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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Horror (2012)
Scott Sigler reinvented the alien-invasion story in his bestselling novels Infected and Contagious … rebooted the biotech thriller in Ancestor …now, in his most ambitious, sweeping novel to date, he works his magic on the paranormal thriller, taking us inside a terrifying underworld of subterranean predators that only his twisted mind could invent.

Homicide detective Bryan Clauser is losing his mind. How else to explain the dreams he keeps having—dreams that mirror, with impossible accuracy, the gruesome serial murders taking place all over San Francisco? How else to explain the feelings these dreams provoke in him—not disgust, not horror, but excitement? 

As Bryan and his longtime partner, Lawrence “Pookie” Chang, investigate the murders, they learn that things are even stranger than they at first seem. For the victims are all enemies of a seemingly ordinary young boy—a boy who is gripped by the same dreams that haunt Bryan.  Meanwhile, a shadowy vigilante, seemingly armed with superhuman powers, is out there killing the killers.  And Bryan and Pookie’s superiors—from the mayor on down—seem strangely eager to keep the detectives from discovering the truth.

Doubting his own sanity and stripped of his badge, Bryan begins to suspect that he’s stumbled into the crosshairs of a shadow war that has gripped his city for more than a century—a war waged by a race of killers living in San Francisco’s unknown, underground ruins, emerging at night to feed on those who will not be missed.

And as Bryan learns the truth about his own intimate connections to the killings, he discovers that those who matter most to him are in mortal danger…and that he may be the only man gifted—or cursed—with the power to do battle with the nocturnals.

Featuring a dazzlingly plotted mystery and a terrifying descent into a nightmarish underworld—along with some of the most incredible action scenes ever put to paper, and an explosive, gut-wrenching conclusion you won’t soon forget—Nocturnal is the most spectacular outing to date from one of the genre’s brightest stars.  

566 pages, Hardcover

First published April 3, 2012

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About the author

Scott Sigler

120 books4,041 followers

Get Scott's free, unabridged weekly audiobook episodes from iTunes by subscribing to his podcast.

#1 New York Times best-selling author Scott Sigler is the creator of fifteen novels, six novellas and dozens of short stories. He gives away his stories as weekly, serialized, audiobooks, with over 40 million episodes downloaded.

Scott launched his career by releasing his novels as author-read podcasts. His rabid fans were so hungry for each week’s episode that they dubbed themselves the “Junkies.” The first hit is always free …

He is also is a co-founder of Empty Set Entertainment, which publishes his Galactic Football League series. He lives in San Diego, CA, with his wee little dog Reesie. Both Scott and Reesie are diehard Detroit Lions fans.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 522 reviews
Profile Image for Blaine.
749 reviews613 followers
April 19, 2023
Nocturnal is another strong book by Scott Sigler. I remember listening to the original version of this book years ago, and this rewritten version is far tighter and more polished. It’s a fairly original story, with several really interesting characters. Mr. Sigler consistently works sophisticated science concepts into the structure of his plots, and this book is no exception. If you haven’t read anything by Mr. Sigler before, this stand-alone novel (he writes several series) is a great place to start.
June 15, 2016
3.5 stars
Well........ ok .........I'm a little lost for words here.
Synopsis: This book is basically about a cult and race of eusocial (means only the queen reproduces with the king to make a new queen and everyone else is in different sterile castes) killers who all have a mysterious Z chromosome as well as the regular ones. They came from Europe originally and lived in ships that were abandoned buried when the city began to expand. A group or in this story an individual called Savior was in charge of finding and killing the cult but they also had the same genetic build up as Marie's Children, the cult at least that was why no one wanted the public to know about the cult so the saviors could keep flushing them out.

In the beginning I was totally hooked with the suspense of the writing style and this author really knows how to write action scenes! I don't know how cops act in the US but despite that I found all the characters very realistic and believable. Not necessarily likable but believable. Rex I felt a tad bit sorry for at the end (yes he was a total psycho) I mean .... Sly....... I didn't see that betrayal coming and all he wanted was to be accepted and have people look up to him.... Mind you this is coming from someone who has never fitted in and been bullied a lot.

Call me late to the party but this was the first book I've read with the word "cunt" in it. The first book I read with the f bomb was Evermore when I was 14. I remember being really shocked and aghast but that has improved over the years and now I hardly notice swears in books. In this book there was also a lot of descriptions about "boners" and the male genitalia. While it did make me cringe a bit it would have nauseating for me around 3 to 5 years ago. What I think I would find disturbing in a book would be a sex or rape scene described in graphic detail, but luckily there wasn't that in this book.

I can see why those detail were necessary because the creatures had to be described in raw detail to make them more real. There were quite a bit of gory hardcore scenes but I've got to say I really liked those! Again when I was younger I used to be more sensitive to the loss of a good character but now it just makes the story flow faster. I'm hoping to read Alive by this author soon and I really hope that it won't be sugarcoated in any way because it's a YA book.

I would't recommend this book to anyone who doesn't like graphic violence, gore and descriptions of sex organs. But I would recommend it for people who are looking for a different kind of detective story with plenty more thrills.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews256 followers
March 25, 2014
4.5 Stars

Nocturnal by Scott Sigler was a welcomed surprise. I was already a fan of the author for his post apocalyptic novels. This is an Urban fantasy that plays closer to being a Serial Crime novel with a heavy undertone of the supernatural. This is not a typical urban fantasy, there are no bats or dogs in this one. Brian “The Terminator” and his overweight Asian partner Pooks make quite an interesting team.

