Simon R. Green,
Something from the Nightside
(Ace, 2003)

John Taylor is a London detective who specializes in finding lost things. He's barely getting by, but to Taylor, just about anything is preferable to the Nightside, where he grew up, a city within the city where nightmares are real and it's always about 3 in the morning. That's where he got his gift for finding lost things, his "private eye," and that's the place to where he swore he'd never return.

Never, that is, until Joanna Barrett walks in and asks him to find her teenage daughter Cathy, who has disappeared into the Nightside. Reluctantly, Taylor agrees to help her, and the two of them set on an odyssey into a world where madness is the norm. As Taylor tracks Cathy from clue to clue, he finds that this case is far more than what it seems, and moreover, he, not his client and her daughter, appears to be at its center.

Green's taut plot, understated humor and noir style mesh well with the fantastic elements. Taylor is ambivalent about returning to the Nightside, but he also slips back into the patterns of the Nightside, and the reader itches to learn more. Green doesn't tie everything up in a neat package at the end, leaving the way open for a sequel, so perhaps that itch can be satisfied. (At this writing, a second John Taylor book, Agents of Light & Darkness has been released.)

Something from the Nightside demonstrates yet another facet of Green's versatility as a writer. Not only will it delight established readers, but it will surely win him new ones.

- Rambles
written by Donna Scanlon
published 13 December 2003

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