"In the wake of the war that almost brought the Nightside to total ruin, there's a power vacuum begging to be filled - and some think I should take charge. I don't agree. Neither does the immortal known as Griffin. Wealthy beyond reason, he has his own ideas about who should be running things. Still, when his granddaughter - and designated heir - is kidnapped, he calls on me to find her. But someone - or some Thing - is blocking my special gift. So this time, I'm going to have to do my job the hard way. And quickly, or the Griffin will have to choose a new heir...."
Listen to the entire Nightside series.
©2007 Simon R. Green; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"This is an absolutely fantastic and compulsively readable entry in Green's long-running Nightside series. Witty banter, a well-constructed plot and compelling characters combines to make this one hell of a read." (Romantic Times)
"Green is a demented and disturbed genius, and I mean that in the nicest way! If I ever need help, I want to call on John Taylor." (Crimespree Magazine)
Look for the details, that is what life is about.
I started listening to this series several month ago. This one is by far one of the best. I usually listen in my spare time, but got involved and couldn't take my headset off. I listened in the car, at work, etc. IT is great.
Something New, Not same old Fantasy storyline
They are all Fun
Must Read this Series.
Dresden files and Iron Druid are other good ones :)
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
Originally posted at Fanlit.
Hell to Pay, the seventh novel in Simon R. Green’s NIGHTSIDE series, takes a turn in tone. For the past few installments John Taylor has been dealing with his mother, Lilith, who brought an epic war to the Nightside. Now the war is over and there’s a power vacuum. Jeremiah Griffin, a rich powerful immortal man, plans to fill the void. During his machinations, though, his granddaughter disappears, having apparently been kidnapped. Griffin needs John Taylor, the man who can find anything, to get her back. This is normally an easy thing for Taylor to do, but something seems to be blocking his power. Now John has to do his job the hard way — by pounding the streets and looking for clues. That isn’t easy, but it is interesting, because Griffin’s family, who are all suspects, have a lot of secrets to hide.
Fans of the NIGHTSIDE series (who, I guess, are the only ones who would actually be reading Hell to Pay or, for that matter, this review) who enjoyed the epicness of the last few books may feel like Hell to Pay is a little light. It’s much more like the first couple of books in the series. I, however, welcomed the end of the war and John’s return to his gumshoe days. Now, instead of going back and forth in time, he’s meeting some real weirdos and exploring some shady places in the Nightside that we’ve never seen before. These are the things that Simon R. Green does best.
In Hell to Pay, besides all the usual suspects (e.g. Suzie Shooter, Dead Boy, Walker, etc.) we meet Dracula, the bizarre Griffin family and their butler, a one-man exploding cabaret act, and (my favorite) a Christian terrorist organization called the Salvation Army Sisterhood (nuns who “sin to put an end to sinning”). We also visit a drag club and hear radio broadcasts from Hell.
As I mentioned, weirdness is what Simon R. Green does best. All of the little parts of his world, and the people who populate it, are quirky and wild and fun. But when it comes to actual world building, things don’t quite match up. Green has a habit of introducing, in each book, someone or something even more dangerous/powerful/epic than we’ve ever seen before, and telling us it’s the most dangerous/powerful/epic thing in the Nightside. An author can only do that so many times before I start suspecting that he’s not telling the truth. (For example, why had we never heard of the powerful immortal Griffins before this novel?) Clearly, the new introductions in each book are there to ratchet up the tension. It works, I suppose, but not very smoothly.
A related issue is that there is always some reason why Taylor cannot use his powers. In the past, this was because his enemies could find him when he used his gift. That seemed legitimate, but now that the war is over and the enemies are no longer a threat, there has to be some other agency that blocks Taylor’s power simply to create the tension the story needs. Also, I thought that John Taylor was supposed to be the most powerful person in the Nightside, but we keep finding out that there are other agencies that are more powerful than he is. Is he, or isn’t he the most powerful person in the Nightside? The answer seems to depend on what the plot needs at the moment. Readers who just want to read about Green’s quirky characters and his bizarre setting are probably happy to overlook these little problems and, for the most part, I’m happy to do the same. But readers who want to immerse themselves in a fantasy world might like to know that this one is a little hard to believe in.
I listened to the audio version narrated by Marc Vietor, who is always awesome.
