Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Good Review

Just had another good review for Nightfall - this one on www.reviewingtheevidence.com

Here's what Sharon Wheeler said, bless her!

Now here's an interesting one… Stephen Leather, the writer of ultra-macho thrillers, has suddenly moved into the sort of territory Phil Rickman has made his own.

Leather is best known for his Dan Shepherd series, where our hero tends to have 45 minutes to save the universe, whilst facing down other he-men and brandishing guns a lot. The thrillers have always been reliable page-turners, but Leather has really upped his game with NIGHTFALL.

Jack Nightingale used to be a police negotiator. His career ended in confusion and controversy after a sex abuse case. Now he's a private investigator and not exactly over-burdened with work. That final case and the words "you're going to hell, Jack Nightingale" come back to haunt him when he inherits a mansion from a man who claims to be his father. There's a catch, though – apparently Jack's soul was sold at birth and a devil will cone to claim it on his 33rd birthday. And that's just three weeks away.

NIGHTFALL is a good, old-fashioned page-turner. I don't claim to be much of a fan of the horror genre, but I truly wanted to know how Leather was going to resolve this highly original mix of modern man meets woo-woo.

There's an air of understated menace all through. Leather has grasped that less is more with this sort of book, and the approach serves him well, particularly when those close to Jack start dying. The "you're going to hell" refrain is used judiciously enough to induce a shiver down the reader's spine, as is the everyday nature of most of the key scenes.

Jack's the kind of heavy-drinking, taciturn hero who could have been a cliché in the wrong hands. Leather, though, makes him a thoughtful sceptic and someone you'd want on your side in a tight corner. And he's surrounded by some other good 'uns in the form of best mate Robbie Hoyle and secretary Jenny.

Kudos to Leather for moving away from a strong series that he can seemingly write with his eyes closed, and producing something completely out of leftfield. The ending to NIGHTFALL is a wee bit disappointing as the one obvious loose end that is studiously ignored all through the book is ushered forward in a slightly clichéd scene and then left hanging for what presumably will be the sequel.

Not that I'm complaining too much, mind. I'm going to be reading that sequel.


Jan's John said...

At least this is closer to an actual review rather than the synopsis provided by the Lancashire Evening Post. I trust you are going to post any bad reviews, Steve?

Anonymous said...

At least this is an actual review rather than the synopsis provided by the Lancashire Evening Post. I trust you will highlight the unfavorable reviews should there be any, heaven forbid.

Jan's John.

Stephen Leather said...

OK, fair point....I will post bad reviews. There have been a few on Amazon.co.uk though thankfuly no bad ones (yet) in newspapers!

John Potter said...

Very interesting. I like Dan Shepherd a lot although my favourite character of yours is Hutch. With Twilight and Vampires aplenty in fiction these days there seems more of an audience for non-realistic story threads. Being a big fan of characters like Constantine, Nightfall sounds very interesting. Did you sell Nightfall to your existing publisher?

As a reviewer of almost a hundred books on Amazon I will make sure I give a full account of my thoughts when posting my review. Looking forward to reading Nightfall.