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.

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JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff September 2009 – September 2012) Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on Tolkien. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. Justin lives in a small home near the river with his wife, their baby daughter, and Norman, a mildly smelly dog. He doesn't have much time for reviewing anymore, but he still shows up here occasionally to let us know how he feels about stuff.

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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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