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4.1 out of 5 stars9
4.1 out of 5 stars
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I found the latest in the Nightside series to be something of a chore and the reason is an ironic one. In the previous books, I've been dying to have Green write more about his world and his ideas because I've been largely of the view that they needed to be expanded upon. In Hell To Pay however, I felt that because the story itself was too slight - essentially 'find the missing girl and collect reward' - there was too much padding whereby Green spends too much time focusing on the social structure and social dichotomy of the Nightside's upper echelons and lowest scum.

Like I said, this is a 'find the girl' story and whilst the jacket blurb hints that this will be more of a straightforward gum-shoe operation, it's disappointing that Green still shoehorns in Taylor's gift when he needs to move the plot along. To find Griffin's granddaughter Melissa, Taylor has to look into the family history - a mysterious one involving a deal with the devil - and into the relationship between the family members. There are some interesting scenes that come up along the way - I particularly liked the Arcadian Project, which gives Taylor the perfect vision of his parents and I also liked the characters of Bruin Bear and Seagoat, who brought some much welcomed humour to the plot. I also think that Green does a good job at characterising both the distinct characters of the Griffin family members and how they have each been damaged by the power and wealth that the Griffin's deal brought them.

Green touches on the power struggles within the Nightside and hints at a future story arc in that Walker seems to have found himself some new Authorities substitutes to support his exercise of control. I'd have liked to see more about how the Nightside is rebuilding itself after it's near destruction by Lilith, but perhaps this is something that will be developed further in the future books.

The denouement to the plot is a little ho-hum despite Green's best attempts at subverting a very old cliche. In particular, it was very difficult for me to care about Melissa's fate because she doesn't appear in the book and when other characters talk about her, it's only to say how little they knew her. As a result, I felt that the ending lacked emotional tension and in particular, robbed the final sacrifice of the poingnancy it needed. Saying that, Green does have some emotional core via Polly's character, one who I would have liked to see more of on the page.
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I've read them all, I survived the Lilith Wars, and I've followed the power vacuum left by the Authorities, but for my money this is one of John Taylor's best outings.

Because his "Sight" has been shut down Taylor has to actually find and interview the parties who hold keys to the puzzle of the missing heiress. He has to actually be a detective and has to talk to people for purposes other than threatening to disembowel them. It was refreshing and entertaining to remember than John Taylor is a clever and resourceful gumshoe, and not just Lilith's son in some multi-book story arc. And Taylor's a good detective.

It was also nice to get a break from Suzie Shooter and some of the other regulars. That said, there are several new characters who are fully imagined and very welcome. This almost feels like a post-Lilith war reboot, and that was fine by me.

For what it's worth there is a cocktail party held by the Griffin about 80% into the book. The party is intended to flush out the bad guys and so all of the suspects and all of the most colorful denizens of the Nightside are in attendance. Green doesn't rush through the party, but lets us wander around with Taylor as he interacts with the usual characters, the characters featured in this story, and some special guest characters. It really is like attending the funkiest cocktail party ever and it just goes on and on while we enjoy it. It's mostly red herrings, but some of the individual exchanges are priceless and its worth the whole book right there.

So, if you thought the Nightside was getting a little tired, or predictable, or too much into kitchen sink drama and lovelorn John Taylor, this is a very satisfying and worthy return to form. Very entertaining and still top drawer Green.
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Seventh in simon r green's nightside series. These involve John Taylor, a private detective with psychic powers, who lives and works in the nightside. This is a part of london off the beaten tracks, a horror/fantasy world full of strange creatures and individuals.

The last three books in the series all formed part of an ongoing storyline, but that finished in book six and this one pretty much stands alone, so would be easily accessible to new readers. John is hired by the griffin, an immortal man who wants to take control of the nightside, to find his niece, who has gone missing. He proceeds to investigate the situation, and tours the nightside dealing with strange places and people on the way, and finding a few more things than he bargained for about his client in the process.

