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Nightfall Paperback – Mar 20 2012


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Review

'Another great thriller from Stephen Leather but this time with a devilish twist!' -- James Herbert 'Suffused with mysterious pentagrams, not to mention a creeping sense of evil, I suspect that down-to-earth Nightingale is a man we'll hear more of' -- Daily Mail 'Dark and exhilarating, you'd better keep the lights on when you're reading it' -- Candis 'A sinister tale ... unpredictable' -- Herald Sun 'A chilling thiller' -- Brisbane News 'Leather has really upped his game ... NIGHTFALL is a good, old-fashioned page-turner' -- Reviewingtheevidence.com Praise for Stephen Leather's Dan Shepherd novels -- : 'This is an aggressively topical novel but a genuinely thrilling one, too.' -- Daily Telegraph 'As tough as British thrillers get ... gripping' -- Irish Independent 'In brisk newsman's style her explores compex contemporary issues while keeping the action fast and bloody.' -- Economist --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers. Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Before that, he was employed as a biochemist for ICI, shoveled limestone in a quarry, worked as a baker, a petrol pump attendant, a barman, and worked for the Inland Revenue. He began writing full time in 1992 and his bestsellers have been translated into more than ten languages. He has also written for television on such shows as “London's Burning,” “The Knock,” and the BBC's “Murder in Mind” series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. His ebooks have spent more than six months on the UK Kindle Top 100 and for several months he had four titles in the UK Kindle Top 10. You can find out more from his website, www.stephenleather.com.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 230 reviews
71 of 77 people found the following review helpful
A hell of a deal March 3 2012
By James Tepper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
From Amazon Vine's description, I had no idea that this was the first of a trilogy featuring ex-cop and now PI, Jack Nightingale. Or that it had actually been published in the UK a couple of years ago, or that the second and final novels were also out in the UK (but not available through Amazon in the US). But no matter, Nightfall was exactly as advertised - the story of how Jack discovers that his father had sold his unborn son's soul to a devil who would come and collect on his 33rd birthday. Naturally, Jack is not happy about this and does his best to stop this from happening as (almost) all his friends and family are dropping like flies all around him in the days leading up to his 33rd.

The writing was fine, and the pacing good. There were fewer plot twists than expected and in truth this was more like a police or detective procedural than a heavy-duty occult fantasy. Still, I enjoyed it. One could read it and not feel trapped into following up with the rest of the series (when they become available in the US), as there is pretty good closure at the end. On the other hand, there were clearly plot threads left untied at the end and I was not surprised to find that there were more books in the series.

Jack was just a bit too clichéd to draw me completely in. Chain smoker (Marlboros of course), heavy drinker and with a slightly ambiguous past as a cop. His girl Friday (or Jenny in this case) was something of an enigma. Smart, young wealthy, but no other personality. No sexual tension between Jack and her, in fact except for some of the descriptions of the suicides/murders, the entire novel was pretty much PG rated. No sex, no gore, no real horror. Actually, neither Jack nor Jenny seemed to have any sort of libido at all.

All this notwithstanding, I will probably give the next one a go, if for no other reason that to see if Jack and Jenny finally manage to get together. Three and a half stars, rounded down to 3.

JMT
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Excellent supernatural thriller June 8 2011
By Fly High - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book a lot. It has a great protagonist in former cop, now turned PI, Jack Nightingale. It has a great premise in the occult and satanist-themed plot that it revolves around. On his thirty-third birthday, Jack receives stunning news from his biological father, Ainsley Gosling, who tells him that he was adopted, and that he sold his soul to the devil, before committing suicide by shotgun. The rest of the story is Jack's frenetic attempt to find what his biological father could not, away to find his way out of this deal with a devil that will allow him to live a normal life. I definitely recommend it.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Different - but good July 22 2010
By Max Power - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is only the second Stephen Leather book I have read. I wasn't a huge fan of the first so didn't go looking for this. I just happened across it and thought I'd give it a go.
It's not my usual fare - but I quite enjoyed it. It was an intriguing read and well worth the time. Not quite an unshakable grip on the reader but still a strong pull to keep going and get to the end.
If you have an interest in 'dark' thrillers/chillers and don't mind a little dabble in the occult in your books (neither of which describe me BTW) I think you'll find it interesting. If you're just looking for an entertaining read then it's also not a bad option.
Couple of issues - skimmed over the whole 'how do you sell something you don't own' isue, but marks for mentioning it. Also, it was pretty clear how the book was going to solve the key issue - but it was still interesting finding out the mechanics.
After this book I might just give Leather another try.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Highly enjoyable take on the Supernatural Mystery/Thriller genre (spoiler-free) March 5 2012
By Eric L. Fletcher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
When looking for some new author's to read, I ran across some consistently high Amazon reviews for author Stephen Leather ( http://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Leather/e/B000APS0ZM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1 ). Not wanting to jump into one of his longer running series, I picked up Nightfall which is the first of a trilogy of books based around Jack Nightingale (yeah, I know, not very subtle). So with the character name setting a bad start, I grudgingly proceeded to read the book fearing I had stuck myself with some genre sludge written to tap the exploding reader interest in this area. And in the blink of an eye, fifty pages had passed and I was hooked. Huh, I didn't see that coming.

