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Hex And The City by Simon R. Green
Review by Drew Bittner
Ace Books Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 0441012612
Date: 01 March, 2005 List Price $6.50 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

John Taylor takes on the greatest case of his career in Hex and the City, the fourth in Simon R. Green's Nightside novels, when he's hired by Lady Luck to discover the origins and purpose of the Nightside itself.

For newcomers, a little background: the Nightside is the part of London that doesn't appear on any map. It is where the night never ends, and anything imaginable can be found, bought, experienced or imprisoned. It is the "dark heart of London?. John Taylor, private eye, is one of its major players and most reluctant heroes.

Taylor's work often brings him into conflict with Walker, agent of the Nightside's ruthless Authorities, and makes enemies of bizarre, nigh-godlike entities. Even though his gift allows him to find anything, his reputation-- and the sinister issue of his mother's identity-- gives him real clout, in a place that could give H.P. Lovecraft screaming nightmares.

The new case promises greater dangers than usual, however, when his parentage assumes tremendous importance. Backed up by a trio of formidable beings-- the reality-bending Madman, Sinner (rejected by Heaven and Hell) and his lover, the succubus Pretty Poison-- Taylor finds his mother looming behind every clue he unearths... and everyone has a different theory as to her identity.

Merlin, Herne the Hunter, a creature known as The Lamentation and the Nightside's ultimate judge, the Lord of Thorns, all offer opinions and theories as to her identity. But the truth is more horrifying, when Taylor discovers the Nightside's real secrets.

Taylor also realizes that his future choices lead toward the end of the world...

The Nightside saga takes a huge leap forward here, as major mysteries are revealed. Battle lines are drawn and the stakes are raised very high for the next novel. Green has a flair for character creation and his knack for evocative, memorable names is tremendous. His postmodern mix-and-match style allows him to blend in a sizable Casablanca homage as well as quantum physics (a notorious butterfly, in this case). Green also has a gift for using bad puns as names. For instance, Bad Penny, a beautiful assassin with a talent for turning up when least expected? Brilliant!.

It's a big, turbulent stew but Green is a master chef. He also reinforces his meta-world with every novel, weaving in references to his other works through casual name-dropping and easy, unannotated dialogue.

Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files) provides a cover blurb for this book, which is entirely fitting. Fans of Harry Dresden would find John Taylor a terrific read... but then again, so would any fan of good, dark urban fantasy.

Recommended.

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