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.

I’ve written about the previous two novels here and here, so I’ll make my precis of the story so far as brief as I can.

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.

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.

5 comments… Add yours
  • Roger Green 17th January 2012

    Every time I read certain phrases, the song “Did She Fall or Was She Pushed” by Richard and Linda Thompson, pops into mind.

  • Reader Wil 17th January 2012

    Thanks for your visit and comment! No, there no statues of cats but there are many remarkable stories about cats. Do you know the delightful Cornish story of The Mousehole Cat? Then we had a cat who walked with us to the end of the street and waited 5 hours for us to return. However we came home by another road. When we missed him, we went looking for him and asked the neighbours if they had seen him, then we remembered that he walked with us. We went to the place where we saw him last and there he was . He was sooo happy to see us. So I wouldn’t say that cats are not loyal. I am a real catlover!!

  • Catwoman 17th January 2012

    That seems to be really a good read, I can’t wait to read it! I haven’t find a downloadable version of it. Any tips?

  • Stephen Leather 21st January 2012

    Thanks for a great review! Yes, there will be more Jack Nightingale books!

  • Mr Parrot 21st January 2012

    Thanks for visiting Stephen. That is great news that Jack will be back. Allegedly. And given the way the last book ended, perhaps we’ll see more of Robbie too.


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