Spooky Reads

Jack Nightingale’s paranormally-soaked adventures subsequent to his debut in Nightfall have been charted already here on Spooky Reads. In both Midnight and Nightmare, the sequels (in order) to Nightfall, the supernaturally-inclined sleuth pounds the streets of London (and other climes) in order to resolve a variety of horrific conundrums. In all books he makes an unwittingly unique and powerful impact on the world in which he inhabits via the manner of an investigative technique that results in a trail of death and destruction.

In this book Nightingale’s back story is set out, and foundations laid for the demonic chaos which is to become all readily intertwined with his future existence. We learn of Jack’s initial position as a CO19 negotiator with the Metropolitan Police, a career dashed in a fit of rage as the suicide of a young child leads him to killing the child’s father, who, it transpires, was responsible for years of abuse of said child.

Exeunt the police force and with two years passed, Nightingale finds himself with night terrors, haunted still by the events the led to his departure from the force. But there’s something else; Jack Nightingale is going to hell. By way, curiously, of a Surrey-based solicitor.

A call out of the blue has Nightingale summoned to a small law office where he’s informed that his biological father (of whom he had no knowledge) has died, and though there’s little cash in the inheritance, he has left Jack a substantial property, Gosling Manor. Jack was raised by loving parents, passed away several years prior, in Manchester, so the whole revelation is very shocking to him.

As for the manor, it’s previous, late owner, one Ainsley Gosling was a man for whom dabbling in the moodier (read uber dark) areas of the occult seemed common place. And it also becomes apparent that such partaking included making bargains and deals involving the eternal soul. Alas, after a short amount of further investigation, Jack discovers that it’s his soul that’s been offered up for grabs in some demonic pact.

But the message doesn’t reach Jack via the most straightforward of routes. Everything he comes across is tainted, often in the darkest manner, with the actions of his Jack’s late, real-father.  As no sooner than Jack attempts to view the panorama for this new, furtive canvas upon which his life has been painted, than he finds links to the past are demolished in the most violent manner. He finds his Uncle and Aunt dead in brutal circumstance; Jack had planned to visit them to discuss the surreal goings on – a pattern forms.

A sense of dramatic tension, far from needed given the body count that’s amassing and supernatural goings on that just cannot be dismissed by the initially sceptical Jack, is nailed to proceedings as Jack discovers he’s only a few weeks until his soul become forfeit when he turns thirty three years old. So the pressure increases, as does the supernatural seasoning to this literally devilish soufflé.

Nightingale is a likeable guy, and he navigates through the series of challenges (often directly to his existence) with a sense of the almost whimsical at times. Whilst not easily rattled, his genuine care for others is apparent and adds to his admirable-but-flawed gumshoe-style character. With his gorgeous and classy secretary cum sidekick Jenny at his side there’s nothing that seems to hold Jack back for too long, and so he proceeds forward in world where the lines between the human world and that of the supernatural are definitely on the wane.

Nightfall deals, at times, with the darkest threads of subject matter. However, whilst it does touch upon such areas it doesn’t become morbid, and its fast pacing and supernatural inclinations are well handled. And it is, much like its sequels, definitely a page-turner, and worth a dip into for fans of supernatural horror fiction looking for an interesting, action-fuelled book.


Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill