Monday, December 10

Nightlife – Rob Thurman

Cal Leandros and his older half-brother Niko have spent the last four years on the run – ever since Cal, the bastard spawn of a woman who’d sell herself to anything and the creature that sired him. Cal’s always known he was half monster – his mother never made any secret of his despised origins, and when he was fourteen Niko, then twenty, came back to the trailer to rescue him. But the car broke down, and Cal was snatched – for Niko he was gone two long days, days Niko kept hopeful, relentless watch. Cal can’t remember anything that happened but, based on the length of his hair and nails it was more like two years, and based on his feral primacy, not at all pleasant.
Now the young men live in New York, ever wary of the creatures they call Grendels, and always ready to run. Unlike the wilfully blind humans around them, the brothers Leandros are all too aware of the nightmares that surround them – a boggle on the mud of Central park, a troll under the Brooklyn Bridge, and Pan sells cars on commission - and the biggest nightmare of them all has its heart set on Cal.
Although Nightlife didn’t, as one of the front blurbs promised, take my breath away, it was a fair enough foray into the genre. The brothers’ relationship was nicely portrayed, the supernatural creatures weren’t too far fetched, the prologue (where Cal plunges a knife into Niko and leaves him to die) casts an extra dimension of tension over the plot. There were some nice lighter and humorous moments, I particularly liked the identity of Cal’s father and his race (and their alternate spelling), and I really liked the way, though there are a few loose ends strewn throughout the novel, it didn’t seem to open itself to a sequel, which does seem to be almost mandatory in this genre of late. - Alex

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