Thursday, 24 April 2014

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

When Peter Grant started his career with London’s Metropolitan Police, little did he know that there was a level of crime that most people don’t see, involving ghosts, vampires and various other malignant, magical forces. He also didn’t realise that there was a branch of the Met that handled it.

Still a probationer, Peter is part of a police cordon at the crime scene when a man is found decapitated in Covent Garden. Things get weird when he finds himself talking to a witness who just happens to be a ghost. Returning to Covent Garden in the hope of making a breakthrough - and avoiding being relegated to the Case Progression Unit and endless paperwork - the ghost is sadly absent. Instead he meets the dapper Inspector Nightingale, who sees in young Peter a possible recruit for the Met's Unit 9.

Next thing you know, Peter moves into The Folly, learns to do magic and is taken on a roller-coaster ride of events where he has to battle a vicious criminal who turns people into murdering Mr Punch-like maniacs. Luckily Peter gets to know the deities of the river, Father and Mother Thames, who will prove invaluable.

This may sound all very fantastical, but it’s a load of fun. Aaronivitch has crafted a magical world that is still distinctly London and his characters sound very much like Londoners too. Peter is the ordinary guy who gets to do extraordinary things and this hooks in the reader. And the plotting is exciting, at times mad-cap and non-stop. Rivers of London is the first of the Peter Grant series and well worth a look if you’re after something light, lively and completely original.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue Link: Rivers of London

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