In Something From the Nightside, Simon R. Green takes us on the initial exploration of a fascinating hidden world located far below the civilized streets of London. In the Nightside, it is always 3 AM; people (and other things) come from all kinds of worlds (including fictional ones) and times to indulge in the secret and oftentimes perverse pleasures they can never pursue in their own worlds; and anything and everything is possible - the sight of a fallen angel burning eternally in a blood-sealed circle qualifies as a mundane sight. Native Nightsiders all possess a gift of some sort - oftentimes a deadly one. It's a dangerous place, which is exactly why John Taylor left it five years ago. Now ensconced in the real world of London, he is a private detective of the film noir sort. When a rich dame comes seeking his help in finding her lost daughter, though, he finds himself returning to the secret world he vowed never to set foot in again. John Taylor's natural-born gift is an uncanny power to find things, especially within the confines of the Nightside. If anyone can find the missing girl, he can - whether he can survive long enough to do it, is a completely different matter.
Despite his misgivings, the journey back feels like going home. Little has changed in the Nightside. At Sidefellows bar, Alex Morrisey is still tending the bar (but of course, he is cursed to always remain there); Razor Eddie, Punk God of the Straight Razor and Nightside's most proficient eternal killer, is still coming in for free drinks; Suzie Shooter is still around to shoot first and ask questions later; and young punks still have no better sense than to challenge John Taylor's powers. Taylor's gift can be deadly, and he is soon given the opportunity to prove that five years away have not lessened his powers. The secret of Taylor's childhood and mysterious destiny are fleshed out as the story progresses, but the one thing Taylor has been unable to find is the meaning and significance obviously attached to his life - although he's pretty sure it has something to do with his non-human mother who disappeared after he was born. Some unknown but very powerful someone (or something) has been trying to kill him ever since he was a kid, and the blank-faced, pseudo-beings called The Harrowing soon appear to claim their long-stalked prey. They are just one of several deadly problems Taylor encounters on his mission to find the missing young girl.
The actual climax of the story is a little less satisfying than what comes before, but that's about the only small weakness in this action-packed, fast-paced novel. Green proves himself a master of sly, dark humor in these pages, mixing a sharp wit with sociopolitical satire and plenty of campy hard-boiled detective adventure to create a portal to a wondrously enigmatic world where anything can happen and usually does. While the search for the missing girl remains the center of the novel, the story really shifts to that of the mysterious John Taylor himself, as we learn about his past and - thanks to a Timeslip phenomenon - a cataclysmic future he will supposedly bring about. Messiah-like references to him by the likes of the Brittle Sisters of the Hive raise intriguing questions, questions John Taylor wishes he knew the answers to himself.
The prolific Simon R. Green has created other worlds of great fascination in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, but the Nightside may be his most memorable creation, as it truly takes on a unique life of its own. Something From the Nightside leaves many a door open for Green to continue his dark and highly entertaining jaunts into this fascinating world, and the intriguingly complex life of John Taylor is guaranteed to bring delighted readers along for the ride as long as it lasts - especially if it takes us to more places where plague rats travel in pairs because they are afraid to venture out alone.