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Nightfall: Nightingale #1    by Stephen Leather order for
by Stephen Leather
Order:  USA  Can
47North, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Crack negotiator Jack Nightingale is called in to avert another crisis - an eleven year old girl is threatening to leap off a high rise balcony. Jack is confident that he'll be able to talk her down - over the years he's learned that jumpers are generally just looking for someone to listen to their troubles. Sophie Underwood reveals her darkest secret - and seconds later she jumps anyway. Horrified, then furious, Jack confronts Sophie's father - and never quite remembers throwing Simon Underwood from his high rise office window.

Two years later, Jack's a struggling private investigator, working mostly infidelity or divorce cases and hoping the economy will pick up soon - his bank account isn't looking too healthy at the moment. When a solicitor informs Jack that he's inherited a mansion he couldn't be happier - until he discovers information about himself and his past that's hard to swallow.

His soul had been sold at birth and the devil is scheduled to collect on Jack's 33rd birthday, which is only a couple of weeks away. He thinks this whole thing is bollocks, a sick joke or ridiculous scheme, but when friends, as well as witnesses, start dropping like flies, Jack begins to wonder if true evil might really be afoot.

Nightfall is heavy on police/investigative procedural and light on actual horror. The hook is interesting enough, but as Jack's hunt to discover the truth progresses I found the story filled with a few two many redundancies and ho-hum horror cliches. Jack's character is also rather two dimensional. The somewhat abrupt ending leaves readers hanging, an obvious lead-in for the sequel, which features Jack's hunt for his sister, whose soul is also fortuitously destined for hell.

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