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Something from the Nightside

by Simon R Green

(Ace Books, 2003. Canada $ 9.99 / U.S. $6.50 paperback, 230 pages. ISBN: 0-441-01065-2.)

Four stars.

Take a hard-boiled detective novel and a cover scanvery dark urban fantasy novel, and bang their heads together, really hard. This book is what you get.

John Taylor grew up in an eerie dimension full of things that go bump in the night. Tired of the constant struggle for survival there, he emigrated to the ordinary world, where he has since struggled to make an ordinary living as a detective. His talent for finding lost things keeps him just this side of eviction. But when a new client walks into his office with a missing-person case he can't resist, John finds himself headed back where he swore he'd never return: the Nightside.

This book stands out from the usual slew of urban fantasy by virtue of grit and originality. The humor ranges from dry to downright morbid, but always hits the mark. The characters are fascinating, from John with his uncanny knack for finding what doesn't want to be found, to supporting cast like Razor Eddie and the Collector. Love 'em or hate 'em, they will absolutely stick in your mind. So will the Nightside itself, a bleak but compelling world of its own that draws from the seamier parts of our own. A bar that's sometimes there and sometimes not, Timeslips that can drop you into the present or the past, a house that eats people, that sort of thing.

Something from the Nightside holds the greatest appeal for fans of urban fantasy and dark fantasy, but is well worth a look if you enjoy detective stories. It's just the thing for reminding you that your own life could suck a whole lot more than it does. Though it stands well by itself, there are hints of unresolved questions that could easily lead to a series -- and I'd love to see where they go. Highly recommended.

Review by Elizabeth Barrette.

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