John Taylor the private detective (of sorts) has a knack for finding lost things. When a woman’s daughter goes missing, she finally comes to him as no one will even talk to her about the place she’s reportedly gone: the Nightside. In the centre of London, it’s constant darkness where anything lives and anything goes, beyond wild imagination.
In a world filled with otherworldly creatures, Taylor is by all accounts normal, if you excuse his gift. He’s the typical Private Investigator, downtrodden and waiting for a case, and luckily, the glitzy, rich woman comes along. It has the undertones of the classics, but with a fantasy element and paranormal twist.
His gift becomes a little monotonous as he explains that he used it, and there’s a moment of laziness from the author to suddenly unveil extensions of his talents when it suits with no explanation. More so, the Nightside is so often referred to it’s almost embarrassing; even those who do the Family Guy “He said it!” would be rolling their eyes a few chapters in. By a few dozen times you picture Taylor turning towards the fourth wall, lowering his voice as it echoes the pair of words before cackling maniacally as bats fly and flutter out of nowhere. It’s a weird place, and the emphasis on the name becomes a bit of a sore thumb.
The bumps are obvious: feelings are announced when there’s been pretty much no sense of development across the whole book, the random coincidences in power feel a little too forced. The repetitive nature of certain phrases is noticeable.
But it is… okay. It has its expected moments, and it has some curveballs. The apocalypse is hinted at in a timeslip, and the promise of the domino effect of events that create that is lure enough to continue with the series. It has its moments of classic PI, it has its moments of something a little more. It’s to be seen which way it goes, though.