What I loved about this novel is that the mystery and the supernatural unfold slowly. Tension builds in poor Bri Bri’s life as he deals with being kicked out by his girlfriend, deals with a Police Chief that seems out for his balls, and he lives with the fact that he seems to be good at killing people. Sigler has created a fun and dark mystery that is laced with comedy and panful banter. It really worked.

“““Pooks, anyone ever tell you that you drive like shit?” I may have heard that once or twice, Bri-Bri. Although I stand by my theory that feces can neither apply for, nor pass, a driver’s license exam.” He accelerated through a yellow-turning-red.”

The cast is fairly large and colorful. Rex is an interesting young man that has had a really shitty life. You cannot help but empathize with him. The story keeps the action going so that this relatively long novel never felt it’s weight. This would make an interesting movie.

The setting, the relationship between our two police heroes, and the funny scenes make this book a gem…

“John looked all around, then back at the cases full of weapons, then at Bryan Clauser. A few hours ago, John had been cowering in his cozy, warm apartment. And now? “Bryan, are we really standing in a Walgreens parking lot passing out guns so we can find an underground complex and shoot monsters?”
Bryan nodded. “That’s right.”
“Hoo-kay,” John said. “Just wanted to clarify.””

Highly recommended!!!

Profile Image for Skip.
3,288 reviews395 followers
July 31, 2016
I think Sigler is a good writer, but did not like this one at all. I had to round up from 1.5 to give 2 stars. There is a lot of creativity in this book: the monsters and ongoing battle to protect San Francisco are pretty good, but the main characters are lame, especially the antagonist Rex and Mommy, and not well developed. Even the good guys (Bryan and Pookie Chang) are uneven, especially the juvenile stupidity of Pookie. It is impossible to fathom him being promoted to be a detective. Bryan's ex-girlfriend (Robin Bo-Bobbin) is still pining over their break-up? Why?? Explain!! At least Robin has a German short-haired pointer named Emma to keep her company. The chief of police is super-strong until she breaks like something made from balsa? C'mon, readers demand more. Read his Infected trilogy instead.
Profile Image for Bill.
1,548 reviews109 followers
April 27, 2018
Government conspiracies, vajayjay faced monsters, Chang bangs, mob wars, serial killers, “Horse Cocks and Virgin Twats”, and a whole lot of crazy antics with the entire city’s fate hanging in the balance.

Yep. It’s all here. Thought is wasn’t going to be?

Then you don’t know Sigler.

I have been a big fan of Mr. Siglers work for a long time. He writes this type of novel very well. A thriller, sci-fi, action, horror tale…with lots of bite to it. Maybe too much bite in this one, because it read a little “long” in spots with a somewhat predictable conclusion. Nonetheless, a very entertaining, action packed thrill ride, per the Sigler usual.
Profile Image for Soo.
2,598 reviews257 followers
March 15, 2020

Low end of 3 Stars
- Narration & Audio Production was Sub-par (Annoying Sound Effects, Swallowing & Breathing)
- The audio production made the story less appealing and more cheesy.
- There were moments in the story that came across well. If the whole book was like that, it would have been more enjoyable. I never felt like the characters and world were established well.
- Ending was less than desirable. It's a total setup for a series. However, this book is not listed under a series.
Profile Image for Kat.
477 reviews166 followers
March 27, 2012
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie

When I first saw this book was available on NetGalley I was SO excited. I loved Scott Sigler's Infected and Contagious when I read them in 2011, and Infected was the first book I can ever recall making me feel physically ill with some very gory passages (and I read hard-core zombie books, I'm not easily rattled!!).

Nocturnal is a fast-paced, edge of your chair, peek between your fingers story – the characters are incredibly well-developed, the monsters are the stuff nightmares are made of and the story is enough to make your skin crawl (and check under the bed before you go to sleep!). The writing is intense and has the perfect balance of detail – descriptive enough to get lost in, not bogged down.

Bryan Chaucer ‘The Terminator’ and Pookie Chang are partners on the San Francisco beat who become involved in the investigation of a series of grisly, unexplainable murders. After Bryan comes down with an unexplainable illness and suffers from a series of nightmares, questions are raised and both Bryan and Pookie find themselves off the case and in the Chief of Police’s bad books. Taking matters into their own hands, they gradually close in on the secret that lurks beneath the streets of sunny San Fran.

Nocturnal is a fast-paced, edge of your chair, peek between your fingers story – the characters are incredibly well-developed, the monsters are the stuff nightmares are made of and the story is enough to make your skin crawl (and check under the bed before you go to sleep!). The writing is intense and has the perfect balance of detail – descriptive enough to get lost in, not bogged down.

At 576 pages, Nocturnal is a big book with a big story, big characters and big monsters. There were a few parts in the early stages of the book where the action could have moved a little more quickly, and the revealing of the monsters is a gradual, teasing process, but when they do come out, be prepared….
Profile Image for Helen.
547 reviews33 followers
March 4, 2018
3.5 stars

A bit of a mixed one for me, I did enjoy it but found it a bit long, and was skimming a little about 2/3 of the way through. Still, I was invested enough in the characters to need to know what became of them in the end and there was no shortage of thrills, excitement and some unexpected deaths. I'd consider it more urban-fantasy rather than horror (I imagined the creatures as 'wesen' like, from the TV show, 'Grimm'), though there was an abundance of the 'ick' factor! (read as - there's a lot of pee...and also 'mommy'...eww).
Profile Image for Mieneke.
782 reviews84 followers
April 25, 2012
The blurb from the book jacket found above is pretty long, but I think it gives a good impression what the book is about. In fact when I read the blurb, I couldn't wait to review this book. Urban fantasy with SFPD homicide detectives? A supernatural police procedural? How could I resist? Add to that all the high praise I've heard for Sigler's writing in the blogosphere and on the podcasts I listen to and Nocturnal seemed the perfect book to acquaint myself with Sigler's writing. And I have to say, Sigler lived up to expectations. Nocturnal was a page-turner from page one and had me riveted to the story till its explosive end.

