I won't lie: I plucked this book from the library shelf because it had a blurb from Jim Butcher on the cover. I was not disappointed.
Simon R. Green's created a wonderful milieu in the Nightside, a shady alterna-London where it's eternal night and its supernatural inhabitants fit the mood. His protagonist, John Taylor, is the perfect mix of capable and scary-dangerous. He's not quite as fun as Harry Dresden, but he's got a good sense of humour. In some ways, he also reminds me of the Doctor (but again, not quite).
This book embodies the term "page-turner." I started it this afternoon and finished it tonight. It's true that it's short, but it also packs a punch. Green starts off with a nice piece of action, segues into some exposition and character development, then plunges us into a non-stop mystery adventure that occurs in a single night.
At first I was worried the climax was going to let me down, but that only turned out to be the precursor to the climax. In the end, the mystery component of The Unnatural Inquirer was satisfactory. Not excellent, but good. My least favourite part of the book (and what I suspect I'll dislike about this series in general) is the overabundance of heavy magical types and their impressive array of paranoid powers. It seems like everywhere you turn (i.e., every second page) there's a new flavour of Power hanging around, and Taylor just waves his hand and beats them some way. I realize that's the point of the Nightside, but Green overemphasizes it so it borders on camp.
I'm sure I would have appreciated this book more if I read its seven predecessors. However, don't let that stop you from delving into The Unnatural Inquirer like I almost did--you'll be missing out. Now, however, I'm going back to the beginning so I can get a better sense of John Taylor's history.
Definitely recommend for any fans of urban fantasy private investigator mysteries.