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The Rain-Soaked Bride
Guy Adams
Del Rey, 323 pages

The Rain-Soaked Bride
Guy Adams
Guy Adams is the author of the best-selling Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition, a spoof police manual ''written by' DCI Gene Hunt of Life On Mars. Published by Transworld, it has sold over 120,000 copies. Guy has also written a two-volume series companion to the show published by Simon & Schuster; a Torchwood novel, The House That Jack Built (BBC Books); and The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes, a fictional facsimile of a scrapbook kept by Doctor John Watson.

Guy Adams Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Clown Service
SF Site Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Infernal
SF Site Review: The World House

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

'"Your basic rule should be never accept anything from anyone."

"What a perfect recipe for a boring week."

"One that you might survive."'

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The Rain-Soaked Bride continues the adventures of the Clown Service, as begun in the novel of the same name. That was one of my top three reads of the year, and so it was with much anticipation that I plucked this work from the bookstore shelves. We all hope sequels will be as good or better than the originals, but as most readers know, that isn't always the case. This time around, after an action filled start in Russia, the plot heads home with a premise that centres around an assassin who can't be killed. When several members of the diplomatic service die in apparently explainable, yet oddly similar circumstances, Section 37 -- aka the Clown Service -- begins to suspect an inhuman killer; an entity known to a select few as the rain-soaked bride. A plan is hatched by Toby Greene, August Shining and crew, to confirm then neutralise the deadly threat. Unfortunately, circumstances require them to do this at a clandestine conference, where their work is hampered by the less than helpful stance of the man in charge. A man who refuses to believe in the supernatural, and because of that prejudice, regards Section 37 as a waste of resources. Is he right, or does The Rain-Soaked Bride crackle with the same energy as its predecessor?

The start, I must admit, surprised me by depicting Toby Greene as an action hero. Greene is active in Russia to keep a promise, and tidy up a significant leftover plot thread. Once I understood why he was doing a British Jack Bauer, I quickly warmed to this different face, and loved the eventual resolution to the opening sequence. Back in Blighty, things become more familiar, and mirror the understated, dry-witted writing style that Guy Adams employed to such fine effect in The Clown Service. Once again we are treated to entertaining interagency bickering, subtle deployment of supernatural elements, an ever twisting whodunit plot, and credible character development. A strong element of literary cinema plays across the screen of the mind's eye, as a splendid cross between Night of the Demon and Johnny English, with a delicate touch of real world authenticity to keep things grounded. The one thing missing that I would love to have seen included, was another excursion into the shadow world, depicted so well in the first novel. But this absence in no way diminished what's on offer, mainly due to the fact that something interesting is always just another page turn away. Clues are scattered, and astute readers may work out the culprit ahead of the big reveal. But that's entirely by design, and all part of the fun. Happily, the ending, while providing a satisfactory conclusion, is also a new beginning. Whether this glimpsed journey goes over a cliff, or burns along the highway like a Bugatti Veyron, remains to be seen. But, I have faith that the author knows what he is doing.

Several writers are now mining a very British style of urban magic, some more convincingly than others. For me, The Rain-Soaked Bride confirms Guy Adams position as the market leader. Unlike some of his rivals, who appear to be treading literary water, Adams' characters move inexorably onward, with just the right balance between the old and the new. An approach which allows the master and his pupil to work in partnership, without one becoming more interesting than the other. The supporting cast also have enough depth to prevent them from crumpling like cardboard cutouts, and the author's alternate take on reality rumbles along with the solidity of a Chieftain tank. In summary, The Rain-Soaked Bride is a thoroughly entertaining sequel, and well worth adding to any urban fantasy collection.

Copyright © 2014 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at www.inkdigital.org.


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