The main idea for the story – a race of underground killers, who are more than human and have some interesting physical aberrations, and the cops who discover them – is a great one and I really enjoyed Sigler's execution. The development of the narrative was well-balanced and well-paced, as the reader given clues throughout, but Sigler still manages to surprise her with the way these clues come together. The pacing is fast, very fast, but not so fast as to miss out on details. But once this story gets rolling, which it does pretty much for the get-go, it doesn't stop. Even in the down-time scenes, when the main characters are either resting or brainstorming the case, where the physical action stops and lets the reader take a breather, it's still important for the reader to pay close attention, because important information, clues and background on the characters is given at such times. While the book is set in San Francisco and there are certain elements in the narrative that are unique to that city, Sigler leaves the city largely undescribed. At least, I don't really have a sense of what the city was like other than big, hilly, it's got the Golden Gate Bridge and there are a Chinese and an Italian quarter. The rest of the visuals were filled in by what I've seen of the city on TV, but not in any great detail. What was described in detail and was incredibly visual for me was Home, the place where the killers live. It was faintly reminiscent of the lair in the Beauty and the Beast TV show, which I remember watching when I was little, although this is the nightmare version of that lair. Small, cramped, dirty, dangerous and filled with monstrous killers, Sigler's description of Home evoked a claustrophobic and eerie feeling. The final battle set in Home and the ending of the book were great and I literally didn't want to put the book down for the last fifty pages.

The characters in Nocturnal are fabulous. Our protagonists are easy to care for and some of the things they go through are heartbreaking, to the point that I was telling the book it had better not go there, even if I knew it would. The central characters are Bryan Clauser and Pookie Chang, two SF homicide inspectors, who've been partners for about six years. I loved this pair. They are your typical cop buddy duo (if that wasn't a term, it is now), but the banter and smart-ass humour that gets passed between these two, as well as the genuine friendship between the two, set them apart. I especially liked Pookie's irrepressible nature and he was my favourite in the book. They're supported by medical examiner Robin Hudson, Bryan's ex-girlfriend, and Pookie's erstwhile partner and current departmental computer wizard, John Smith. I liked that while these two are Bryan's and Pookie's support team, they definitely have story development of their own, with John's story arc being the stronger and more satisfying of the two. The bad guys were bad guys, but not in a black-and-white moral compass way. Some of these characters were genuinely scary, especially Rex. At the start Rex is a character the reader feels compassion for: a half-orphaned boy, left with an abusive mother, sexually abused by their former priest, bullied at school, it is hard not to pity Rex. But during Nocturnal, Rex slowly changes and at first it's still understandable, who wouldn't go slightly crazy with all the terrible stuff Rex has to deal with on a daily basis, but the further along in the book we get, the more disturbing Rex's transformation becomes. In the end, Rex is no longer a figure to be pitied; he is a figure to be feared and despised. In a similar way, Hillary and Firstborn, two of the underground killers, are frightening, but when we learn their motivations for their actions and decisions, they might not become likeable, but there is a certain kind of respect created for them. They aren't mindless killers and within their reality and society they are almost justified in their actions.

Sigler's writing style is another contributing factor to my enjoyment of this novel. His prose is pithy, with short chapters – making the just one-more-chapter thing nigh on impossible to break free from – and great dialogue. There is a lot of humour in this book and most of it is in the dialogue, particularly any scene with Pookie in it. While I loved this dialogue-heavy style and Pookie's smart mouth, I can also see where this might annoy other readers, so if you dislike a lot of dialogue or smart-assery, Nocturnal might not be the best fit for you. The novel also felt well-researched, from the police and medical examiner procedures to the genetic science bits, they all felt real and correct. I especially loved the historical nugget of the buried ships. I didn't know this and I loved the way Sigler incorporated these into his novel.

Nocturnal was an awesome read for me. I was captivated by the book from the start and while the ending was very satisfying and I raced through those last pages to get there, at the same time I'm disappointed I finished the book and I won't get to spend more time with Bryan and Pookie. If you like your urban fantasy thriller-styled or you're a crime reader who'd like to branch-out into a bit more of a fantasy setting, Nocturnal might be a good choice. But genre classifications aside, if you like a great story, filled with action and mystery, you just shouldn't miss Nocturnal, as it’s a thrilling ride through and under San Francisco's streets, that will leave you breathless and wanting more.

This book was sent to me for review by the publisher.
Profile Image for Jason.
1 review
May 29, 2012
Ever been bullied? Ever wished the bully would just die? What if you drew images of the bully being torn apart and the next morning, you see on the news that the bully was murdered? What would you do?

Ever had a dream you could swear was real? Ever walked into a place you have never been before, just to have an overwhelming sense of deja vu? What if where you walked is a murder scene because you are a homicide detective? And what if in your dream you murdered someone, the same someone you see murdered now at this crime scene?

Scott Sigler takes the concept of a buddy cop movie, with action-filled gun fights and humor laced one-liners and stereotypes, and injects it with legit science and fantastic horror. The result is a story that explores the deepest darkest parts of the human psyche. What happens when a weakling is given incredible power? What happens when a cop on the edge loses the only thing that keeps him from embracing his blood thirsty side?

