Author: Matthew Quinn Martin
Series: Nightlife, #1
Released: October 21st 2013
Publisher: Pocket Star
Format: ebook, 384 pages
Source: Publisher for review
For centuries an ancient evil has slept beneath the streets of New Harbor. This Halloween, it wakes up.An action-packed debut horror novel from talented new writer Matthew Quinn Martin, Nightlife pits a feisty bartender and a mysterious loner against bloodthirsty terrors as alluring as they are deadly.Nightclub bartender and serial heartbreaker Beth Becker might be a cynic. But when her best friend goes missing Halloween night, Beth knows it's up to her to find out what happened.Her quest will take her on an odyssey through the crumbling city of New Harbor, Connecticut. Along the way she meets a homeless prophet warning of something he calls the "Night Angel"-a bloodthirsty creature that feeds on the forgotten. And she will form an unlikely bond with a hunted stranger who knows all too well what stalks the streets at night.
Nightlife is a book that has a lot to offer, but it’s also filled with flaws. I will certainly point out at least some of those flaws, but I’ll never tell you that the book isn’t worth reading, because it is. The positives outweigh the negatives, and overall, Nightlife offers an enjoyable experience, as much as the horror genre can.
One can’t ignore the fact that Nightlife is poorly structured and often slightly amateurish. There are far too many points of view, which quickly becomes terribly distracting and prevents readers from immersing themselves into the narrative. The first part is composed of one scary scene after another, most of them, of course, told from different perspectives, thus denying the reader a chance to make a proper connection with any of the characters. Later in the book, the additional POVs slowly vanish, or their number dwindles, at least, leaving only Beth and Jack to tell the story.
Starting with multiple points of view and then settling into two is a rather odd choice. Generally, multiple narrators and third-person narrative mode is my least favorite option, but I can get used to it if done well and consistently. In this case, however, it was almost like Martin started one thing, and then changed his mind halfway through.
I rather liked Beth. Her strength and independence, determination and the slightly superior attitude are all qualities I look for in a proper heroine. But the fact that I liked her as much as I did only made the additional POVs more jarring. I wanted more time with her, a chance to learn more about her, but her story kept being interrupted by unnecessary gruesome scenes.
Martin’s take on vampires is entirely different from everything I’ve stumbled upon in other books and movies. He portrays them as gorgeous, irresistible and evil predators, but there’s so much more to it than that. It’s a pity he only revealed their true nature in the very last part of the book. Knowing exactly what they are from the start would make this book far more terrifying. Mindless evil with no nuance whatsoever is rarely truly frightening to me, often I find it more cartoonish than anything else, which seemed to be the case here, until the truth came to light.
When it comes to books, I am rarely this conflicted. I either like something or I don’t, but with Nightlife, the decision is much harder to make. There are some very good and original parts, and there are some sloppy and poorly thought through parts. In the end, I believe the good parts prevailed, but I fear that not everyone will feel the same.
Nightlife is $1.99 on Amazon so make sure to get a copy when you can.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.