Rivers of London

This was a recommendation made to me by Amazon, and it certainly caught my interest straight away from the blurb!

This is the first in the ‘Peter Grant’ series of books (I think there are just two at the moment, this and Moon Over Soho). Grant is a newly qualified PC with the Met Police, concerned that he’s been initially placed in a boring, admin heavy unit.

However, after being called to the case of a man whose head has literally been knocked from his body with a baseball bat, and interviewing possibly the only witness who claims to have been dead for a good few decades, Grant’s work (AND social) life seems to become somewhat more interesting.

He is placed under Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England and becomes his apprentice.  He then discovers more about the underworld of London, the city he thought he knew so well.  He meets the warring God & Goddess of the Thames, encounters vampires in Purley and has to get to the bottom of a malicious spirit that seems to be possessing Londoners and leaving them with their faces falling off!

This is the kind of fantasy book I love – one where it has its base in reality and then has an underlying fantastical world that we are unaware of.  I guess this could be sold as “Harry Potter for grown ups”, but I don’t like Harry Potter, and I loved this.

Peter Grant is a believable character, shoved into an unbelievable world. Admittedly he seems to take a lot of it far more in his stride than I think *I* would be if I was suddenly told that magic exists and I will be able to do it, but his actions feel well explained at every twist and turn of the story.

There is a lightness of touch about the writing, and there is a lot of humour throughout.  One particularly memorable line came after an explosion in a house when : “…the neighbours came rushing out to see what had happened to their property values.”

I am not sure how exciting and relevant someone not familiar with London would find the book, as Aaronovitch obviously knows his stuff about both the history and geography of our fabulous city.  I could always picture exactly where the action had moved too – and during scenes where Grant is running down back streets etc, I felt as if I was following him, but picturing exactly where I was.  Very well written!

I’m looking forward to reading the next one!