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Tales from the Nightside

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tales from the Nightside (2015) Simon R. Green

Tales-from-the-NightsideThe Nightside. “Where all your dreams can come true, especially the really bad ones.

This is a collection of Nightside stories, many of which I have read before, and a previously unpublished novella.

If you’re a Nightside fan, then you’ll want this. If you’re not sure if the Nightside is for you, read the first few stories and you’ll probably know if you’ll like it or not.

Here’s what you get, with original publication year.

“The Nightside, Needless to Say” (2004)
“Razor Eddie’s Big Night Out” (2006)
“Lucy, at Christmastime” (2008)
“Appetite for Murder” (2008)
“The Difference a Day Makes” (2009)
“Some of These Cons Go Way Back” (2009)
“The Spirit of the Thing” (2011)
“Hungry Heart” (2011)
“How Do You Feel?” (2012)
“The Big Game” (2015)

“The Nightside, Needless to Say” is the first Nightside story, and it introduces us to the Nightside through Larry Oblivion. This was my introduction to the Nightside, and why I started reading the series.

We found the big man sitting behind a desk in a surprisingly modest inner office. He was playing solitaire with tarot cards, and cheating.

Yes, Larry Oblivion is dead, but he’s not quite a zombie. And being a good detective, he is going to find out who killed him, and why.

“Razor Eddie’s Big Night Out” is one I hadn’t actually read before. Razor Eddie may actually be my least favorite Nightside character, so I was kinda glad this was a shorter story.

Didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy parts.

We passed by the Egyptian cat goddess Bast, now reduced to singing “Memory” out on the Street, for the tourists.

“Lucy, at Christmastime” is another story I hadn’t previously read, and is actually somewhat different from the usual Nightside stories.

“Appetite for Murder” is another story I’d previously read, but still very much enjoyed re-reading. Sam Warren was the first Detective in Nightside, working for the Authorities, and getting called into cases that are more than the obvious. We also spend time with Ms Fate, who gets name-checked in other stories, but this is her only really big appearance.

“The Difference a Day Makes” is the first John Taylor story, and we also get to spend time with Dead Boy, who I quite like.

“Right!” said Dead Boy, brightening immediately. He kicked the door wide open and stalked forward into the impenetrable darkness beyond. His voice drifted back to us: “Come on! Give me your best shot, you bastards! I can take it!”
Liza looked at me. “Is he always like this?”
“Pretty much,” I said. “This is why most people won’t work with him. Personally, I’ve always found him very useful for hiding behind when the bullets start flying.”

“Some of These Cons Go Way Back” is a story about Harry Fabulous, and this story is almost a little too dark for me. But it’s still good.

“The Spirit of the Thing” is another John Taylor story, where he helps a ghost.

“Hungry Heart” is another John Taylor story where we learn that clients always get what they ask for–and often that’s precisely what they deserve.

I sighed. It was hard to stay mad at her. Though probably worth the effort.

“How Do You Feel?” is a pure Dead Boy story, and one of my favorites. Dead Boy gets to discover who ordered him killed, and perhaps even why.

“I helped make you who you are!” he said desperately. “I helped make you Dead Boy!”
“Let me see,” I said. “How do I feel about that?” I closed my hand abruptly, and all the bones in his shoulder shattered.

We also finally learn about Dead Boy’s car.

Who is awesome.

“The Big Game” is the new novella. It pretty much brings all John Taylor’s friends together for a finally smash-bang story.

There are lots of hints dropped about events in previous books…”human. My mother turned out to be a Biblical Myth; from that part of the Old Testament where God gets really angry,” so you probably don’t want to read this unless you’ve enjoyed the earlier books.

This story seems to pull in all the bits that it seems like Simon Green wanted to use previously but never got around to. So there is plenty to giggle at here.

The End of the World Club, for those convinced the world really is coming to an end, anytime now, and are determined to do something practical about it. I subscribe to their monthly newsletter. Just in case.

Though nothing beats my favorite line from Paths Not Taken:

Next door to the brothel was a dark and spooky little shop selling reliquaries–the bones of saints, fragments of the True Cross, and the like. Special offer that week was apparently the skull of John the Baptist. Next to it was a smaller skull, labelled JOHN THE BAPTIST AS A CHILD.

If you’re already a fan of the Nightside, then you’ve probably already read this, unless you didn’t know about it, in which case, you should run RIGHT NOW and get it. If you haven’t read the Nightside, the first half should be a good introduction to whether you’ll like it or not, but save the second half until you’ve read at least most of the John Taylor books.
Rating: 9.5/10

Published by Ace




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