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Rivers of London Paperback – September 1, 2011
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More About the Author
Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake's 7 Audio dramas.
Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller. Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).
Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.
Top Customer Reviews
The book (and presumably, the forthcoming series) features Peter Grant, a somewhat mediocre police officer who suddenly discovers that he's, well, magical. Or at least, suddenly aware of the magical. Young Grant was on the fast track to a bureaucratic desk job, but now his life is much, much more interesting. Grant is poached for duty by Chief Inspector Nightingale, the Met's divisional head (and the entire division) for Creepy Magical Stuff.
It all happens just in time. The Rivers of London, at least, their magical embodiments, are having a turf war - it is in the pushing and shoving phase, but still, if it goes wrong, the city will be in bad shape. Grant is also juggling a second supernatural case - a nasty serial-killer of a poltergeist is beating people to death and making their faces fall off.
The Occult Detective has transformed into a recognisable genre stereotype. The 'O.D.' generally has a supernatural knack but, more commonly, solves problems through fast talking, "people skills" and general cunning. He's a bit of an outsider, something exacerbated by the fact that he Knows stuff that The Rest of Us don't. He's the tarnished knight type - cynical due to the problems in his own past. And 98% percent of the time? He wears a long coat.
Peter Grant (and CDI Nightingale) are the most recent branches of the motley family tree that includes Felix Castor, Harry Dresden, Johns Taylor, Constantine and Silence, and even, arguably, Doctor Who.Read more ›
It's a joy and I am really looking forward to the next one. The author demonstrates a wit I have not seen in a long time (and often reminded me of the sadly departed Douglas Adams) and I think we have some great things to come.
I bought this book because the publishers made a questionable decision about the cover. There has been some awareness on the parts of the internet that I frequent that publishers targeting American audiences "whitewash" their covers. The most famous example that I can think of was Justine Larbalestier's Liar, which is about a biracial protaganist. The original proposed cover showed a white girl. The publisher was convinced to change the cover, but it took some doing. There are pictures of the original and modified covers of the Aaronovitch books at Neth Space. In researching the whitewashing, I thought the book sounded interesting, and bought the first one. 26 hours and some lost sleep later, I bought the second one. One of the blurbs said it was like "Harry Potter meets CSI". I thought it was more like "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality meet Sherlock".
I liked Midnight Riot for many of the same reasons I liked Laura Bickle's Embers: the sense of place and space is palpable. Bickle's protaganist, Anya, lives in the current Detroit, a once-great city suffering through very hard times.Read more ›
So...what is it about? Well, imagine being a young mixed-race copper in London, about to get posted to a dull dead end existance shuffling paper, while your glamourous almost-girlfriend gets a plum posting...and then a ghost gives you a tip-off and you discover a whole new world. This is a London of spirits and ghosts, groaning under the weight of history and geography. And someone is commiting murder by magical possession.
The London here is as much a character as setting, with the various rivers and streams all having human forms (the UK edition is called Rivers of London, the US Midnight Riot - both are appropriate for different reasons).
Most of all though there is an intriguing crime story which happens to involve ghosts, and the odd realistic tangent of dealing with a nest of vampires or settling scores between Father Thames and Mother Thames. Aaronovitch has written an story which runs along as a good pace, and you really don't want to put down.
The sequel, Moon over Soho, is out now, and the next volume, Whispers Under Ground, is out later this year. If they are as good as this, then there is a lot to look forward to.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun and fresh take on magic and I love that it involves a mystery too!! Love the random pop-culture references too.Published 3 days ago by Avid Reader
The concept is almost worth the price of admission. It seems weird, goofy and literate to me, although there are some stretches that could be skipped.Published 4 days ago by Paquitin9
A funny reading that could have been just a little bit shorter to be the perfect Urban fantasy, but it's ok, the story was congruent and the characters gave me a good feeling,... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Gonza
The book is funny, easy to understand with a satisfying plot. Someone who is not fond of fantasy may enjoy this book with its realistic details.Published 18 days ago by RebEcca K. Strolic
I electronically checked Midnight Riot (original title: Rivers of London) out from my local library. Very, very unusual writing style, but it works for this author. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Tina
When probationary Police Constable Peter Grant is left to guard a murder scene nobody expects him to find a witness to the crime, especially not a one who also happens to be a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sarah (Feeling Fictional)
Excellent reader, funny dialogue, fascinating story. I'd call it occult police procedural. Nice character growth, interesting all the way through. Harry Potter meets CSI.Published 1 month ago by LaceyW
I LOVED these books and am looking forward to the next one. They are a great escape into a fantasy/detective story and I hate to give anything away, I'm a horrid spoiler when I... Read morePublished 1 month ago by tracy parker
Overall, I'm giving this four stars. The originality of the premise and the characters make up for a slower plot. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sarah