The Rain-Soaked Bride by Guy Adams
|The Rain-Soaked Bride by Guy Adams|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Secret ministry types investigate unexplained deaths accompanied by unexplained sogginess? Yes, Guy Adams' paranormal ministry men (and women) series is back. His fantasy/horror/espionage romp gets more action-packed and entertainingly satisfying with each instalment.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: July 2013|
|Publisher: Del Ray|
|External links: Author's website|
The last thing that the afflicted people see before their death is a wet woman in white. The last thing they feel is their own personal rain cloud soaking them while everywhere else remains dry. All also happen to be in top government jobs. What's happening? British Intelligence Department 37 (in the form of August Shining and Toby Greene) is there to find out. This may not be the full extent of the problems facing them though; not with a South Korean delegation coming to the UK for talks and August's sister April wanting to get in on the act.
Former actor/comedic stand-up Guy Adams is back with yet another reason why his career change was such a great idea. Talking of great ideas, the first book The Clown Service should be read before this one, but I digress…
Time has moved on and the gang are all backs together including Tamar who goes missing at the end of The Clown Service. How's this accomplished? That's covered in the nail-biting prologue. Although, of course, having tampered with time before, department chief August Shining doesn't remember her so only has Toby's word that Tamar previously held a much appreciated factotum role in the secret, secret service department. Indeed that warning voice that told Toby he doesn't know what he's done by time-tampering still hangs over him.
Talking of the gang, now August's sister April demands centre stage and the way she commands it, we don't mind a bit. Her Korean interpretation skills are required among other hidden talents, putting her directly into the firing line of a country house murder mystery with paranormal knobs on. (We also come to understand why, if you're a diplomat, the worst skeleton you can have in your cupboard is an amorous relationship with April – she forgets nothing!)
Last time we had an expert in astral projection join the team temporarily, this time it's the aptly named curse authority Cassandra Grace. A rudimentary knowledge of mythology will confirm what we know from the genre-hinting heroes' surnames: Guy does allusion well. There are a lot more hidden references for those who pay attention.
There's also a wonderful theory about the London Eye worthy of Ben Aaronovitch or Kate Griffin. The cleverness doesn't end there though. Curses are considered a standard fantasy trope, but Guy takes them one step further. In his hands they become 21st century high tech.
Again we marvel at the filmic quality of the writing. Not only did I read the scarier bits through my fingers with gruesome delight (there is gore!), but the fight scenes are a step beyond the generalised bop-bop-ouch plot fillers that some authors rely on.
Ok, I did spot the baddie very early on using my Agatha Christie system, however it really doesn't matter. Having sussed 'Who?', 'How?' is still a question alongside 'Who's going to survive?'
The voice possessing random passers-by is more frequent and more sinister. We think we have its identity sewn up by the end of this story but can we believe its hinted revelations? Our concern that what we know may not be what we think we know and a deepening feeling of menace pervades as we progress. In fact Guy doesn't even leave us in peace at the end. The last line itself spells out a dire (a la James Bond movie) warning.
Soggy brides aside, let's hope this dry summer continues; there is much in this novel to entice us to take our sleeping bag to the nearest bookshop doorstep and queue early for Book 3. Yes, advance ordering may well be possible but where's your sense of adventure?
(Thank you so much Del Ray for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If this appeals and you've already read The Clown Service, try Bitter Seeds (The Milkweed Triptych) by Ian Tregillis.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Rain-Soaked Bride by Guy Adams at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Rain-Soaked Bride by Guy Adams at Amazon.com.
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