Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
edgy and dark, but very entertaining
on 23 April 2013
The fourth book in the Jack Nightingale series. I have to say I thought the series might be wrapped up with the way the first three finished, but was delighted to see a new book and intrigued to see how Stephen Leather was going to take things forward.
It does help if you have read the books in order (and why wouldn't you - they are good!) but this can be read in isolation. Having said that, I think you will get more from it if you know where the character has been and how he got to where he is.
Anyway there are two main storylines in this story, neither of them overly comfortable. A farmer kills a number of school kids (and himself) and an abducted and abused child is rescued just in time. Possibly. Ex-cop Nightingale investigates the background to the incident with the farmer and finds that it does not all add up and can't figure out why. Eventually he also gets involved in the other storyline and finds himself having to do something utterly unthinkable...
So, while we accept that Jack Nightingale understands the occult, he is no superstar, makes mistakes and lacks confidence in his personal life. He likes a fag and a beer or two and peace and quiet. He kind of knows that he could make a move on his assistant but can't quite bring himself to do it. He basically wants a quiet life with nobody bothering him but can't resist getting stuck into things when they present themselves. It's this conflict between a normal guy in (para)normal circumstances that makes these books so interesting. And it stays on the right side of horror/dark fantasy without going over the top as I often felt that the late James Herbert failed to do.
So, good characterisation, edgy plot and quite a few twists and turns. We expect a lot from Stephen Leather and he has delivered once again.