Great story, terrific narration, appropriately used music, and crack production -- which means it must be an Audible digital audiobook! Ahhh, it indeed is!
Hell to Pay is just plain fun to hear voiced as what we get is a well-crafted hard-boiled mystery that adds considerable detail to the story of the Nightside and its denizens in a tightly focused manner. Most of the support characters are not really involved in this story, though some are mentioned are mentioned in passing, such as Susie Shooter and The Punk God of the Razor, Razor Eddie. The latter deserves a horror novel all to his own. This is a refreshing return to the earlier novels in this series as Taylor really does use his own smarts to solve the mystery and bring things to the usual literally bloody conclusion. Good show, Simon!
Cat Eldridge / Green Man Review
Having said that this was a "routine installment of the series" I would like to qualify that statement by saying for the most part I enjoyed this installment as much as the previous 6 books. I have one major problem that I could not resolve myself. I don't think this is a spoiler but if you don't want to take a chance do not read on. In the early part of the book the SAS attacks the Diva Club in an attempt to kidnap Paul and seems to hate the patrons and their lifestyles. Later the head of the SAS can't say enough good things about Paul and what a great person he is. Did I mishear this? One thing about listening instead of actually reading is that it is harder to go back and find a specific part to listen to again.
The narration was excellent and I enjoy the characters and atmosphere that these books describe.
I had heard good things about this series and decided to take a chance on this book. Started out ok and I thought the narrator was good. Unfortunately this story goes nowhere. Reititious and boring. Plot made no sense, characters have unexplained supernatural powers, and a myriad of other flaws throughout the book. The writing was juvenile;for awhile I thought the book could've been written for children. But then again, sexual innuendo, transvestitism, etc. suggest not. Cannot believe I made to the end. Lame, lame, lame story. Do not waste a credit on this book.
"Fun story, suspect reading"
I have a great fondness for the Nightside books; Horror-noir with Pratchettesque moments of punning, the misadventures of stone-cold London PI John Taylor saw me charging through the first 6 books at a rate of knots. Hell to Pay deals with much of the fallout from those books and succeeds in avoiding the potential anticlimax of continuing a story past the apocalyptic ending of book 6. This is all good stuff and presents many new threads to explore the post-war situation.
BUT: Would a British reader have been too much to ask? Taylor is a Londoner and the reading (the books being first person) is done in a drawling, supercilious attempt at RP that leaves Marc Vietor with nowhere to go when he's required to give us antagonists who really ARE arrogant and supercilious. Anyone not moneyed or upper class (far from the same thing) has a distinctly Antipodean accent and this, coupled with American stresses on some words, is genuinely distracting and off-putting.
I love Green's writing and I am certain that Vietor is a good reader when not attempting to sound English. As it is, though, his performance is enough to make me seriously reconsider getting any more audios in this series.
"Hell to listen"
Yes I would but with reservations
The story was overly simplistic, the main character wooden and incredibly dense when it came to clues and the story line slightly disjointed as it moved staggered from one scene to the other.
The Nightside series is supposedly set in a London (Soho) inspired parallel city and yet Vietor's understanding of English pronunciation ranges from the slightly odd to the downright bizarre and in some cases, is not consistent. The plummy bad villain accent Vietor uses for the main protagonist John Taylor means that any other villain or powerful antagonist ends up sounding like a Mary Poppins sidekick.
Mild irritation followed by disappointment due to the thinness of plot, characterisation and detail for the environment that John Taylor works in.
I wouldn't say this was enough to stop me from purchasing any more from this series but if the next one is as poor as this one then that's it - I will move on to a different author.
"Author and Narrator are awful"
This guy is not a gifted writer. How did he become a bestseller? Every one of his books will have the lines: it was the easiest thing in the world, And ostentatiously ignored. Some of his sentences make me wonder if English is his first language.
I find it hard to relate to John Walker as he is a man that acts and talks like my God Son at play.
There are much better books listed on this site. If you want car crash writing, get the book.
"A very clever and original series"
The story line is original and funny and the characters are likable. It is a bit reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's Otherworld, but darker in some respects.
The narrator is very good and conveys the dry wit incredibly well.
I have all 12 books in this series as I so enjoyed the first two I read and I am loving each book.
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