Turns out there is a reason the author has received all those 4-5 star reviews, he really knows how to write a solid book, and does a particularly good job of balancing tension and plot advancement, while crafting interesting characters and realistic dialog. All too often, books of this genre have dialog that is jarringly bad in spots (aka nobody talks like that in real life) or plot devices of the worst sort of Dues Ex Machina kind. Leather does not fall into either trap. Its clear the Nightfall series benefits from the author's experiences writing his previous books, as in the wrong hands this could have been a terrible book. Instead, it ended up a well written, terrifically executed take on the genre.

For fans of the author- if you had not ordered already, feel free to go ahead. You won't be disappointed. For others new to Stephen Leather, I think this would be a great jump in point on a talented author. While I wait for the next two books in the series, I will probably start working my way through his earlier works as well. This book caused me more than a few late nights, while I read "one more page". Can't praise it more than that.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Dear Abby: Daddy sold my soul to the devil. What do I do? Signed, Mildly Unsettled Feb. 26 2012
By Michael Lichter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Summary: In British suspense writer Stephen Leather's new novel "Nightfall (Nightingale: Book One)," Jack Nightingale is a private dick with a dark past, a stack of unpaid bills, a sexy secretary, a bottle of booze in his desk, and a lit cigarette hanging from his lips. Out of nowhere, Jack receives a message from his recently-deceased biological father: "Sorry, kid, but I sold your soul to a devil. She'll be dropping by on your 33rd birthday to pick it up." That's just a couple of weeks away, so when people around him begin dying and random people start telling him "You're going to hell, Jack Nightingale," Jack knows he has to take this crazy message seriously. But what can he do?

The Bad: Packed with cliche, and slow, slow, S-L-O-W. By the middle of the novel, I was wondering whether Leather was going to save Jack's 33rd birthday for the third volume in this planned trilogy. (Answer: No, fortunately.)

The Good: I'm not familiar with Leather's other work, but he's obviously a skilled and occasionally-thoughtful writer. Despite the torpid pace of "Nightfall," he's able to maintain enough tension and mystery to keep his not-quite-bored-to-tears readers turning the pages. Jack's conversations with with clergy and others about death, heaven, and hell resonate, at least a little, and some of the atmospheric bits are well done. (That does NOT include the repeated scratching sounds Jack hears at his dad's house or the even more frequently repeated lamentations about how you can't smoke in bars anymore.) Most of the humor is hackneyed film noir banter, but it's still entertaining. And, finally, the book's conclusion is not half-bad: it resolves enough to satisfy readers but leaves enough up in the air to justify a second volume.

Additional comment: We know from the get-go that Jack's dad sold his soul to a devil (not THE devil, FWIW), and that the devil is going to be coming to collect it. Leather makes (almost) no effort to suggest that this is NOT what's going to happen. That being the case, to put off the inevitable until late in the book is (figurative) torture. Maybe Leather WANTED to frustrate readers. I don't know, but that's definitely what he does in "Nightfall".

Bottom line: This is an OK book. I read so little horror that I can't say how it compares to similar novels in the same genre. I can say, however, that it is both less exciting and less imaginative than kindred books in dark urban fantasy, like Jim Butcher's Dresden Files or Kat Richardson's Greywalker series. I wouldn't tell anybody to run out and buy this book, but if you're stuck in the airport and there's nothing else appealing on the shelves, you could do worse.


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