A couple of weeks back Liz from MFB put out a call on Twitter:
Hunting for new urban fantasy for adults. Not looking for paranormal romance, uf with a twisty romance, is fine. No vamps either.
— Liz Stormpilot (@LizUK) November 30, 2012
After dropping in my recommendation of Mike Shevdon’s Sixty-One Nails. I made the fatal mistake (especially as I was going to a bookshop later in the day) of checking out some of the other recommendations Liz was being tweeted.
You can see where this is going, can’t you… 😉
A few hours later, I had bought a copy of London Falling by Paul Cornell, and I started to read it the next day.
We meet the characters in the middle of an undercover operation, where the smelly stuff is about to hit the rotary device, and for me that made it a difficult start to the book. The characters aren’t at their best, and there is a serious level of distrust among them as they maneuver the situation to try to save their own asses.
It made it quite difficult to initially like them, and get a footing to the story, however I’m grateful I gave it time, as once the weird stuff started happening and the story kicked it up into the next gear, I never looked back. The characters had to overcome their distrust of each other, if they were going to be able to deal with their strange new lives, and catch the evil threatening London. It added a lot of depth to their individual journeys, and made you like them even more in the end.
The plot was nicely complex, even though we know who the baddie is pretty early on, but how they became that way, the what and why they’re up to is full of enough twists, turns and surprises to keep you guessing! The team decide the only way to deal with it all, and bring her down, is by doing what they do best. By being coppers.
Anybody expecting the urban fantasy London of Gaiman or Aaronovitch, is going to be in for a bit of a shock, London Falling is much, much darker, with definite elements of the horror genre mixed in as well. (The method used to ‘power’ the evil deeds, for example is truly horrible…)
I think I prefer Aaronvitch’s books, which are also police procedurals in an urban fantasy setting, but even so I can highly recommend London Falling by Paul Cornell, it really is good.
The dark is rising …Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career.
Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal.
Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law — until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a ‘suspect’ who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again. As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities.
Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game – and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.