Jack Nightingale is British police negotiator who is dismissed from the force after the unexplained death of the father of a suicide victim. Now a private investigator, his typical cases involve capturing cheating spouses in the act. One day Jack is notified by a solicitor that his biological father has died and left him an enormous mansion on a country estate. This is alarming news to Jack as the couple he thought was his parents died in a car accident some ten years prior. He begins to investigate and finds that he was in fact adopted and his recently deceased biological father possessed a shocking secret. Jack’s soul was sold to the devil at birth and the devil is set to collect on Jack’s thirty-third birthday which is a mere three weeks away.
Recently, two librarians at CCPL read Nightfall. Their thoughts are below.
While there are elements of witchcraft and occult in the story, Nightfall generally reads as a straightforward crime novel. Jack was an interesting, brooding character and the story grabbed me from the very first page. David, what did you think of Jack as a lead character? Did you have a particular favorite secondary character?
I really liked Jack, in particular his believing skepticism. I read more than my fair share of urban fantasy and they are all “I want to believe”, so Jack’s reluctance to believe is a refreshing change. I was intrigued by Jenny throughout the book, she’s a real cipher to Jack. As I was reading, I made some wildly incorrect guesses about her. Did you see anything odd about her?
One thing I found odd about Jenny is that she seems incredibly overqualified to be working as a modestly paid secretary for a private investigator. She went to University, has an outstanding resume and apparently has extremely wealthy parents. So she is not in great need of a paycheck, which is good because Jack is often not able to pay her. She is however a very loyal friend to Jack and is concerned for his safety and well-being. Their amiable relationship is one of my favorite parts of the book.
Your points about Jenny are where my wildly inaccurate guess came from. I just couldn’t see why someone so competent would be slumming with Jack so I was guessing she had a bigger role to play in the story beyond the loyal sidekick. Jack turned to whenever he needs to know or do something unusual. Jenny’s her own box of chocolates. You never know what she’s going to know or be able to do next.
Did you find a specific occurrence in the book particularly compelling or suspenseful? The first chapter really got me sucked into the story and made me want to learn more about Jack Nightingale as a protagonist. Although it doesn’t have much to do with the main storyline of the book, I found the opening scene with the young girl threatening suicide tremendously engrossing.
You are right about that first scene. That really grabbed me. I was kind of surprised that it didn’t have a whole lot to do with the rest of the story. The part in the middle with Jack’s cop buddy was the thing that really got me. There had been a bit of earlier foreshadowing, but the paranormal up to that point was still kind of vague so I discounted it, whoops.
As I mentioned earlier, a portion of the plot deals with the devil, demons and witchcraft. Do you think someone who normally does not read this type of subject matter would enjoy Nightfall? Would you characterize this book as urban fantasy or simply a mystery or crime novel?
I’d say that this is a crime thriller more than urban fantasy. One of the big things about urban fantasies is that they spend a fair amount of time building the fantasy part of the world, so much so that the world is in some sense a character in the book. I didn’t get the same sort of feeling here.
Nightfall is the first book in a trilogy to feature private investigator Jack Nightingale. Book two, Midnight, was released in June 2012 and book three, Nightmare, will be released in November 2012.