It’s a while since I wrote a book review which isn’t surprising as I haven’t read much of late, but one title very much on my pre-order from Amazon list was Nightmare, the third in Stephen Leather’s Jack Nightingale series.
Jack Nightingale is a former police negotiator whose life changes when he fails to prevent a nine year old girl from committing suicide.
He discovers that she had been driven to this after years of sexual abuse by her father who also takes a dive out of an office window when he is confronted by Jack.
Did he fall, or was he pushed? The police and the public suspect the latter, but nothing can be proved. Even so, Jack is forced to leave the service and two years later is running his own private detective agency.
So far, so run of the mill, but the twist is that Jack isn’t who he thinks he is. He discovers that he was adopted as a baby and that he is the inheritor of his biological father’s estate who it transpires was a Satanist who promised Jack’s unborn soul to a demon in exchange for supernatural power.
You can tell that this tale requires some serious suspension of disbelief, but it actually works well as a supernatural detective story.
The three novels cover a period of a few weeks and in the first Jack saves his own soul and in the second that of the sister he didn’t know he had.
Nightmare brings the story full circle and to a conclusion that suggests that this might be the last in the series.
Jack Nightingale is recognisable as a typical fictional PI. He is a wise-cracking, hard-drinking, Marlboro-smoking PI, but who at heart is on the side of the angels and Nightmare is more detective story than supernatural as he is forced to solve the murder of drug-dealer to clear his own name.
But slowly the story begins to gather the threads that have run through the previous novels, bringing them to an unusual and unexpected conclusion, not unlike Ashes to Ashes in some respects.
I haven’t changed my mind that the Jack Nightingale books deserve my five star rating and I can only hope that Leather finds a way for them to go in the future.