A short book of no more than 270 pages, told in the first person, with very readable prose. If you like a good bit of readable fantasy that's not a tolkein clone, then this will appeal. It's a little disappointing that one regular character is off stage till the last chapter, but that probably suits the needs of the story fine. Another entertaining entry in an entertaining series
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 November 2013
Unfortunately it seems that Simon R Green is struggling to find a good middle ground in both this book and the one before it. Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth had so much action and information that it was overwhelming and a headache to follow. This novel was on the complete other end of the scale and there was so little going on that for the most part I found the novel to be incredibly boring.

in this novel John Taylor is hired for an exorbitant amount of money to find the kidnapped granddaughter and heir of the immortal CEO of the nightside's biggest business. What followed was basically a tour through the nightside's more seedy activities which only really served to highlight what I presume to be the author's own sexual fetishes. From cross dressing transexuals through to submissive male slaves in bondage clubs, this book had very little to do with adding depth to the world the novel is set in and just tried to beat the reader over the head with the idea that yes, the nightside is a place of debauchery and sin.

This novel returned to the standard detective procedural this series falls back on when they aren't dealing with any of the bigger issues. Once again John is unable to use his gift (when can he ever use it for his work?) and has to chase up his leads in the old fashioned way even though (more or less in his own words) he wouldn't recognise a lead if someone beat him over the head with it.

This story really lacked substance and was a huge come down after the world changing events of the novel before. It seems that in spite of the authorities being dead, half of the gods of the nightside having been removed and a great deal of destruction and change in the last novel, this novel has just returned to the status quo. Most people are just going on with their lives as though nothing has happened. Everyone is back to doubting John's reputation in spite of everything he did in the 'Lillith war' and we return to the standards in pretty much everything.

Overall this novel was really disappointing. This late into the series I had expected the story to have settled down into a steady rhythm and be running smoothly. But instead the characters are still all over the place, inconsistencies run wild and the story just doesn't seem to have any kind of logical progression.

Once again this novel avoids a one star review simply because of the potential for this series. All the elements are there for something great, the author just needs to pull them together. Unfortunately these books cant survive on that forever and at this point the only reason why I am still reading them is because I've reached the half way point in what I know to be a twelve book series and I want to see how it ends.
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VINE VOICEon 5 August 2007
Pre-ordered as soon as it was announced and read it in January.

Well I finished and now I have to wait until January for book 8, but hey at least there's going to be a book 8 to wait for, so that makes me happy.

I really enjoyed this trip to the nightside. John spends most of the book without his sidekicks though Dead Boy makes a small but welcome appearance. (I like Dead Boy)

John is on a typical PI case - find the missing girl - except in the Nightside nothing is typical. For one thing, she's immortal! John takes us on a journey interviewing relatives, wise-cracking, meeting the weird and wonderful Nightsiders, taking care of business, and generally putting the wind up anyone who gets in his way.

I thought the cover was a little misleading as that kinda looked a bit like Lilith and I wondered if she had returned. The books still have that hard-boiled, noir detective feel, with a supernatural twist. John is doing his thing even after the Lilith War, some of the Nightsiders are rebuilding. Walker makes an appearance also, and still seems to be in charge and powerful. Some hints perhaps that he will feature in the next book and we might find out exactly who is behind him now that the authorities are dead and gone.

We are currently on book one of this series with our Book Group and will be continuing all the way through because it is such a hugely entertaining series. I don't want to give anything else away from this book and spoil it for anyone, but put it on your TBR lists!
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on 12 April 2013
Love this series of book, great storytelling!! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes something different from the run of the mill fantasy!
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on 25 July 2015
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 March 2007
In the wake of the war that left the Nightside leaderless, Jeremiah Griffin-one of the last of the immortal human families-plans to fill the power vacuum. But his granddaughter has disappeared, and he wants John Taylor to use his special abilities to find her. Except someone-or something-is blocking Taylor's abilities.
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on 31 December 2006
I'm a fantasy fiend and these books are among the best I have ever read. A dash of Fables, a tang of Gaiman and yet more even than those. [Evan though Gaiman is an earthbound god.] Lovely characters and a superb world for them to play in. In one paragraph he touches upon what other writers would use for an entire book but you don't feel cheated! Powerful dynamic stories that flit along with resonances. I have a powerful soft spot for the struggling hero and John Taylor more than hits the spot. If you have enjoyed Bill Wilingham or Neil Gaiman I think you will enjoy this series.
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