Review by Shellie for Nightlife by Matthew Quinn Martin.
Shellie’s quick take: A fast-paced, action-packed horror story that has a monster akin to the scary vampires in The Passage. Also includes the iconic vampire allure found in Dracula but with its own special and disgusting twist.
Shellie’s description: Set in a current-day New Harbor, Boston, a breeding horror lies under the town’s old buildings and inside their underground drainage system. These monsters are coming up and feeding on the citizens, unbeknownst to most of the population. But when feisty bartender Beth Becker’s best friend goes missing, and she finds out that it will take 72 hours for the local police to start looking for her, Beth decides to take matters into her own hands. She posts missing person flyers all over town – even in the dodgiest parts. That’s when she comes across the spray painted warnings on many of the cities walls, apparent alarms for the so called “Night Angels”.
During a very close call with a belligerent and violent homeless man, she meets the loner who calls himself Jack – a tortured soul whose life consists only of hunting these monsters. And as things progress much mayhem and drama ensues, as well as a parallel conspiracy plot which may or may have not been further developed since the ARC (advanced read copy) of the book was released.
Shellie’s thoughts: I found Nightlife to be an escapist horror read, with an easy-to-read writing style, great vocabulary and excellent pacing. It is genre horror, meaning it’s action oriented and plot driven, as opposed to literary horror which is not-so-much action packed and focused on the character development and mood of the story. Which is not to say that Nightlife does not have these elements; it’s just much lighter.
I would say that Nightlife is somewhat predictable, but even so it definitely will deliver the chills and heart-pounding experience that most horror readers expect and enjoy. The main characters are interesting and the book includes some snarky dialog, but I found myself being a a bit apprehensive about the book falling into several well-established clichés. I worried that everything was going to end with a romantic happily-ever-after climax, but I’m glad to say this is not what happened. This is the first book of a series; so who knows what may happen in the second book?
Nightlife is definitely a book for genre horror fans. I think that the writing and plot development is similar to that of Joe Hill’s, however I enjoyed Nightlife quite a bit more than the Joe Hill novel that I read. I’m rating this first novel by the author 3.5 stars. A heart-pounding thrilling debut and the beginning of an action based vampire-like series with a frightening monster.
Pocket Star | 384 pages | October 2013