Book Review: Simon R. Green’s The Unnatural Inquirer

Posted March 1, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Simon R. Green’s The Unnatural Inquirer

The Unnatural Inquirer


Simon R. Green

urban fantasy that was published by Ace Books on January 2, 2008 and has 246 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Something From the Nightside, Mean Streets, Agents of Light and Darkness, Nightingale's Lament, Paths Not Taken, Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth, Hell to Pay, Just Another Judgement Day, The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny, A Hard Day's Knight, Hex and the City, The Bride Wore Black Leather, Home Improvement: Undead Edition, Hex Appeal, Man with the Golden Torc, Daemons are Forever, The Spy Who Haunted Me, From Hell with Love, For Heaven's Eyes Only, Live and Let Drood, Casino Infernale, Blue Moon Rising, Tales of the Hidden World, Blood and Honor, From a Drood to a Kill, The Dark Side of the Road, Dead Man Walking, Very Important Corpses, Moonbreaker, Dr. DOA

Eighth in the Nightside dark urban fantasy series for young adults set underneath London.

My Take

Too funny…as usual! This one takes apart trash tabloids and junk merchandisers — you can almost see the marketers and their tacky products as you read! Then there’s that developing romance between Bettie and John — how will Suzie Shooter take this?? And Cathy’s new romance…look out!

Jack’s cases tend to be an opportunity to roam around the Nightside exploring the different neighborhoods, meeting its curious residents, curiosities, and celebrities. Green is one imaginatively sick man with more twists and turns than the Twister or a roller coaster!!

I love it! The H.P. Lovecraft Memorial Library with The Gospel According to Pontius Pilate, Satanism for Dummies, and the book that was reading people, wiping their minds. A simple enough task for JT. Just persuade the “book to put the minds back, mostly in the right bodies” and introduce it to the Internet.

Then there’s the exorcism function on his cellphone, which causes pain to telemarketers who call him! I want one!! I love Jack and Bettie’s visit to the Museum of Unnatural History — “Neanderthals performed all the menial work in the Museum, in return for not being exhibits…also in charge of basic security…allowed to eat anyone they caught.”

The Story

After solving a minor problem at the H.P. Lovecraft Memorial Library, John Taylor runs into Walker who has a minor request. Seems this gang boss, Max Maxwell, has gotten a bit carried away and is getting greedy. Maxwell is stirring things up in the Nightside and Walker is not happy.

And there’s just no rest for the wicked as Cathy just took on another case for Jack — dang, three in a row. When is Jack gonna get a chance to kick back? Seems the Unnatural Inquirer is missing a source and the artifact they just purchased. A Pen Donovan recorded a message from Hell, the Afterlife Recording, and sold the DVD to the Unnatural Inquirer but never made it to their offices; they need JT to retrieve it.

Unfortunately, the job comes with conditions. One of which is Bettie Divine, the daughter of a “slut lust demon” and a Rolling Stone. Bettie’s job is to write the story on “how John Taylor solved the case”. Poor Bettie. A day in the life of John Taylor as we stroll the Nightside and its streets, chatting up its many characters. Exposing some, destroying others…

The Characters

Jack Taylor almost underwhelms Bettie Divine, a part succubus demon who rides a roller coaster of despair, amazement, and terror with a day in JT’s life. At first she finds Jack’s actions too prosaic for words, but as the action heats up…

Suzie Shooter, a.k.a., Shotgun Suzie, a.k.a., Oh Christ, It’s Her Run! is more visible through her absence in this story, again. Although I do like JT’s response when she questions Walker about the loa not possessing her, after all, “she is the best bounty hunter in the Nightside”.

Walker still polices the Nightside although no one knows on whose authority he rules now that the Authorities have been killed and eaten. We’ll see several major contenders in this story…snark…

Max Maxwell, the Voodoo Apostate, is so big they named him twice. Seems he’s gotten a bit carried away after finding the Aquarius Key. He’s pissing off a lot of people including the loa and Walker.

Cathy Barret is JT’s 18-year-old secretary. She adopted Jack after he rescued her from a house that was trying to eat her. Thank god. Because Jack knows he could never deal with the paperwork! Unfortunately for Cathy, JT thinks of her as his daughter..!

Pen Donovan is an unfortunate little man wracked with guilt who managed to record a message from Hell. Scoop Malloy is the Sub-Editor of the Unnatural Inquirer. Gaylord du Rois is its Editor.

The Collector is obsessed with collecting anything of interest — museum directors watch out! And the past and future are no deterrent since the Collector has access to a time machine! It’s a bit ominous here as he has no interest in the Afterlife Recording DVD as he’s busy with another project…bwa-ha-ha… His current repository is certainly interesting with a truly intimidating guardian. The Cardinal is a man similar to the Collector in that he collects all the religious paraphernalia that possibly exists…including The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene with illustrations…ahem… He truly did used to be a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church handling the works of art in their collections. Until they caught him helping himself to his favorite pieces.

The Removal Man removes anyone he judges “to be a threat to the Nightside, or the world in general…or offends his…moral beliefs.”

General Condor is a military leader who got lost in a Timeslip from a future. Now he’s trying to bring righteousness to the Nightside. As opposed to Queen Helena who simply wants to rule the place or Uptown Taffy Lewis who wants to grind it for every dime he can get. They don’t stand a chance against John Taylor…the manipulative bugger!

Clan Buckaroo is composed of 13 very dangerous men, combat sorcerers, who walked right through Strangefellows’ protections. Nor did they succumb to the JT stare. Instead they’re wearing their tacky leather cowboy outfits festooned with “charms, amulets, fetishes, and grisgris” and conceptual guns. And John’s mostly worried they’re gonna “line dance us to death”.

Alex Morrisey owns Strangefellows, the oldest pub in the world and John’s home away from office. A direct descendent of Merlin Satanspawn, Alex was magically tied to the bar. At least, until Merlin finally did die. Now there are fewer protections on the pub as well.

The Cover and Title

It’s Jack Taylor in his trademark white trench coat carrying a red velvet bag at the Fun Fair. Rather looks like JT is wearing a ferris wheel star on his head like a halo. A seriously grim cover! The title definitely fits since it’s the Unnatural Inquirer who has hired Jack.