Nocturnal by Scott Sigler
Their race has lived beneath the earth for centuries. They emerge only at night, to feed on the dregs of humanity, before slipping back into the shadows. But now their time has come – time to rise up from their hiding place and take back what is theirs.
Bryan Clauser is a homicide detective in San Francisco. He’s on the hunt for a serial killer. But this is no ordinary murder investigation: the crime-scene techs keep discovering unsettling DNA evidence and Bryan has been plagued by violent and strangely prophetic dreams.
When Bryan uncovers links to a centuries-old cult, his superiors suddenly close ranks and shut him out, refusing to give him any information on an earlier case
As Bryan stubbornly persists with his investigation, it leads him to a race of killer who have long lurked beneath San Francisco’s streets. A terrifying people preparing to take back the city.
Bryan is the only man who can stop them, because, like them, he might not be a man at all.
A few years back I first encountered Scott Sigler’s Infected and Contagious books while browsing the Hodder and Stoughton site for similar authors to Stephen King. I read them and was just blown away with Scott Sigler’s way of writing and how he livens up a story. Afterwards I read Ancestor and again was just taken aback by his levels of writing. In Ancestor I was impressed with the correctness of the science technology that was used, having a laboratory background myself, I know these techniques, and was very pleased to see the amount of background information Scott Sigler dug up to make it al correct. On top of this I think that Scott Sigler really writes in his own way and with one intention in mind “If you don’t like my story, too bad for you, there are plenty of others who like it”! Well I am a huge fan of his works, he’s got my vote.
Nocturnal is again a different from his earlier works. Where Ancestor was a very techno-thriller and Infected and Contagious were more focused on an “alien invasion” thriller. Nocturnal is a police investigation with a high supernatural element hidden within. In Nocturnal you follow the footsteps of San Francisco Police Department Homicide detective Bryan Clauser and his partner Pookie Chang. The story starts off with the investigation of a murder case. But soon Scott Sigler throws in the supernatural element and guides the storyline in route full of twists and turns. Bryan, after investigating the murder scene, gets terribly sick and gets unexplainable and very vivid nightmares. Bryan thinks he is going insane and doesn’t know what is wrong with, on top it he starts to draw things. Things he shouldn’t know… I really liked how Bryan was shown in this story, on the Police Department he is termed as “The Terminator” and yes he does have this bad guy attitude that is shown in his dialogues. But the dreams that Bryan is getting his “hard” personality is somewhat broken down and makes his character much more approachable. His partner in crime, Pookie is greater than great. Man did I love his character! It might have been a bit cliché to use this partner setup a hard cop/soft cop team, with Bryan being the former and Pookie the latter. But Pookie’s character is just so funny to read about, maybe with his witty catch phrases and one-liners he tries to compensate for something. I am still repeating the Robin Robin Bo-Bobbin sentence in my head! Pookie makes this story just so much livelier.
The supernatural element in Nocturnal might be guessable from the synopsis with one phrase from the synopsis “Their race has lived beneath the earth for centuries”. You might think vampires? Or even werewolves. Let me tell you, your wrong. I was very pleased with the introduction these creatures. In introducing these weird creatures, Scott Sigler uses a lot of science that was very cool and which I haven’t encountered in any other book besides that of Ancestor on of his earlier books. The way Scott Sigler implements it all was done with careful planning and the necessary background research. I couldn’t find fault with in it and even more with writing up the terms of DNA, PCR to amplify it, the Punnet squares and genetic analysis and syndromes. The depth of this technology added a quite serious sense to the story of Nocturnal.
Now I am not going to mention anything of the supernatural threats that haunt Bryan and the city of San Francisco it is something that you have to experience for yourself. All I can say, its new, its inventive, its not something you have encountered before! And I think that the premise of these creature will at least creep you out. Nocturnal was not fully in the lines a classic horror story but it is in the lines of Scott Sigler’s earlier works. He has put his own signature on horror with his stories. There were plenty of gruesome moments that made me look away from the pages, owing to the viciousness of Maria’s Children.
Nocturnal is an excellent stand-alone thriller, will must appease to thriller and urban fantasy fans alike. Scott Sigler knows both how to write up a great idea of a story and make it together with a set of hard and funny characters. The worded dialogues between Bryan and Pookie, and Pookie’s comments in particular added, to this dark storyline, a bit more lighter comically air. That put more than often a grin on my face. Nocturnal moved with a very fast pacing, building up the tension in the first half of the book and fully letting all this tension pay-off to the fullest in the second half of the book. The twists in this book are a plenty and keep Nocturnal unpredictable never know what was hiding behind the next corner, its not only the threat of the supernatural creatures, but is the SFPD all that it seems to be? If you are a fan of darker than dark horror, you must have read Nocturnal.