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London Falling Hardcover – April 16, 2013

104 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Shadow Police Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Four London coppers form a special task force when the linchpin of their undercover operation—a preternaturally successful Mob boss—explodes in a shower of blood before betraying any useful information. The investigation into his death becomes a quagmire of occult crimes, especially once the team discovers an artifact that allows them to see more of London’s dark side than they ever wanted. With their new Sight, they connect the murder to a powerful witch in the service of the “smiling man,” who may be trying to bring hell to London. Cornell’s noir-tinged London has a deep, devilish occult mythology, though the particulars of this case, involving Anne Boleyn, the history of the West Ham football team, and child sacrifice, can be difficult to follow. The narrative switches frequently among the four officers, and they occasionally become indistinguishable, but each has a compelling stake in the investigation. Although less funny, this “Old Bill versus Old Nick” story will appeal to readers of Ben Aaronovitch’s paranormal police procedural series, Rivers of London. --Krista Hutley


“Paul Cornell is a triple threat, the kind of writer other writers hate. He writes award-winning short stories. He writes epic television episodes for all your favorite BBC shows. He writes kickass comic books and graphic novels. You'd think that would be enough for anyone, but no, not Paul... now he's gone and written a novel too! I suspect it will be just as good as everything else he's written, and that's not fair at all. No doubt this time next year he will be writing hit songs, radio plays, and ribald limericks, all of them first rate. It's very annoying, but what can you do? Aside from reading him. . . .” ―George R. R. Martin

“An irresistible blend of guns, gangsters, cops and monsters.” ―Ben Aaronovitch, author of Midnight Riot

“Paul Cornell has written a truly ingenious police procedural which happens to be the best supernatural London story since Neverwhere.” ―Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of Discount Armageddon

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076533027X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765330277
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #712,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a writer of SF and fantasy in prose, comics and television, one of only two people to be Hugo Award-nominated for all three media. I wrote three episodes of Doctor Who for the BBC, Batman & Robin and Superman in Action Comics for DC, and my continuing mature readers series at Vertigo is Saucer Country. My first urban fantasy novel, London Falling, about a modern undercover police unit in London accidentally becoming able to see dark magic and monsters, is out from Tor in the UK in December, and in the US in April 2013. I live near London, and my other interests include cricket, all things Fortean, and my newborn son Thomas. His interests include tummy rubs and poo.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lynn on March 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a huge fan of the "Rivers of London" series by Ben Aaronovitch, I was intrigued by the idea of another "magical" police procedural set in London. "London Falling" is a very different, much darker book, but it is absolutely terrific. I confess I had to read the first chapter twice to get the characters sorted, but after that it was a read-all-night, utterly absorbing thrill ride. The author uses the supernatural aspects of the story as a way to explore his characters' damaged pasts - and aren't we all haunted by something? The story moves quickly but takes time to let the characters explore the new world they've been dumped into, and the ending is satisfying while leaving plenty of room for (I hope) lots of sequels. Lots of London color, interesting characters, good dialog. It isn't as funny as the Aaronovitch books because it isn't supposed to be funny - if the "Rivers of London" books are "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "London Falling" is "The Long Good Friday." Highly recommended, can't wait to read the next book!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sean Rueter VINE VOICE on February 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The best bits of London Falling come from Paul Cornell writing a police procedural.

British writers seem to especially be drawn to a "hidden London". I've seen the seeds of Cornell's own version of it in his work for Marvel Comics (Captain Britain and MI13 Vol.1: Secret Invasion). It's daring of the author to attempt to stake out turf in a field already crowded with his contemporaries (Neverwhere: A Novel, King Rat) specifically and the "urban fantasy" genre in general. Sometimes both (The Devil You Know (Felix Castor)).

In dropping us into the middle of a gangster caper, complete with such staples as the dirty cop, the hardcase supervisor, the agent who is too comfortable in hiding and the researcher with a secret agenda, Cornell actually makes several cliche's seem fresh. It gives the reader multiple entry points into the world through the eyes of the characters as they discover it themselves, and ways to develop each of those characters along the way.

It's at introducing all of those elements satisfactorily that he comes up a little short, however. There's a lot going on here, even more if you're not from the United Kingdom and have to try and decipher idioms from cultures within cultures (Cockney coppers).
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have been a big fan of the new iteration of BBC's "Doctor Who" franchise (currently in its seventh season), and one of the principle points of interest in "London Falling" (for me) is that its author is a writing contributor to that program. Paul Cornell's new novel, the first in a proposed series, is a chaotic scramble of police procedural with urban fantasy. While I enjoyed the book, it is a mix of genres that is only partially successful to my estimation. While I think that this story is likely to strike a chord with many fantasy enthusiasts, it is somewhat less likely to appeal to those hoping to appreciate its crime novel elements. Not content to limit itself to just these main areas, though, the narrative also incorporates a historical back story and a sporting angle. There is a lot to juggle in "London Falling!" I'm not sure that these elements worked as cohesively as they should, but maybe it doesn't matter. Although I found the story's mythology a bit murky, it is certainly a bold approach that is easy to admire as something altogether different. And I must give Cornell credit for that!

The story begins as a group of investigators are mounting a sting against a local mob boss of London's underworld. The four principle characters begin the novel as antagonists of sorts until a secret squad is formed to further probe the mysteries surrounding the criminal enterprise they just encountered. As the culprit has died in unexplained circumstances, the team starts tracking a lead that might also connect them to a series of child abductions and a long standing curse on the local football team. Something decidedly supernatural has invaded their world and it will forever bond this central quartet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C Wheeler VINE VOICE on January 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is urban fantasy -- meaning that it's set in the modern world, full of steel and computers and capitalism and complex societies, not that it's about a tough chick in tight pants and the seventeen gorgeous supernatural men who lust after her. The place is London, the time is now, and if LONDON FALLING was originally plotted as the pilot script for a TV show that was never made, well, that's not really a concern. It's a police procedural, in the direct tough line from Prime Suspect, set in that tough, nasty, gritty London that was once called the Big Smoke.

And the characters are from that tradition and that world: two undercover policemen, at the end of a long and stress-filled and unrewarding stint in the camp of a gangster whose major crimes all seemed to be done away from his gang; their controller, frustrated and angry and sure at least one of them have turned to the other team; and the female back-office support agent who worked for all of them. All of them are specific people with quirks and foibles, though those quirks and foibles also have clear, actorly hooks that could easily turn into an arc of the series this probably will never be.

And the four of them are involved in an event -- at the end of that long undercover assignment, when the higher-ups finally lost patience and decided to grab whatever evidence they can and end it all -- that turns LONDON FALLING from the gritty procedural of the first fifty pages into the urban fantasy that every reader is expecting. They get the Sight; the learn the secret of the world; they are initiated into a world that they never thought could exist.

More importantly, they stay cops.
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