After you read this and want more, which you will, go over to http://scottsigler.com/ and find out about more of Scott Sigler's work. After Nocturnal I suggest you either read Ancestor of Infected to continue to experience this awesome writing style.
Profile Image for Gwen.
406 reviews
March 1, 2021
Ok, this was awesome! Action-packed horror, suspense, and an intriguing story. I really didn't care for how the female characters seem to exist as sexual objects or love interests or how all the males have a misogynistic attitude, however, that's my only criticism for this book. While it didn't keep me from enjoying the book, it was definitely a major annoyance. I couldn't put this book down for the last third, it was that intense. You want monsters that live in underground tunnels, murderous mutant machines, vigilante killers, high death counts, lots of action, and a little romance? It's "X-Men" meets "Cabal." Highly recommend this!
154 reviews
March 1, 2013
How disappointing. I really liked Ancestor and hoped for something as good here, but this book was awful. The characters were two dimensional (I still can't get past that one of the main characters was named Pookie.), and there was nothing about them that made me care about what happened to them. Maybe the author could have worked in some real character development in between the mind-numbing action scenes. And the monsters were just ridiculous! A snake man? I don't care how stealthy these people were supposed to be, someone would have captured a cell phone pic. What would have been truly scary would have been if the "humans" with the Zed chromosome looked like normal humans and had a goal to blend in and ultimately remove the normal humans.
Profile Image for Chris Torretta.
863 reviews38 followers
June 22, 2018
Scott Sigler has a crazy imagination.

This seems like a cop drama, and then turns into something entirely different. With all the bells and whistles!

Full Review coming to ruffdayreviews.com for Summer of Horror!
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews605 followers
May 28, 2012
Wow, this was incredibly disturbing. And sometimes hilarious. And maybe too crass for my liking in parts too, unfortunately. Yet the summary doesn't lie though, despite my misgivings at the beginning, it really is a terrifying descent into a nightmarish world along with some of the most incredible action scenes put to paper, I am thoroughly impressed. A line from the book sums up Nocturnal to a hilt, it absolutely delivers on mutants, vigilantes, and murderers. And if a certain detective hadn't annoyed me so much with his wiseass behavior for the first third of this book, would've been five stars for sure.

Basically, that's my one and only criticism. Pookie Chang is at first just way too over the top crass for me. Some of his material, like calling another office Black Mister Burns, worked, but other stuff was just racist, sexist, and distracted me from the plot, which also had a hard time coming together at first. I know a lot of it was just setting up the characters, setting, and mystery, but the investigative portion could've moved a little faster, I wasn't really liking this book until the second action packed half. And at times it almost felt like Bryan Clauser, supposedly the main character, is overshadowed by the supporting players, Pookie, Robin the medical examiner, and others are definitely more memorable, for better or worse, at least to me.

Some things in the first couple of chapters are more than a little confusing too, the point of Aggie, the focus on Rex and the bullies, heck what exactly was going on, but once the plot came together, wow. There's some incredibly dark and twisted stuff, matricide, mass murders, cannibalism, including a comment that a particular character tasted delicious in a stew, but all of it worked well with the story, and even more surprisingly, worked with Chang's crassness too for the most part. And the ending, not only action packed and unpredictably satisfying, but the character development worked out awesomely. Like I was probably almost as angry with Chief Zou as Bryan was, for stonewalling the investigation without giving a really good reason, but turns out her fears really weren't unfounded, and she and the others involved in the coverup sort of get their comeuppance. And the role of Aggie, Rex, the bullies, I liked how they all tied into the plot. And there's enough loose ends I can see the premise for a second book.

Anyway, Nocturnal's not for the faint of heart, or yes, anyone's who's easily offended. And the first half is honestly really probably only around average or a little better. But past that, thing pick up, get nightmarishly memorable. The second half of this book is definately going to stay with me for awhile. Oh, and if cops really behave like that in real life, in front of FBI agents and an Assistant District Attorney, I'll be horrified, but will take back my criticism and bump this up to five stars.
Profile Image for Shannon.
13 reviews6 followers
May 27, 2013
Scott Sigler is a god. What I would give just to pick his brain for an hour...

At first I was a bit weary about this novel. I'm not too into cop dramas. But holy shit, this was a fantastic book. Infected is probably my favourite horror of all time and one of my very favourite books. I am just so delighted to see Sigler going leaps and bounds beyond that, outdoing himself. Now I'm on a Sigler-fever. I want more, more, more!

Here's why I'm so in love: Infected was a simpler story, fewer characters and plotlines. In Nocturnal, he just goes crazy and I love it. The depth of detail in all the different characters (and when I say characters, I mean characters, Sigler makes the smallest of them so damn interesting) shows how skilled he is in his world building. Not to mention the nocturnals take mutants to a whole 'nother level.

On top of that, it was the feeling. I had so many feelings while reading this book - for me, there was so much laughter, excitement, sadness, and at one point I had to close the book, actually murmuring out loud something along the lines of No. Nooo. Nononono... And this is coming from the girl who read Infected and didn't cringe at the chicken scissors.

(And yes, I'm putting a lot of italics in this. Emphasis is needed.)

Let me tell you right now, the two parts of the book are completely different. The first it's like, oh, a creepy cop case, the one cop is totally having these weird dreams about murderers, I think he totally might be in on it but doesn't even know, it could be like possession man, some weird shit is going down and the next part is just like THIS IS SOME CRAZY SCI-FI SHIT! HOLY HELL!

And it's so hilarious! Sigler manages to insert some of the funniest one-liners in his horror stories, it's just unbelievable. I couldn't tell you all the times I burst out laughing in public, invoking some strange stares. For all the thrill-seekers, this book also has its fair share of chases, shoot-outs and brutal kills. I'm not that into the former two but there wasn't ONE MOMENT where I was bored during this book.

And that's the great thing, isn't it? I was just so thrilled, all the way through. This may be my favourite book now. If that doesn't garner five stars, I don't know what does.

