Simon R. Green (writer) and Marc Vietor (narrator),
Something from The Nightside (Audio version) (Audible, 2008)

Private eyes come in all shapes and sizes, and none of them look like television stars. Some do insurance work, some hang around cheap hotels with camcorders hoping to get evidence for divorce cases, and damn few ever get to investigate complicated murder mysteries. Some chase things that don't exist, or shouldn't. Me, I find things. Sometimes I'd rather not find them, but that comes with the territory. -- first words of Something from The Nightside

And now it all begins...

For reasons too odd to detail here without seeming rather strange, I started listening to the audiobook versions of this series with the sixth tale, which was the first of three tales that dealt with who Taylor's mother really was and why he is who he is. (No, I won’t say more as it'd spoil your listening pleasure when you get that far into the series!) So after experiencing the last six audiobooks to date in the series, I went back to listen to Something from The Nightside, where the tale begins (or began, depending on how screwed up your sense of causality is if you started, like me, later in the series). It has been long enough since I read that novel that I really didn't remember all much about it.

John has been living in London for five years when Joanna Barrett, a rich, uptight, and somewhat bitchy business woman, visits him in his really seedy office/bed-sit and asks him to find her missing teen-age daughter Cathy. She has one clue, Nightside. But John left the Nightside, swearing never to go back. However, he’s a sucker for someone in need and agrees to find Cathy for what is a really nice per diem for him. The one condition Joanna has is that she gets to go along. (Both hiring John and the clue came from the same source according to Joanna. Pay attention to that as it is very important.) Nightside, like London Below in Gaiman's Neverwhere, is a secret world that most Londoners never encounter, and like London Below, is a place that is not really a place any sane Londoner would like to go. The feel of Nightside, not surprisingly, also bears more than a passing resemblance to the universe depicted in the Hellblazer graphic novel series as well.

The Nightside is, at least as John tells his client in an early riff, a square mile in the middle of London, except that it’s much bigger than that and expands as need to be, and it’s always three in the morning with a really over-sized moon in the sky. All kinds of beings live there -- demons, myths, monsters, dreams and nightmares, fallen angels and risen demons, and a few apparently normal people just passing through this urban nightmare. Nightside’s where you go to find the things that can only thrive in perpetual night, but it is not a place you go unless you have truly odd tastes and a strong stomach. And consider that John was born and raised here!

(His gift, the ability to find anything, works only in The Nightside. This would suggest Taylor and The Nightside are linked in ways that even the author doesn't reveal here.)

Ok, I will say it again in reviewing later audiobooks in this series*, but it's worth repeating here -- all of the Nightside audiobooks have terrific production (Steve Feldberg), great music appropriately used (Michael Whelan, and no, he's not the artist by that name), and superb narration (Marc Vieto on all of them, of course). And keep in mind that I never, ever liked listening to audiobooks before hearing METAtropolis last winter. In this first outing, Marc does a terrific job of portraying the hesitation, the uncertainty Taylor has at returning to The Nightside after (literally) hiding in London proper. All in all, I'm sure, without giving away any details of this terrific fantasy noir novel, that you'll Something from the Nightside is a superb listen -- as you can hear here.

Keep in mind that it is a horror novel or, possibly, really dark fantasy. It's definitely adult in nature, and rightly so. I think Something from The Nightside will hook you rather quickly on the rest of nine works to date Green has written and Audible has made all of them into audiobooks! BLISS!

*I did say causality took a beating in reviewing this series. Oh, and time travel in this series is used often and with great effect, including in this outing.

[Cat Eldridge]