Hex and the City by Simon R Green

Hex and the City book cover
Rating 7.5/10
The Nightside novels put a nice little smile on your face.

People say you make your own luck, good or bad.  Sometimes John is the luckiest guy in the world, especially when Lady Luck herself comes a knocking. The only problem is Lady Luck is really a floozy, and you were fresh out of cash and who can say no to some luck.  Case accepted, John must track down the secret of the origins of the Nightside and how mummy dearest fits into this mystery.

Taking this case from Lady Luck we begin to slowly chip away at John’s past and get glimpses at his coming future along the way.  John battles Walker, False Gods and once friends who know or glimpse the true cost of uncovering the genesis of the Nightside.

In true Green fashion John has some new friends along for the ride. Madman, a man whose eyes have been opened to the truth of everything, broken and twisted with the knowledge not meant for a human mind. Sinner, damn to hell for selling his Soul to find true love only to escape with the demon that seduced him to begin with.  These characters show a different side to John, capable of doing anything to keep his friends safe and this time he has brought together a group he views as disposable and can be sacrificed if need be. We get a portrait of a good man doing the things that need to be done and having to make the hard choices.

We finally start to get a look into John’s past and how he survived for all those years, including how he first meets Razor Eddie.  Even in the Nightside there is a place where the desperate go. In ‘Rats Alley’ the surrounding darkness matches that of the heart and soul of its residents. John encounters many creatures and powers while trying to stay alive, some of which are happy to help for their own purposes and some not so happy to help.  The worst and best of these being ‘The Lamentation’ - dark, twisted and wholly rotten to the core and Green has written an encounter that makes you read every word slowly and intently so you don’t miss a thing.  Cold justice served fresh and vivid.

There were a few things with Hex and the City (apart from the name) I found a little disjointed. What stood out are the elements surrounding John travelling into the past to continue investigating the Nightside.  What I found mystifying was that these different people/powers from his own future that he interacts with in the past just don’t seem to remember him in the future.  If John meets them in the past why don’t they remember him in his present?

Finally all is revealed and things long buried and hoped forgotten resurface.  Face to face with his greatest desire John’s mother has returned in all her dark and captivating glory. Old friends are lost and John suffers a betrayal from a future love.  When reality becomes too surreal for the insane, madmen just become men. Lilith: a being, a concept of the first women in form and mind, alien and human.  The fun Green can have with a character that has been expelled from Heaven and begotten all the monsters of the world.

The Nightside novels are like the change you find down the back of the sofa when you’re broke.  They put a nice little smile on your face even when you know they won’t last long, but there is just enough for a pint and a packet of crisps.

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