Thursday, 28 March 2013

Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch


Ben Aaronovitch is part of the Doctor Who circle, having written episodes in the Dark Ages of the 1980s.  He also wrote for Blake's Seven and something called Jupiter Moon.  There are flavours of the Doctor in this, the first of his Grant and Nightingale series, but for me it was more redolent of Mike Carey's magnificent Felix Castor series.

It's giving nothing away to reveal that young mixed-race PC Peter Grant finds himself seconded to Inspector Thomas Nightingale's magic and supernatural division, when a face-tearing-off entity starts murdering punters in Covent Garden.  The rivers of the title - more precisely their genius locii - play a significant role in the resolution.

The writing is not quite as big and graphic as Carey's but is underpinned with a wry humour and a wonderful sense of place.  The chase sequence at the end is far and away the best bit of writing I have come across during my dabbles in the sub-genre (which also includes Paul Magrs' Brenda mysteries).

I adored this book and will be snapping up the others (Moon Over Soho and Whispers Underground).  One caveat, though.  The bonus short story included in the paperback I read - "The Home Crowd Advantage" - is pants and best skipped for fear it might put off the casual browser.

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