Hex and the City

 Click here to buy it now:  Hex and the City

Written by: Simon R. Green

Published by: ACE

Reviewed by Ismael Manzano


      Those of you who have followed my reviews will know that Hex and the City is the fourth book in the series of the Nightside, written by Simon R. Green.  Since beginning the series one mystery has been dangled in front of the reader like a juicy morsel, teasing us, keeping us—or at least me—hungry for a larger bite: who is John Taylor’s mother.  In this book, the answer is given.

     Hex and the City, like all of the Nightside books, follows the life of John Taylor, private investigator and King-in-waiting—some say.  This time, Lady Luck herself comes to John and offers to tell him the identity of his mother if he agrees to do something that he’s been looking for an excuse to do anyway: find the origins and purpose of the Nightside.  With hardly a thought, John agrees, and undertakes his most dangerous and controversial case ever.

     In order to find the answers he seeks, John must find and interrogate the oldest and most powerful citizens of the Nightside, a task that in itself is so inherently perilous that he can not rely on his usual friends for help.  Instead he turns to two men who are, potentially as dangerous as the beings from which he seeks answers.  The first is a Madman, a colorfully disturbed man who once discovered the mathematical formula to see reality as it really was.  The discovery rendered him insane with the ability to change reality at will; among other things, Madman is accompanied by his own personal soundtrack that reveals his mood to those around him. 

      The second is a man called Sinner, who once made a deal with the Devil to find true love. When the deal was done and it came time for him to relinquish his soul, he did so happily, only to be rejected by Hell years later.  With him comes a demon succubus named Pretty Poison, whose job was to corrupt Sinner and return him back to the Pit.

      With his new companions, John goes from Power to Power, asking questions, risking lives and demanding answers—nothing new.  Only this time, Walker, the voice of the Authorities, is determined to finally put an end to John’s interference.  John’s mission puts in jeopardy the one thing the Authorities—and Walker—will kill for, the status quo.  Walker sends assassins, combat magicians, and hundreds of his men after John, all with orders to kill on sight.

     To make matters worse, John’s unseen, unknown enemies—the ones that have been sending creatures to kill him ever since he was a baby—are becoming more vicious, more determined.  Using his gift, John discovers the identity of his old enemies and realizes that they are not so unknown after all.  With the entire force of the Authorities on his heals, a vision of the future hanging over his head, and the knowledge he’s lusted over his entire life just out of his grip, can John Taylor overcome the odds to complete his case while keeping the Nightside safe from the horrors he’s destined to unleash upon it?

      Over all, I loved the book.  It is the first book in the series that directly sets up for a sequel and leaves the reader thirsty for more.  It answers a lot of questions that has been left up in the air since the first book, while leaving enough room to expand in the next installment. 

     The Nightside books have always been a little flirty and more lighthearted in prose, with a humorous narrative, and this one is no exception.  In fact, Hex and the City seems even more so than its predecessors.  The only bad note is that Green repeats several phrases that had been scattered throughout the other three books with more frequency in this book.  I understand that he is doing so deliberately, but it is not necessary to color the scenery using the same, identical phrases nor to preface the character’s use of his power by writing that John used his “third eye, [his] private eyes.”  Or by saying that everytime John uses his gift “[he] burns so very bright in the Nightside.” 

     Other than that, if you’ve read the other books, or just trust in my judgment, you’ll want to pick up this book. 

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