Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Books 17 & 18 of 2015: Nightmare & Nightshade by Stephen Leather

This week both of the books I'm reviewing are by Stephen Leather. A colleague is a fan of the Jack Nightingale series and spent the early part of last year sharing these books with most of the team. After I got through the first couple pretty quickly, he leant me the rest to read.

Warning: Here be spoilers both for these books and for the series.

The third book in the series is Nightmare and it sees Jack Nightingale receiving messages from the beyond about the little girl, Sophie, whose death led to his departure from the police force and saw him starting work as a private investigator. Even though she's dead, she's not at peace and Jack's going to do whatever he can to put things right.

I originally wrote this review last year shortly after finishing the book:

When this one started I wasn't too sure about it and it took me a while to get into it. I was expecting to see something of Jack's sister but there was no sign of her and instead all the focus seemed to be on things with Marcus Fairchild. Once I did get into it, around the halfway mark, I finished it really quickly.

I'm quite pleased that Jack and Jenny finally hooked up. I've been waiting for that one to happen since the beginning of the series, though as this book progressed I couldn't help but wonder if there was some sinister reason for Jenny taking the job as Jack's assistant. I'm glad that she wasn't aware of what Fairchild was using her for, it would have been so disappointing if she was operating under her own volition.

It's really clever how everything got sort of wrapped up at the end. When it looked like Jack was going to sacrifice himself to save Sophie, I couldn't help but wonder how Leather had gone on to write two more books in the series. I like that everything sort of reset itself back to how it was right at the very beginning of the first book.

It's made me curious for how the rest of the series will progress now, whether the devils will continue to crop up and what will happen regarding Gosling Manor, because we've basically gone back in time two years, so will events just repeat themselves in the future? I'm looking forward to finding out.

With that in mind, I moved straight on to the fourth book in the series, Nightshade. Again, this is my review from last year, shortly after I finished it:

Normally I don't go straight on to the next book in a series because I like to alternate with other books to save myself from getting bored with what I'm reading. But as someone at work lent me the final three books in the Jack Nightingale series I wanted to get through them as quickly as possible, especially as other people are also working through them as well.

I think that this one has been one of the quickest reads in the series yet. I've taken to reading in my breaks at work, along with in bed during the morning and at night. I wouldn't have thought that the odd five or ten minutes of extra reading I'm getting in at work would make much difference, but I seem to be getting through things quicker, so perhaps it does.

This storyline was a lot more uncomfortable than the previous books in the series. This one focused mainly on child abuse, which made for difficult reading in places. There was also the fact that Bella was an abducted child who played a very big role in the story as well. I'm wondering what the repercussions of Jack killing her will be

I felt a little like the bit with Proserpine was tacked on. I liked the direction the story was going without the devils cropping up. I could have gotten by without seeing her in this story because I don't think that she added a huge amount to the story, especially as Jack basically called her up to get something done, then couldn't do it anyway, then things got taken care of.

I'm a bit sketchy on where the events of this book fall in relation to the previous books. I'm curious about whether we'll visit Gosling Manor again in the future and if we might see Jack's biological father again, as well as what the repercussions of events in this book will be and what will happen with Mrs Steadman.

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