- Ben Aaronovitch
Publisher: UK – Gollancz
Published as Midnight Riot in the US
Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic
It’s not a secret that I love London and I always have a soft spot for books set in my home town. I love finding good books set in London – and with Rivers of London, I not only got a good book, I got a great book with a panorama of one of the best cities in the world! J
Peter Grant is probationary constable in London, just about to be transferred to an office assignment when he interviews a ghost at a murder scene and suddenly finds himself assistant to the most unusual and secret part of the Met police. Add to which a ghost serial killer who can infect anyone, a long standing dispute between Mother Thames and Father Thames and coming to grips with the magical, mystical side of England’s capital city, Peter could be in over his head...
So many things I loved about this novel – the police procedures surrounding the murders feels realistic – more so than CSI ever has. The characters of Peter Grant, his fellow constable Lesley, his new boss all have distinct personalities and act more like real people do than book characters. I loved the humour that jumps out at you from the first page – very real humour. I’m used to snarky comments, but this isn’t snarky, it’s real without being overtop and very recognisable for any Londoner. Peter’s use of magic isn’t instantaneous but requires hard work and study – and the use of many apples!
The plot flies along at a cracking pace, with many areas of London easily recognisable and for me at least, easy to picture. And this does dive into some of the murkier aspects of the city as well as the tourist parts. I loved the dispute between the two parts of the Thames – country verses city, old verses new. While there are many elements to this book, with the Rivers dispute and ghostly killer for Peter to deal with as well as his training in magic and personal life it all hangs to together and makes for a layered, but delicious taste of London life – rather like a cheesecake!
This is a story for those who like realistic, intellectual Urban Fantasy with humour and a dog thrown in. I can’t recommend this enough! I’m really happy I already have Moon Over Soho to look forward to reading soon.
Recommended for fans of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Kevin Hearne. 9 out of 10
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