Need I say more? It's a funny, terrifying, wonderful journey of a novel. I encourage anyone to embark on it. And if afterwards you happen to have a nightmare about ripping a teenager's arm off with your teeth, I wouldn't worry about it.

It's just a dream, after all.
Profile Image for J.   ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
1,213 reviews44 followers
April 19, 2017
ALL the eyes. ALL the teeth.

I am a huge fan of Mr. Sigler's audiobooks. I like his style, his characters, the way he weaves a story and his intros/outros have me addicted to The Transfer.

All that said, I think I have a love/hate opinion of this book. The overall story is great, there's fantastic action throughout, but there are scenes so cringe inducing they will be giving me disgusted chills for years to come. I can handle gore. I can handle horror. I can't handle some of the things that go through Sigler's head.

This book had a slightly different feel from the other Sigler books I've listened to. I haven't put my finger on the difference yet, maybe it's the new narrator? Maybe it's because this is a different genre.

This is the first of Mr. Sigler's books that he didn't narrate himself. This is a tragedy as I have come to really enjoy his narration style. According to his blog the decision was made because he has too much on his plate, so if a new narrator means more writing...so be it. The narration mantle was passed to Phil Gigante, who did a great job.

Uh...Mr. Sigler? Did you just refer to a loogie as a "goober rocket"? I don't even...

RELIGION. I am a religious guy. It's just who I am and who I've been since the age of 17. This book seemed more hostile toward the religious than any I have read in a long time. If someone in the book is religious they are either a pedophile, a psychopath, or someone that doesn't come anywhere near living a Christ-like life. Some authors need to realize that you can disagree with something without hating those that disagree with you. I read books by authors who's opinions couldn't possibly differ more from my own (John Scalzi is an excellent example), if they don't shove their misguided opinions down my throat then we get along just fine. I hope Mr. Sigler makes amends with his hate.

Update: Second listen. Still a wild book. Still a lot of cringe. The first time through I didn't realize how much of a penis fixation Sigler had during the writing of this book.
Profile Image for Luke Nyland.
69 reviews9 followers
June 5, 2012
I'll be honest, I wasn't planning on giving this book a 4-star rating; I was going to give it a firm 3-star, but changed my mind for reasons I'll explain.

The character development in this book was brilliant. The reader is given enough information about each person that we form a perfect image of what they look/sound/act like, but not SO much that the story is bogged down with too much descriptive information. The dialogue between characters seamlessly informs us what things look like and how people are acting without the irritating pages of metaphor that can appear in other books.

(Don't worry, no spoilers) The story isn't terribly original. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but while reading it you can sort of guess what's happening next. This predictability was what drew me towards a 3-star rating. What made me "round-up" to a 4-star rating was the exceptional characters and interesting quirks throughout the story. Sure you pretty much know what's going to happen next, but you certainly enjoy the ride!

This book was featured on Sword & Laser on the Geek and Sundry channel when it launched, where they interviewed the author, Scott Sigler. The description of the story made me instant want to read it, but having read it I think the description pretty much summed up the whole thing; like a movie trailer that shows you all the best bits.

According to Sigler, this is a stand-alone novel set apart from the other 'worlds' he writes. I'd be interested to see how his other novels compare to this one. The ending for this felt a little bit rushed; which, and I'm not basing this on anything solid, might be because he's used to writing series of books where the story can, obviously, continue beyond the end of each book.

I won't pass judgement on books I haven't read; all I'll say is that if his other books are anything like this one, they'll be very enjoyable to read (as evidenced by the fact that I RINSED through this book in about a week!), but won't introduce many new and exciting ideas.
7 reviews1 follower
May 14, 2012
I picked up this ebook based on an interview with Scott Sigler on the podcast Sword and Laser ( http://swordandlaser.geekandsundry.co... interview starts at about 5:15). As he notes in the interview, Nocturnal is a bizarre mixture of cop drama and monster flick; I believe the comparison he makes is Lethal Weapon mixed with an 80's slasher film, and that is a fairly accurate picture of this novel. What is impressive about Sigler is his use of language; the language is common and flows easily and I usually found myself reading pages and pages without even realizing it... combine this with relatively short chapters and I had an incredibly quick read on my Kindle Fire, even though I believe it is almost 600 pages long.

I wouldn't recommend this to hardcore horror fans or those who like the deep, complex nature of a good mystery. Sigler blends the two well, but in doing so doesn't write a particularly scary or thought provoking read. It is an interesting mixture though, and his use of basic scientific principles to back up his horrific monsters is a nice touch. I wouldn't recommend this for the weak of heart though... the violence is described quite graphically, and is occasionally mixed with sexuality that might be uncomfortable for some. If you're looking for a bloody, mysterious read that is plain fun, you could do a lot worse than Nocturnal.
Profile Image for BigJohn.
301 reviews14 followers
April 30, 2012
Nocturnal describes itself as a buddy-cop movie mixed with Hellboy. That's a pretty good description of this latest book by Scott Sigler. The fourth of his books from Crown, this is another refreshing new story that combines hard (and complicated) science with fantastical creatures.

This story is a longtime favorite of his fans, and Scott assured his followers that this new telling of the story was largely different from the original. He was right. The story has been expanded on and improved, yet remains easy to zip through, as each chapter leaves you hanging for what happens next. No matter what you may have thought of the story previously, you owe it to yourself to see how much more mature it has gotten.

Nocturnal is full of great characters; the police force and its support network of medical examiners and forensic specialists, informants with the most ridiculous combination of handicaps you can think of, long time police partners, and the newest cast of offshoot mutants that only come out at night.

