John Taylor has a special talent for finding things. Joanna Barrett needs him to find her wayward daughter. The problem is, Cathy has wandered into the Nightside–a seedy, hidden neighborhood in London where it’s always 3 am and nothing is what it seems. Dark magic lives in the Nightside and one has to be sharp to avoid all the various monstrous threats that live there. John Taylor was born there and has a reputation as heavy-hitter. But it’s been five years since Taylor left the Nightside, vowing never to return. Nevertheless, he and Joanna embark on a quest to find her daughter…and whoever has lured her into the Nightside in the first place.
One part The Maltese Falcon combines with a healthy dollop of Tales from the Darkside to form a short but entertaining horror-noir novel. Green’s prose is sparse but evocative and he has created a fascinating darkened corner of London populated with deliciously pulpy side characters such as Razor Eddie and Shotgun Suzie. The horror is ratchets up from the macabre to the truly horrifying and strange as Joanna and Taylor complete their journey discover the secret behind Cathy’s abduction. The final confrontation begins to strain credulity a little bit, but by this point you’re firmly along for this short, but decidedly strange, trip.
Green does display a tic in his prose in that the phrase “in the Nightside” gets thrown around a lot by Taylor–almost too much. After a while, you expect to hear Vincent Price-style laughter after each utterance (“Nothing is what it seems, in the Nightside…bwa-ha-ha-ha!”). Nevertheless, the novel is a fun ride and an interesting take on the urban paranormal detective.