Night Terrors by Tim Waggoner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Shadow Watch officers Audra Hawthorne and Mr. Jinx botch an arrest, they're taken off the case. But how can a psychotic nightmare clown and his creator stay away from a case that has both Earth and Nod hanging in the balance?
I got this from Netgalley and the chaps at Angry Robot.
The thing I've always disliked about the fantasy genre, both urban and epic, is that very few books attempt to break new ground. This one leaves the ground behind and heads into the Twilight Zone.
Night Terrors is the same old story about a burned out cop and her partner working on a case that they've been booted off of. Only the cop works for an organization called the Shadow Watch that keeps rogue nightmares from escaping Nod to the real world. And Jinx is a psychotic nightmare clown she created that is now her partner.
The concept reminds me of the Jack Kirby version of the Sandman, the red and yellow superhero who operated primarily in dreams, the precursor to Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Maybe you've heard of it?
There's very little infodumping so I had to piece things together as I went. I liked the idea of Ideators, people capable of making dreams real, and the Maelstrom and the people and gadgets that used it's power, like the M-gineers and M-blades and things.
The book reminded me of Simon Green's Nightside book at first, although with much less annoying lead characters. Audra is burned out from not being able to sleep due to being an Ideator, someone capable of bringing nightmares to life, and Jinx is a combination of Beetlejuice, The Mask, the Joker, and a great white shark.
The relationship between Audra and Jinx is one of my favorite parts of the book. Night Jinx is her loose cannon partner. Day Jinx is like a mother hen and makes Audra look like the loose cannon. It makes Night Terrors one of the most dysfunctional buddy cop stories in history.
Lots of crazy stuff happens in this one. When one of the protagonists is a demonic clown, you know the bad guys have to be pretty formidable, which they are. The ending is satisfying and also leaves the door open for further adventures of the Shadow Watch.
Four out of five stars.
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