Nightfall: A bloody mystery thriller

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsNightfall by Stephen LeatherNightfall by Stephen Leather

Jack Nightingale was a cop, a negotiator to be specific. He becomes a private investigator after a series of strange and tragic events. Things get really weird for Jack when he finds out the parents he lost as a teenager had actually adopted him, and his real father has left him a huge mansion in the countryside. I should also mention that his biological father was an evil bastard who sold Jack’s soul to a demon, and only a few days remain till said demon comes to collect. Jack the level-headed investigator doesn’t buy into any of it, until his loved ones start having “accidents.” He tries to find out who is doing the killing while trying to unravel the mystery of his family’s past.

Nightfall is a bloody mystery thriller with fantasy elements mixed in. It had its scary moments, but didn’t keep me up at night. I found much of the story to be very sad, actually. The things Jack has to deal with in this story will break your heart. You can feel him suppressing his reactions to the events as they happen. That’s where the book lost me a bit; Jack handles all of this a little too well. I know he is a hard bitten ex-cop, but there are times he seems psychopathic in his emotional detachment.

The writing itself is top-notch. Nightfall is precisely plotted, with tension, action, and humor in all the right places. The characters are engaging and the action is intense. I found the mystery elements of the story to be its strongest parts, which comes as no surprise, since mystery thrillers are Leather’s bread and butter. This book would be a great gateway into fantasy for someone who’s into mystery or crime novels.

I listened to Nightfall on CD from Brilliance Audio, narrated by Ralph Lister. Mr. Lister did an excellent job with the gritty crime noir feel the novel exudes. I would highly recommend this version to readers. Amazon is currently selling the audiobook version for $10. At that price, this is a no-brainer.

Nightingale — (2010- ) Publisher: “You’re going to hell, Jack Nightingale.” These are the words that ended Jack Nightingale’s career as a police negotiator. Now a struggling private detective, the chilling words return with a vengeance when Jack inherits a mansion with a priceless library—and a terrifying warning from a man who claims to be his father. Nightingale quickly learns his soul was sold at birth and a devil will come to claim it on his thirty-third birthday, which is just three short weeks away. It’s a hard pill to swallow. He doesn’t believe in Hell and probably doesn’t believe in Heaven either. But when people close to him start to die horribly, he is led to the inescapable conclusion that real evil may be at work. And if he doesn’t find a way out, he’ll be damned for eternity. Dripping with brooding intensity, unrelenting suspense, and surprising wit, United Kingdom thriller master Stephen Leather’s first book in the Nightingale series is a riveting, heart-stopping mystery with extraordinary range and power.

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JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff since September 2009) is a Cyber-Security Analyst/Network Engineer located in Northern Kentucky. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on authors like Tolkien, Anthony, and Lewis. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. When he is not reading books he is likely playing board games or Tabletop RPGs. Justin lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, their daughter, and Norman the dog.

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One comment

  1. Sounds a little bit the the John Connolly books. Thanks for the intriguing review!

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