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Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth

by Simon R Green

(Ace, 2006. U.S. $6.99 paperback, 247 pages. ISBN: 0441013872.)

Review by Elizabeth Barrette

cover scanThe Nightside is a city-within-a-city, a dark alternate dimension of London. Here lives John Taylor, P.I., one of the most dangerous men in the Nightside. He can find anything, thanks to his unique magical gift. But now, after a long quest and a disheartening trip to the past, John has discovered the identity of his mother -- Lilith, Adam's first wife -- and he's having a hard time finding out what to do about that.

Enter Walker, mouthpiece for the Authorities who run the Nightside. Walker has unwisely kidnapped John's secretary Cathy as leverage, wanting John to turn himself in peacefully (something about John having killed a large number of Walker's men ... ) rather than with a fight. So John and Shotgun Suzie head off to the Necropolis to rescue Cathy. Meanwhile, Lilith appears on the Street of the Gods, destroys most of it and its inhabitants, and binds the rest to her worship -- mortal and divine beings alike. Can John Taylor find a way to save the Nightside before his mother Lilith destroys it?

Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth is an excellent blend of dime store detective and dark fantasy. It's an intense culmination of a gripping series; if you haven't read the earlier books, go back and start there before approaching this one. Highly recommended.

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