What was better than Hot Shots? Why, Hot Shots Part Deux. Sometimes, a sequel or series of books can be horrible. And other times, you come to enjoy the characters. They become like old friends to you. You know their habits, their likes, their dislikes, and the little quirks that make them who they are. Such is the case with the second book of my 2011 “Off the Shelf” Challenge book, Hex and the City by Simon R. Green.
I started reading the Nightside series by Green in early 2010, after it was recommended to me by my best friend, Carolyne. They are in the science fiction genre, which would normally have steered me fast in the other direction, but I had been looking to expand beyond biography, history and general “literature”. I picked up the first book in the series, Something from the Nightside, and was hooked.
The protagonist, John Taylor, is a human with certain mystical capabilities that lives and works in the Nightside, the seedy, dark magical underbelly of London. All types of horrible creatures, monsters and the like live together, often in states of distress, in the Nightside, and Taylor works among them as a private investigator for anyone willing to pay. Taylor is a likeable character, a man whose alcoholic father drank himself into an early grave, who did not know his mother, other than that she was the cause of his father’s emotional distress upon learning of her “true nature” and a vendetta against everyone and everything that moves. While some may say the foregoing combination is a blueprint for a jackass character, there is just something about Taylor that is endearing and makes you want to keep reading.
Hex and the City, the fourth book in the series by Green, has us following Taylor as he is hired by Lady Luck, one of the ethereal beings in the Nightside, to find the true origins of the Nightside and who created it. Her payment? The long-awaited reveal of just who (and what) Taylor’s mother is, a secret he had been searching after nearly his entire life. From the very start, everyone who is anyone in the Nightside is trying to prevent Taylor from moving forward with his case. With the help of some truly dark powers, The Sinner, The Madman, and Pretty Poison, he continues to the end with his case, finds the origins and more importantly, learns just who, and what, his mother is.
The reveal of Taylor’s lineage left me wanting to know more, which is always the sign of a good cliffhanger and a beloved character. How will this new information affect Taylor’s life? Will he stay in the Nightside now that he knows the truth? Will he ally himself with his mother and her cause, or will he forge his own path? I have my guesses, which I am keeping to myself for now (don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who may go out and read the books), but I can say this….the fifth book in the Nightside series will be making its appearance on this “read” list in very short order!