Don't be too intimidated by the science; it gets pretty heavy in one part, but the rest of the story flows like a chocodile on a hot summer day.
86 reviews1 follower
February 18, 2013
This book had a cool premise and I kind of liked it. But the first half of the book reads like a cop thriller and then devolves into this mutant war.

I thought the holding cell parts were super scary and well done. But the rest of the book simply took way too long to develop the plot. You seriously read like 200 pages before you even start to get into the meat of the plot.

I loved Pookie. He was a fun and well written character and of course Black Mr. Burns turned out to be an interesting one as well. But Bryan, one of the main characters, was the stereotype quiet dark hero that breaks the rules. Not a ton of depth there. Plus, it felt like Firstborn was a character created to help explain a plot point. I am not a fan when authors do that.
97 reviews8 followers
February 17, 2014
                           Okay, so the rundown is as follows: Nocturnal is a book with a lot of cool ideas. It follows Inspector Bryan Clauser and his partner Pookie Chang as they chase down cults, conspiracies, and serial-killing monsters in the streets of San Francisco. The last two hundred pages are a powerhouse of a ride, and a lot of the twists are well-built and not telegraphed. Scott Sigler knows what he's doing, and when it shines through, it shines. The characters' chemistry and some humor from the hunter of the supernatural not knowing exactly what he's doing also lend itself to some good scenes.

                                The problem is that there are three hundred pages before that, a lot of which tends to feel kind of like bloat and slows the momentum down a little, when Sigler's at his best with the throttle wide open and the plots breathless. The other major problem is that the main character is very hard to connect to, and that the plot feels kind of more built from conveniences than logical conclusions, and there are a lot of leaps. 

                                  But in the end, despite its flaws, I highly recommend looking into Scott Sigler's books, and if you happen to find it on the library shelf, go ahead and give Nocturnal a try. You may find you like it more than I do. I just wouldn't recommend buying it. 

More, as always, below.

"How about Chang and Clauser, then?"

"It sounds like a cop show, if it was about gay cops. Who moonlighted as interior decorators."

"I'd watch the hell out of that. It'd be, like, my favorite show of all time."

- Bryan Clauser and Pookie Chang      

         I'd like to talk about organic plotting for a second. Organic plotting is the term given to plots that occur, well, organically. Actions follow actions. You can nod your head and go "yes, this conclusion meets this premise". The opposite of Mass Effect 3, is what I'm saying. Now, while this may sound like the easiest thing in the world to do, it's not actually that easy to get right. Things need to happen in plots, and they need to happen a certain way, and that way and the things that need to happen may not line up with the plot. And it is hell and a half in a handbasket to scrap a plot and rework it so that the characters and situations occur organically. Even then, when it's deployed correctly, the plot may not be interesting enough to continue. Similarly, the plot ideas you have may be the centerpiece of the story, and getting there may be an issue. 

                              Sitting pretty opposite of organic plotting is "plotting of convenience". This is actually simpler to set up, but harder to do well. The issue with plotting of convenience is that it all feels kind of contrived to set up the coincidences. In a mystery story, this could possibly mean that the hero follows a series of intuitive decisions and random associative deductions to get to where they want. In a science fiction or fantasy novel, the idea of causality or destiny often appears*. In the most egregious examples, things just happen regardless of rhyme or reason, mostly because they need to happen. People just happen to find the right clue. Which leads to the right person. And the right person has something that blows the case wide open. When it happens a few times, it gets the plot to move along the right way. When it happens multiple times over the course of a rather lengthy novel, it gets a little thinner.

                               Nocturnal by Scott Sigler kind of straddles the line on contrived plotting of convenience, and plotting of convenience that actually works. It's a weird "supernatural" horror story (more on that later), so some of the conveniences and coincidences make perfect sense. Especially when it's tied to the set of "powers" that the hero has. But only some of them. There are some logic leaps that, despite this being a story about nocturnal serial-murdering monsters living in modern-day San Francisco, that the book tends to accept without taking a moment to wonder why such things happen. And if this were the one issue with the book, I'd probably end there and sing its praises. But, well...

                             Nocturnal is first and foremost the story of Bryan Clauser. Bryan is a detective in the SFPD, and lives a fairly solitary life. His ex-girlfriend made him move out, he doesn't have much in the way of friends, and his co-workers in the department nicknamed him "Terminator" because he shot four people in the line of duty. He's the kind of man who leaves his house each day armed to the teeth just to be safe, seems cold to the few people who aren't in his tight inner circle, and is mostly defined by his job. His partner, Pookie Chang, is a wisecracking overweight homicide inspector whose dream is to make a cop drama series centered around his self-insert character, tentatively titled Blue Balls. Bryan and Pookie are called in on a homicide, a former pedophile priest who has been rather messily dismembered and urinated on in an alleyway. Bryan, however, smells something else, some odd mix of pheromones under the urine stink, and immediately gets sick.

And then things get weird.

                              Bryan gets better. Much better. Like, able to take standing leaps on to the top of vans better. And he's healing faster, too. At the same time, a young man named Rex draws violent pictures of people he'd like to see dead. People that start turning up dead, at murder scenes with strange symbols painted in the victims' blood. Meanwhile, Bryan and Pookie try to track down the murderers with the help of Bryan's medical examiner ex-girlfriend, and Pookie's former partner who now works in graffiti analysis. But these are no ordinary killers, and the heroes will have to deal with a decades-spanning coverup as well as a breed of killer that is both more and less than human. And in the end, Bryan Clauser and his friends will discover things about both Bryan and the city he lives in that were probably best left undisturbed. If they live long enough, that is.

