It had been a while since reading Rivers of London, and The Man had been banging on that he wanted to read the next one, so I decided to squeeze it in too!
We are again following DC Peter Grant, the apprentice wizard copper who has recently found himself submerged into the murky depths of London’s paranormal underworld, and he is as witty and cutting as ever.
After being called in to investigate the suspicious death of a jazz musician, Grant soon realises that this is no normal murder – it definitely falls under his other-worldly jurisdiction…and it doesn’t appear to be the first of its type.
However, things start to get really odd when the trail leads to revered old-time jazz trumpeter Richard ‘Lord’ Grant – none other than Peter’s dad.
I love Aaronovitch’s writing style. It’s light and easy to read, and the pace just speeds you along with the action. There’s no superfluous words, nothing flowery about it. It’s an honest story about gritty goings-on in the seedier parts of London. This book is definitely far darker than Rivers of London, and I am also not sure that you could read it without reading that first.
It’s funny and clever, and you almost forget that it couldn’t possibly be real. The characters are well written and believable with clever humour despite some of the grimness.
“For a terrifying moment I thought he was going to hug me, but fortunately we both remembered we were English just in time. Still, it was a close call.”
Aaronovitch certainly knows his London too, in an off-hand unflashy way. For a Londoner, these books are a joy as he speeds from one location to another, and you often get a quick history lesson thrown in too, which I love! I work in Camden, and there was a short paragraph about the history of ‘a pub at the crossroads’ that was once called the Mother Redcap…and sure enough, a couple of days later I happened to spy the words ‘Mother Redcap’ in smaller writing on the side fascia of the World’s End pub that I had never noticed before! I have walked past it twice a day for the last 5 years – let alone all the times I had been there before I was working in the area.
So thank you Ben Aaronovitch, thank you for writing books that make me notice the London around me, and wonder whether there could possibly be jazz vampires lurking amongst the clubs of Soho.