New York Night by Stephen Leather is a detective story, of sorts. Jack Nightingale is on loan from England to investigate mysterious killings in New York. The victims are mutilated and the crimes seem to be unrelated, but observant medical examiners have noticed that demonic sigils are carved into the bodies of the victims. The killers aren’t what they seem – they aren’t teenagers, they are demons who have taken over the bodies of the teenagers. It is Nightingale’s knowledge and experience with demons and the occult that allows him to tie the threads together and keep New York safe from the ultra-violence wrought by the denizens of Hell.
It’s an enjoyable story, creepy and entertaining, and the pages kept turning. Leather is a good story teller, and his writing is very accessible. He is an English writer, and some of the banter between the characters involves the differences between English and Americans. While this could be cute, Leather kind of misses the mark on what is and isn’t American, and often puts British terms in American mouths, something I probably wouldn’t have noticed much if the characters themselves didn’t make a big deal of it.
It wasn’t clear who the ‘client’ of the detective was, or who was bankrolling the expensive adventure, and the absence of more traditional police was a little weird. The police who did make an appearance drew exactly the opposite conclusion that most would. The privacy protections that most Americans take for granted about public schools and medical records were absent, which might be something that Leather, as an Englishman, just didn’t know.
Reading over this review, it seems more critical than I mean it to be. It’s just that if you are the kind of person for whom those nit-picky things would be spoilers, you should be forewarned. I enjoyed reading the book, and was happy that the good folks at BookBear allowed me to be a part of this Virtual Book Tour and provided me with the book — it probably isn’t one I would have picked up on my own, but I was glad I read it.. It was a great bit of mind candy – deliciously creepy and oddly thrilling. Leather’s strength as a writer comes from his storytelling, not his attention to detail. And probably, not getting bogged down with detail that didn’t move the plot along is what made this book such a quick, fun read. Fans of the supernatural are likely to fall in love with this book.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.