                                  I suppose what leads off for me is that the chemistry between the leads is great. I know this isn't something people usually say about novels, but it really helps. Especially in an age where a lot of authors seem to forget that such a thing is incredibly important and can actually help out the plot. Pookie and Bryan really do feel like they've been there for each other for years, and that shows through in every joke and carefully tossed barb and even the lines the two of them exchange during danger. Even when the core cast expands to three, and then four, they feel close. Like more than coworkers, but still their own people. 

                                  The other biggest strength of Nocturnal is that Scott Sigler can write an amazing, brutal horror story once he gets going. The last two hundred pages of Nocturnal are real white-knuckle stuff, and there's an element of uncertainty there about who will live and who will die that helps ratchet up the tension nicely, leading to a gruesome and cathartic climax. Sigler knows what he's doing, and to be fair, a lot of the time it's hard to see the twists coming, or to figure out who's on whose side. The energy, the way the plot moves when it gets cooking, and the astonishing narrative dexterity is all very impressive. I also have to commend Sigler for making his hero somewhat ordinary despite his powers and all the help he gets when the novel gets moving. It makes some of the choices he makes and some of the defeats suffered later in the book a lot more organic, and that definitely benefits the plot. 

                                  But you may notice a lot of caveats in that paragraph, and there's a reason for that. The book is five hundred and sixty-six pages long. The plot doesn't start moving at the white-knuckle tautly-plotted point I just praised until about three hundred pages or so into the work. And a lot of that plotting can be streamlined. Yes, there's a reason to develop the characters in those early pages, and to set up some of the early murders, and there's a lot of work Sigler does getting the villain into place. But providing relevant context does not help Sigler's case. Especially when the book spends a lot of the time it could be spending moving the plot forward instead fleshing people out with expository character development instead. I'm of the opinion that Sigler's strengths are when he's pitching fastballs and flinging everything he has at the reader in rapid-fire pace. He doesn't strike me as a particularly slow-play kind of person. And some of the pacing kills the mood, where points that are taut, suspenseful, and horrific are strung between scenes of dialogue and character development. It also kind of kills the energy, which turns some points of the novel into a slog.

                                The other issue with the plot is that a lot of it seems to be plotting of convenience. The heroes tend to battering-ram their way through the plot when simply taking a moment to look at things could possibly have led to the same solution earlier. There's a lot of luck going on, be it Bryan and Pookie not getting fired from their jobs for going so far away from (even streamlined) protocol that the question wasn't "will these two get fired", but "when will these two get themselves and their friends fired" and "why have they not been fired if this is the way they run the investigation?" Even when things make sense, the heroes tend to stumble on the one clue that fires up a whole cascade of investigation from point to point, and it just feels a little...false in places. 

                                And a great deal of that character development is expository. Now, I'm not by any means saying exposition is a bad thing. It provides valuable context to the scenes, can help push along any reluctant plots, and helps explain why we should care about the events going on, rather than just having them shoved in our faces. But the old rule has always been "show, don't tell", and this is where the book falters. We hear a lot about Bryan Clauser. We hear that he gets results. We hear that he's saved several peoples' lives, and they're indebted to him no matter how much of a jerk he is. There are long paragraphs talking about what each character is, what they do, and people commenting on them. But there are, at least in the front part of the book, very few examples of them doing things.  And this is what sinks it for me. That we get a lot of information, but very little is done. Yes, there are a few incidents here and there, but the time between them could have been shortened without much effort. 

                               Which brings me to the characters themselves. There are some good, fleshed-out characters in Nocturnal. There are also some characters that have added depth, making them more sympathetic than they initially appear to be (the police chief would be a big one). There is also an entire cast of villains who are not sympathetic in the least, but are somewhat intriguing overall. If only the hero weren't a blank, most of the information about whom is filled in by the supporting cast. While eventually Bryan becomes more of a character, it is in spite of this constant narration, not because of it. 

                             But even then, when the book finally reaches its climax and Bryan receives his development and the cast starts getting taken out left and right, some of it feels like Sigler enforcing an "anyone can die" attitude, and some of it just feels like he's sacrificing characters so his protagonist gets more development. Which is annoying, since the protagonist is ultimately the least compelling of the bunch***, and while he's got more than his share of questions I wanted answered, I felt like the book shone more when the POV was taken away from Bryan Clauser and given to the numerous other characters. It makes a little sense, it's Clauser's origin story from enigmatic blank to superpowered hunter of whatever it is, but in most cases, that's handled a lot quicker than it is here. 

                            In the end, if you're in the mood for a good horror-thriller with a weird-science edge, I'd suggest taking this out of the library and giving it a spin. Sigler has definite writing chops, and the book feels like Nightbreed if you viewed it from the human side. It's also a good thriller if you want to switch things off a little and go in for a B-movie with some teeth to it. But personally, I'd look to Sigler's other, leaner books if you want to get into him. Nocturnal is a little bloated, the slow-play doesn't work completely in its favor, and while there's one hell of a payoff, the journey could stand to be a little tighter. Still, despite my issues, I enjoyed it, and I want to look up other works of Sigler's to compare notes.


- City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte


- The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan

- Mainspring by Jay Lake

- The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

- Koko by Peter Straub



*Soft sci-fi. Hard sci-fi fans who also read this blog**, please do not write in telling me I made a mistake with this.

** All two of you. Hi, guys!

***And also it verges on the old trope of trauma/loss making someone dark and complex and brooding. Which, as Garth Ennis rightfully pointed out in The Boys, does not usually happen. It usually just makes someone wanna curl up and wither away.
Profile Image for Chris Miller.
Author 39 books139 followers
March 20, 2019
NOCTURNAL by Scott Sigler is a fantastic dark urban fantasy that literally blew me away.

