Book Review: Simon R. Green’s The Bride Wore Black Leather

Posted March 6, 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 Bride Wore Black Leather

The Bride Wore Black Leather


Simon R. Green

urban fantasy in Hardcover edition that was published by Ace Books on January 3, 2012 and has 310 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 Unnatural Inquirer, 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

Twelfth in the Nightside dark urban fantasy series for young adults set in “a business empire of sin and corruption, wonders and marvels…at very reasonable prices”.

Put on your seat belt and get out your barf bag, you’re entering the Nightside where

“you can find the baddest clubs and the maddest music, parties that will never end as long as someone’s got cash in their pocket or credit on their cards…[where] temptation winks from every street-corner, and there’s always a quiet back room where you can sell your soul. Yours, or someone else’s.”

My Take

It’s the Age of Aquarius when we ” let the sun shine in” and experience the mind’s true liberation…with a battle between the Sun King wanting to carry on with the revolution of the 60s, promoting the Beautiful People, getting rid of the Man while John Taylor and Julien Advent believe that “not all the world’s troubles can be solved with simple…concepts like Good and Evil…”

You’re immortal as long as you don’t die

But the Sun King has lost his humanity even as Julien shed his New Age to become Mr. Suit and Tie Man to work from within. He doesn’t understand that you can’t force your Dreams onto someone else. The Sun King demands that they admit his Dream is better than anyone else’s.

References to the songs and slogans of the 1960s are scattered throughout the story along with Green’s blending of the supernatural with regular life:

“A trio of Greek muses were singing a ska version of the “Ballad of Eskimo Nell” in close-part harmonies”

Damn, Green just has too much fun with his series: Cathy and John Taylor are trying to figure out what his last case should be: Katherine Karnstein’s lost innocence?, the Maltese Falcon?, find the lost Atlantis or the last Merovingian?, or crash the Immortals Ball of Forever? Hmmmm…

‘Your title has yet to be officially validated, and thus your authority is still…in question. Also, you do not possess the Voice. Sir.’

‘No,’ I said. ‘But I’ve got other things. Want me to demonstrate them in a sudden, violent, and utterly distressing way? Do you need me to remind you that the last butler who annoyed me…’

‘Please go right in, sir. Walk all over me. It’s what I’m here for.’

Oh, gross…wait to eat until after you read the description of the menu at the Ball of Forever…

John is using his gift too much in this story: the patient being used as a gateway; finding the Sun King, searching out the Hawks’ Wind Bar & Grille…

John Taylor’s remark to Dave, the cameraman:
‘Be sure to get my good side.’
‘You find it, chief, and I’ll get it.’

I loved it. Green had me on tenterhooks. I always worry that a series I adore will end before I’m ready and Green was leaving all these clues that could be interpreted one way or another. And, in the end, the ending was too easy. Too pat.

The Story

It’s all happening at once. Getting married on the morrow. Becoming the new Walker. There’s just no way, John Taylor will have the time to continue with his PI business. He just wants one more case for a last hurrah. That, and it’ll keep him out from underfoot of all Suzie’s planning for the wedding.

It’s weird for JT as he walks down the street. Between his own rep and being the new Walker…no one can figure out how to act. The rent-a-cops were terrified of the old JT yet have to be respectful, sort of, to the new Walker. Statues and gargoyles, doors and windows are taking notice. And locking up. Keeping an eye out.

Then there’s the Ball where King of Skin gets his own handed right back to him. When John Taylor takes over the investigation, he keeps ’em all in line. It just takes the threat of his gift, being able to find anything. Followed by John Taylor’s interrupted bachelor party. And, true to form, John Taylor can find a way out of anything. Even his own bachelor party thanks to Julien’s urgent need.

It seems that the B9 might have been right…the Nightside is threatened with sunshine! Then the Authorities are wondering if John Taylor is the right Walker for the Nightside when chaos and mayhem follow him as the norm.

Hmmm, it will be contest between the good of the mighty Sun King and the monsters who make up the Nightside. It’s what the Sun King does in Ward 12A that finally sets everyone against him. Threats, killings, and setting the hounds to John Taylor.

The Characters

John Taylor has come up in the world. Up into a position of greater power, but he seems to have lost some of the fear people have had for him. Suzie Shooter has a cameo role here. Hey, all that wedding planning takes up time! Walker is dead and the new Authorities want John to take his place. They just have a f-e-w questions.

Cathy‘s spending days may be over now that John is packing the PI gig in and it looks like Alex will have more help at Strangefellows.

Razor Eddie, the Punk God of the Straight Razor, is the last Drood and he gets his answer to that eternal question: could he take John Taylor. Razor Eddie is especially curious [and needing to assert his manhood…or would that be godhood?] after events in Just Another Judgement Day! Dead Boy is such a handy ally. Reliable as a human shield and as a distraction at parties…since he has absolutely no manners at all. All three Oblivion brothers: Hadleigh, the current Detective Inspectre and a product of the Deep School; Tommy, the Existential Detective; and, Larry, the Dead Detective are making nice.

The only new Authorities who show are Julie Advent, the editor of the Night Times and the Great Victorian Adventurer (there’s a mention of a Juliet being Julien’s companion back in the 1960s until he became respectable); the King of Skin with all his nasty innuendos — he could disturb people he hadn’t even met yet; and, one of the Oblivion brothers. The Tantric Troops, a.k.a., the Fuck Buddies, have been formed to take the place of the Holy Trio, the Authorities’ previous enforcers.

It’s bit of a reunion of Nightside characters with a few new additions scattered between the ball, the bachelor’s party, and the wedding:
The old Walker has a cameo. Tamsin McReady, the new rogue vicar shows up with her companion Sharon Pilkington-Smythe. Julien has sent a few reporters to cover the Ball: Brilliant Chang, an investigative reporter, and Bettie Divine, a half-succubus reporter. Charlotte ap Owen is a female news reporter for television. Mistress Mayhem is a supposed descendant of Kali. Lord Orlando is still boring for England. The Bride and her current paramour Springheel Jack. Rogue is the remaining member of the Family of Immortals; a man with a plan. Tomias Squarefoot is the oldest Immortal and saved John’s life centuries ago (Hex and the City). The Lord of Thorns is officiating at the wedding. Old Father Time with his own doleful prediction shows up with Mad. The happy [and mortal] William and Eleanor Griffin (Hell to Pay). The Very Righteous Sisters of the Holy Druids tend the Green Henge.

Mr. Tattersol and Mr. Vane are adamant about having access to the property where the former ghost building, the 1960s neutral territory, Hawk’s Wind Bar & Grille used to be. Except. They threaten John’s wife. I don’t know which is the bigger threat: an angry John or a pissed-off Suzie Shooter!

The Sun King was “born out of the Summer of Love, in 1967” when Harry Webb became the “living god of LSD”. Miracles happened wherever he walked until he walked into a tower to learn more. Princess Starshine was his other half, or as close as she could be. Now, she’s Dr. Emily Benway at the Hospice of the Blessed Saint Margaret. Dennis “Den-Den” Montague is a ghost hunter, only he got banned for disgusting activities.

The Cover and Title

The cover is afire in reds. It’s a blonde Suzie Shooter in form-fitting black leathers and stiletto boots toting one of her rifles in St. Jude’s with votive candles ablaze.

Well…duh…it’s Suzie Shooter. Of course, The Bride Wore Black Leather ’cause how else would we recognize her??