Midnight for Jack Nightingale

Midnight by Stephen LeatherIt isn’t every day that you read a book that works on every level, one that has an unusual plot and a satisfying twist, plus a style that makes you savour every page. Midnight is such a book.

It is the second in a trilogy (at least) billed as A Jack Nightingale Supernatural Thriller, which I suspect might put lots of people off, but this is far from a spooks and demons page-turner. More Spooks and demons really.

I wrote about the first installment last year when I first became a fan. Nightfall tells the story of Jack Nightingale, ex-police negotiator turned private detective who discovers that he was adopted at birth and that his biological father, a Satanist, had promised his soul to a demon, to be handed over on his thirty-third birthday.

Which sounds pretty trite, but believe me it works, mixing an old fashioned gumshoe novel with a dash of Dennis Wheatley and a great dollop of tongue-in-cheek banter from the hero of the tale.

Midnight picks up the story shortly after Nightfall ends when he starts to receive mysterious messages similar to those he has had before: “Your sister is going to Hell, Jack Nightingale.”

Previously, he discovered that he had a half-sister born two years later and whose soul had also been bartered with a demon. The trouble is, Nightingale has no idea who or where she is, but still sets out to save her from her eternal torment.

There are quite a few deaths as people who come into contact with Nightingale have a nasty habit of meeting a grisly demise, although they aren’t described in too much graphic detail, certainly not enough to give me nightmares. They do add to the atmosphere though.

I wouldn’t want to give away any more of the plot, except that to say that you don’t really find out the source of the mysterious warnings about his sister. I have my suspicions about who (or what) this is and hopefully all will be explained in the next installment.

Both Nightfall and Midnight work because your disbelief can be utterly suspended given the subject matter. I have tried other Stephen Leather books on the strength of these two, but they weren’t as good simply because he can stretch disbelief to breaking point in his “real world” novels.

But the Nightingale novels are definitely worthy of a six out of five stars and a must read if you like a mystery with a devilish twist — I mean that literally, not figuratively.

And if there are any tv producers out there, this is a tale made for a BBC drama series with a script that is more or less ready made.

Midnight is available in large paperback from Amazon, or you can visit the author’s website.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

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