Saturday, June 2, 2012
"The Bride Wore Black Leather" by Simon R. Green
My name is John Taylor. The Nightside is my home. I didn't plan it that way. In fact, I once tried to get away. But I cam back. And now it seems I'm settling down, with a full-time job (in addition to my work as a very private eye) as Walker - the new representative of the Authorities in the Nightside - and a wedding in the offing.
I'm marrying the love of my life, Suzie Shooter, the Nightside's most fearsome bounty hunter. But nothing comes easy here. Not life. Not death. And for certain, not happily-ever-after. Before I can say "I do," I have one more case to solve as a private eye - and my first assignment as Walker.
Both jobs would be a lot easier to accomplish if I weren't on the run, from friends and enemies alike. And if my bride-to-be weren't out to collect the bounty on my head...
I'm sort of feeling a love-hate relationship with this entry in Green's Nightside series. As always, I love John Taylor and his weird and wicked world. But this time felt...somehow less. Perhaps it's due to John's new role as Walker, although I couldn't really tell much difference from "old" John to "new" John. He might be a bit more reserved in his reactions to people, a bit less violent in how he handles them, but I don't think that was it. I just couldn't quite put my finger on it...
Perhaps the problem was the pacing of the story. Once I read the book blurb, I expected John to be on the run for most of the book, and that isn't the case at all. In fact, the running doesn't start until about half-way through this story, and I never felt like John was in any real danger; I knew he'd end up being cleared. I also didn't believe that Suzie was one of the many looking to bring him in and/or kill him. I don't know if that's because I couldn't believe the character would ever do such a thing or if Green just didn't do a good enough job convincing me that she had turned on John, too.
But all is not lost; the main adventure of the story has John paired with Julian Advent. I've always adored Julian and his proper British gentleman manner, and he's a perfect foil for John. Also happy to see John's secretary/girl Friday, Cathy, who has been all too absent in the last few installments. Actually, we see a lot of John's old friends and enemies, and after reading the reviews on Amazon, I now know why: this is the last book in the Nightside series. It still doesn't change my opinion of it being a solid "C", and I guess that's what disappoints me. I would like to have felt that the last book was an "A+", sending John out with a bang, which is what he deserves. As this book stands, I would say Green sent him out with a fairly decent but reserved party. Sad to see him go, but perhaps my feelings are an indication that it's time to say farewell to this old friend.
Then again, Green's website says: Please note; This is the last Nightside novel featuring John Taylor and friends and the last Nightside novel for the time being.
I'm thinking we haven't seen the last of John Taylor. In that case, I will say "adieu" rather than goodbye...