a quick and dirty trip into urban fantasy at it's best. Also, due to it's age, it's fairly cheap so in my humble opinion it is definitely worth picking up.