Book review: Nightfall

Stephen LeatherThe first page was really intriguing and locked me into the character of Jack Nightingale, a police negotiator turned private detective. He is a troubled man, troubled by what he has seen through the course of his job though nowadays he earns his living from following unfaithful spouses. Nightfall by Stephen Leather is the first of the Jack Nightingale series, described as a ‘supernatural thriller’.

This is a different kind of detective story, which begins when Jack is told he has inherited a mansion from a man who claimed to be Jack’s natural father. That’s not all, his ‘father’ leaves a warning: at Jack’s birth his soul was sold to the devil and a devil will come to claim it on his thirty-third birthday. That’s only three weeks away. So Jack is in a race against time to find out the truth. Was he really adopted? Who is Ainsley Gosling? What is going on? Is he suffering from stress? Hearing things? Imagining things? Is he going to lose his soul? Or is it one big con? When people around him start to die, Jack begins to lose his sense of perspective. ‘You are going to hell, Jack Nightingale’ are the last words he heard at the end of his career as a police negotiator but now he hears those words again, said to him by strangers.

A page-turning thriller with a fresh angle on the crime novel. Not what I was expecting at all, if I’d been offered the chance to read a ‘supernatural thriller’ I would have said ‘no thanks’. But I enjoyed this. Why? Stephen Leather knows how to keep the story moving, he really works the trick of finishing a chapter in a way which makes you read the next even though it is midnight. And I like the main character, Jack Nightingale. For once he is not a tortured depressed detective with relationship issues, and that made this book a refreshing read. The supernatural detective thing is very different, the most similar crime book I’ve read is The Silent Twin by Caroline Mitchell where the detective is sensitive to the spiritual vibes of recent murder victims.

Read more about Stephen Leather’s books here.

If you like ‘Nightfall’, try these other crime novels:-
‘Jellyfish’ by Lev D Lewis
‘Wilderness’ by Campbell Hart
‘Snow White Must Die’ by Nele Neuhaus

‘Nightfall’ by Stephen Leather [UK: Hodder & Stoughton]

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