Peter Grant is learning magic fast. And its just as well – he’s already had run ins with the deadly supernatural children of the Thames and a terrifying killer in Soho. Progression in the Police Force is less easy. Especially when you work in a department of two. A department that doesn’t even officially exist. A department that if you did describe it to most people would get you laughed at. And then there’s his love life. The last person he fell for ended up seriously dead. It wasn’t his fault, but still.
Now something horrible is happening in the labyrinth of tunnels that make up the tube system that honeycombs the ancient foundations of London. And delays on the Northern line is the very least of it. Time to call in the Met’s Economic and Specialist Crime Unit 9, aka ‘The Folly’. Time to call in PC Peter Grant, Britain’s Last Wizard.
This series was one of my favourite discoveries of last year. I loved the mixture of urban fantasy, police procedural and humour that Ben Aaronovitch brought together in the first two books, making Whispers Under Ground one of my most anticipated reads this year. I rushed down to my local Waterstones on Friday evening after work so I could catch them before they closed, to grab my copy. I even put to one side the latest Terry Pratchett book, to start it!
Straight away, the narration of Peter Grant made me feel right back at home. It was like I’d never been away. Unlike PC Lesley May, who only appeared sporadically in Moon Over Soho, as she recovered from the events of Rivers of London, it was great to see her back full-time, and keeping Peter in check!
A lot of the best humour in the book comes from their interactions and jostling with each other, especially when Lesley gets a bit of magic quicker than Peter did! The book is packed with such moments (as well as Peter’s wry comments about police procedure.) and I found my self laughing (well more like snorting to be honest!) out loud on more than one occasion.
The mystery is once again as good as ever, with a clever plot, perfectly placed to keep you turning the pages to find out whodunit. Aaronovitch. Even without the fantasy element he clearly knows how to write good crime caper. With the fantasy element, it just makes it even better. The author perfectly combines the two elements, becoming part of the world as well as part of the plot.
There’s once again some great characters in the book, some returning such as Peter’s DIs and the Rivers and the new characters introduced in this one
But for me one the best thing in the series is Peter’s (and I suspect Ben Aaronovitch’s) clear love of London and its history, it really comes across in the writing and it’s a delight to read. Hopefully, we’ll get to meet Peter and the gang again before too long.
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