In Midnight Riot, the debut novel by Ben Aaronovitch, Peter Grant is a "copper," a newly-minted London bobby who's just not that good at it. His career seems headed for the paperwork brigade until, when investigating a strange murder, he gets a tip from a bizarre informant - a local ghost. Grant is soon noticed by Thomas Nightingale, a one-man paranormal investigative unit in the London police department. Once you get past the obligatory "yes (young protagonist), magic is REAL" moment, Grant is apprenticed to Nightingale, who sets out to teach him about magic and how to police the various supernatural creatures that populate London, all the while trying to track down a spectral killer who is wreaking bloody havoc on a seemingly random array of innocent bystanders.
Throughout this novel I was reminded of both Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series and Neil Gaiman's American Gods: A Novel
. Like Butcher, Aaronovitch's characters are vivid, unforgettable, and manage to hook you in very little time. Like American Gods, key figures of mythology factor into the story, if only in a supporting role. There's also a Bones/Law & Order vibe that makes me think this was written with a TV adaptation in mind. Aaronovitch keeps things light and humorous, even when the events are anything but, and he's got a great sense of pacing. He also sets the stage for what one hopes will be many more supernatural adventures in Peter Grant's London.
It's not without a few flaws (nothing a more thorough editing job wouldn't fix, anyway), but Midnight Riot was an absolute blast to read and was more than enough to convince me to sign on to Peter Grant's adventures for the long haul. If you're a fan of the kind of paranormal adventures Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison and Harry Connelly dish out, you'll definitely want to add Midnight Riot to your "must read" list.