I've not read Sigler before this outing, but I've heard tell of his books and the ravings seem completely justified after finishing this gem. We've got a pair of San Francisco cops who are investigating some really gruesome murders, which continue on from adults and then to some punk teenagers. But as their investigation is just getting off the ground, the Chief of Police yanks them off the case and puts another team on, who seem to be just going through the motions and trying to sweep the whole thing under the rug.

But they're not letting it go.

As the body count rises, and it becomes evident that a vigilante killer is involved trying to take out the serial killers, Brian and Pooky are thrust into a world of monsters, superhumans, strange DNA, and a widespread coverup to hide the whole thing. As the tensions rise, things get weirder and weirder, while a teenage boy with a growing bloodlust suddenly finds himself king of an army of beasts.

I. Freaking. LOVED. This. Book! Much of it reads almost like horror, and there are some gruesome deaths throughout, but at the same time we are witnessing a comic-book style origin story, and I simply cannot wait for me. The discovery of powers and strength came across naturally, and we are sufficiently kept in the dark for much of the story, due to the masterful detective mystery aspect of the book for the first half or so.

The characters are widely varied and wonderfully drawn, their flaws and qualities presented bluntly and without shame. These are real people we're reading, and we fall in love with quite a few of them and are filled with delicious hate for many of the villains, while yet others we merely feel pity for. Pookie Chang, the main character's partner, is in my opinion the single GREATEST sidekick ever penned. Period, full stop. There are sections of the book where his character sort of takes over the narrative and it is this that raises him to the level it does. Typically we don't get that much on the sidekick, he's just there and around, but we really get into his head in this book and every time he was in a scene, I would smile. He's hilarious, a bit of a chauvinist, tosses out racial and ethnic slurs as casually as you might throw away a candy bar wrapper, and he's a touch misogynist. But he's also honest, hard-working, loyal, and would lay down his life for anyone who needed him to. Just a brilliant character.

And all the rest are great as well. This book is just fantastic, and I can't recommend it enough. The dialogue and pacing are terrific, the characters as real as they come, the story simply awesome, and it has likely the best action scenes I've seen written in a book anywhere. You can't miss with this one, nor should you.

Go grab a copy of NOCTURNAL now!
Profile Image for Gregoire.
986 reviews40 followers
September 16, 2020
Pas le temps de souffler malgré des personnages multiples aux destins différents et certains (en particulier Pookie Chang) dotés d'humour parfois noir et d'une solide personnalité
Un peu trop d'actions même à mon goût pour être crédible car malgré sa nature (dévoilée petit à petit) , Brian encaisse tout plein de blessures qui apparemment ne ralentissent ni son action ni l'hécatombe générale !!!
Mais, voilà, l'auteur sait rendre ses personnages (des 2 côtés, les bons et les méchants mutants) plutôt réels et presque sympathiques Il y a même nos amis à 4 pattes dont le rôle bien que bref n'est pas anodin
Après : quoi de neuf dans le genre ? pas grand chose : c'est l'éternelle guère de la police contre les meurtres atroces commis par le monde des mutants plus variés que de simples vampires ou loup garous Meurtres cachés à la connaissance du grand public bien entendu ! L'auteur a lâché la bride à son imagination quant aux caractéristiques physiques et psychologiques des "autres" tout en leur donnant un passé et des histoires personnelles qui justifient presque leurs actes, leurs envies de vivre leur vie au grand jour, en particulier ceux de Rex...
Cela reste donc une lecture facile avec quelques répliques cinglantes et jubilatoires, lecture certes bien gore mais distrayante à la façon d'une BD ou des films d'actions du genre
A suivre pour des soirées de lecture vide tête
Profile Image for John.
767 reviews45 followers
February 3, 2018
Tough one to rate. The story was good, I liked the characters, especially Pookie and John. I think the ending was just a bit grim for me. I didn't dislike it, but it wasn't my preferred way to end a story.
Profile Image for Dylan Derby.
32 reviews
November 1, 2018
I liked the first half of this book pretty well and the second half was still pretty cool but for me the book spent the first half being very dark and gritty and creepy and then becomes a super human action book for the last third of the novel. Yes it was still fun to read and a good story but it lost some of the charm for me when it became all blazing guns and action hero sequences and all of the creepy factor slowly oozed out by the end. I would read a sequel because I do enjoy the concept and there were some loose ends not tied up, that being said I suppose I just enjoy the build up of Sigler's novels and not always the payoff as the last book of his I read pandemic left me feeling the same way.
May 16, 2017
Ο λόγος που δεν βαθμολόγησα πιο ψηλά το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο είναι πως, περίπου πέντε χρόνια μετά, κυκλοφόρησε μια ανανεωμένη έκδοσή του, όχι απλά με βελτιωμένο κείμενο, αλλά με βελτιωμένη την ίδια την ιστορία η οποία σαφέστατα παρουσιάζει μεγαλύτερο ενδιαφέρον αλλά και έχει καλύτερες προοπτικές. Πλέον το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο δεν κυκλοφορεί, αλλά ακόμα κι αν το βρει κανείς, καλύτερα να επιλέξει την δέυτερη έκδοσή του.
Profile Image for Johanna.
442 reviews15 followers
May 25, 2018
"Nocturnal" is a fun romp that combines some great detective work, engaging characters, a bit of science fiction, and a lot of violence over 563 pages. The plot unites aspects of a crime thriller and a paranormal horror to create an almost believable story about secret monsters living under San Francisco. I did feel that parts of "Nocturnal" dragged on a little too long and the plot was often predictable, but overall it was a fun read. The greatest strength of this novel are the characters and the camp dialogue. If you're looking for a crime horror story that doesn't take itself too seriously, I would recommend "Nocturnal".
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