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Just Another Judgement Day (Nightside, Book 9) by Simon R. Green
Review by Drew Bittner
Ace Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441016747
Date: 06 January 2009 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

John Taylor, the Nightside's most feared private eye, has taken on some major opponents in his time. He's faced down armies of angels, primordial gods, and even his own mother, the biblical demon-mother Lilith. He's seen the Nightside ripped to pieces, engulfed in civil war and left leaderless when the original Authorities were summarily murdered.

This might be worse.

More by Simon R. Green
Deathstalker Return
Nightingales Lament
Deathstalker Coda
Hex And The City
Paths Not Taken
Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth
Hell to Pay
A Walk on the Nightside
The Man With The Golden Torc
The Man With the Golden Torc
Guards of Haven: The Adventures of Hawk and Fisher
The Unnatural Inquirer
Daemons Are Forever

After solving a case involving party people, a suspicious fountain of youth and a legendary madman, Taylor and his love Suzie Shooter are enjoying some down time when Walker comes to call. Walker is the agent of the Authorities and Taylor's personal bete noire; he is the epitome of everything Taylor hates about how the Nightside is run. Taylor admits to himself that he has a grudging respect for Walker--one that happens to be mutual--but bristles every time he is near.

This is no ordinary visit. As Taylor sourly notes, Walker isn't the sort for social calls, much as he wants to make small talk this time around. No, there is a problem. The Walking Man is coming to the Nightside.

The Walking Man is the literal Wrath of God embodied in a human host. A man may make a deal with the Almighty, surrendering himself to God's ineffable Will and becoming God's weapon in the world. He cannot be hurt or turned aside, captured, beaten or defeated in battle. And he's decided the time has come to remove the Nightside from the face of the Earth.

With such a juggernaut of judgment on the way, naturally the new Authorities (including many of Taylor's enemies) are understandably nervous. So they want Taylor to deal with it.

Accompanied by Suzie and monster-hunter Chandra Singh (a holy warrior in his own right), Taylor goes to meet the Walking Man face to face. He first encounters a scene of absolute annihilation, as an innocuous boutique and all within are shot down. Turns out there's more here than meets the eye, but still, Taylor cannot let him pursue his path of judgment against the entire Nightside.

The action continues as the Walking Man approaches the fabled Street of Gods, where there is a showdown in more than one sense and his true power is revealed at last. Set against the embodiment of God's wrath, Taylor is feeling that this time, he may be outclassed once and for all...

Simon R. Green delivers up yet another roller-coaster ride through the dark fantasy nightscape of the Nightside, throwing an opponent at John Taylor who is truly out of his weight class. (Sort of like asking John Constantine to take on the Spectre single-handed.) Taylor goes through his resources with ruthless efficiency, sacrificing friends and allies as the need arises just to get a sense of what the Walking Man can do. If it seems less than heroic, well, Taylor is a pragmatist; he does what he needs to win.

Most of Taylor's extensive supporting cast gets a moment of screen time, including Razor Eddie, Alex Morrissey, Julien Advent (the Victorian Adventurer), Larry Oblivion, Count Video and more. How these characters face their long-delayed day of reckoning makes for some powerful emotional moments amid the carnage, as entire sections of the Nightside are consumed by the power of God unleashed.

The story also gives Suzie unexpected opportunities for growth, overcoming personal demons (or starting to) in a very surprising fashion.

Laced with Green's penchant for mixing and mingling all sorts of cross-genre puzzle pieces (including a touching/disturbing moment on the Street of Gods involving an unlikely appearance by some childhood favorites), the book takes some major philosophical detours, deconstructing the rationale behind the Wrath of God taking a genuine role in earthly affairs and the meaning of divine justice. There is also a rather physical discourse on what happens when two holy warriors come to blows.

Just Another Judgement Day is certain to please Green's legions of fans, offering a strong new tale that wholly justifies the series' move into hardcover. Ace has a great series in hand, with years' more tales waiting to be told. New readers (and there should be some of you eager to try this series) might not wish to begin with this volume, however. Rather, check out Something from the Nightside (the first novel) in order to see how Taylor evolves and progresses. It's worth the ride.

Recommended.

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