Author: Simon R. Green
Blurb: John Taylor is the name. I work the Nightside. Only in that dark heart of London where it’s always three A.M., where human and inhuman can feed their darkest desires, do I feel at home. Probably because I was born there.
What I do is find things—people, objects—and in this case, the truth about the origins of the Nightside.
That’s what Lady Luck has hired me to investigate. But the more I dig, the more I discover, not about the Nightside but about the great question in my life: exactly who—and what—was my long-vanished mother.
Paying jobs are one thing. Personal quests are another. And I’ve been warned that uncovering the facts about dear old mum could be a very bad thing, not just for the Nightside but for all of existence.
Still I can’t stop…I’m John Taylor. Finding things is who I am. It’s what I do. Whatever the consequences…
At this point in the series, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from these books, quality wise. The writing is so-so, with some wonky paragraph construction and a sprinkling of infodumps. The plots are decent, with a number of good twists and plenty of action. The characters are interesting and the new arrivals receive a decent amount of characterization, even if the returning characters don’t change much. In short, the books are “okay.”
This book represents a bit of a divergence from the first three, however, in that it plays out the first act of a three-book plot arc. Up until now, the books have all had entirely separate storylines, with the occasional hint that something greater was in the works behind the scenes. This picks up with those hints and fleshes them out into a fairly meaty storyline revolving around our protagonist, John, and his long-lost mother, whose identity he does not know.
While I found this book interesting, for the most part, I did find it a tad repetitive in the plot department, as John went from place to place and spoke to person after person, asking pretty much the same questions to all of them and receiving overly similar answers. Consequently, some parts of the book felt like they were padding the run time in order to give this book the right length so that the next book could start in the right place for the exciting second act of the overarching plot.
In short, I felt like this book was missing part of the series’ general charm—the stand-alone mystery element that gets resolved at the end—but because I could feel that it was setting up something exciting for the next couple books, I wasn’t too let down by it. I consider this book yet another middling story. Good, but not great.