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Moon Over Soho (Peter Grant) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2011
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“A terrific follow-up to [Aaronovitch’s] novel Midnight Riot, the debut of Peter Grant and his own weird London. Grant continues to learn the ropes of magical London, a process that takes him on a trip through Nightingale's haunted past and into some of the most interesting places you won't find on any official tour. Aaronovitch makes the story sing, building momentum until the ending is literally breathless.” --SF Revu
“A realistic modern-day police procedural populated by increasingly solid characters and written in the same consistently witty style as the first Peter Grant novel [Midnight Riot]. . . . One of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long time.” --Fantasy Literature
About the Author
Ben Aaronovitch was born in London in 1964 and had the kind of dull routine childhood that drives a man to drink or to science fiction. He is a screenwriter, with early notable success on BBC television’s legendary Doctor Who, for which he wrote some episodes now widely regarded as classics, and which even he is quite fond of. He has also penned several groundbreaking TV tie-in novels. After a decade of such work, he decided it was time to show the world what he could really do and embarked on his first serious original novel. The result is Midnight Riot, the debut adventure of Peter Grant, followed by Moon Over Soho.
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Top Customer Reviews
PC Grant (actually now DPC, for Detective Police Constable), continues to study wizardry even while serving as the junior half of the London Metropolitan Police Force's smallest division, that which is charged with dealing with paranormal violators of the Queen's Peace. In Moon over Soho, he and his supervisor, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, are confronted with two cases, one involving a possible rogue wizard, and another a statistical anomaly-- too many jazz musicians are dying of apparently natural causes shortly after playing gigs.
With DCI Nightingale still on sick leave from an injury (suffered in Midnight Riot) and his best friend on the force (a relationship he would have liked to see deepen) DPC Leslie May recuperating from an attack that left her in need of multiple facial surgeries, PC Grant is pretty much on his own in the No investigations, although he gets some help from the self-proclaimed Jazz Irregulars, named with a nod to the Baker Street Irregulars, and from the beautiful, sexy Simone Fitzwilliam.
This book, like its predecessor, is made better by things not directly connected to the plot-- his scathing, funny comments about the joys of British architecture in the 1960s, his knowledge of English police procedure and regulations (listening to Constable Grant spouting regulations at his much superior officer is almost worth the price of the book!), and his voluminous knowledge of jazz history. The fact that Grant is a mixed race officer-- his father is a white jazz musician, his mother an immigrant from Sierra Leone-- is not made as much of as in the previous book, but is still integral to understanding his character and motivations. The only possible complaint I can imagine is that American readers may have trouble understanding some of the jargon and the abbreviations used for different parts of the police, fire and ambulance units, for example. It can all be understood in context, however. A real advantage that Aaronovitch has is that he's published by a major publishing company, Penguin/Random House. That means that unlike the case of many independent authors in the Amazon/Kindle system, his work is gone over by professional editors and copy editors, leaving a flawless product. Aaronovitch has a real gift-- I look forward to the next in this series (which I'll probably buy right after pushing "submit"!).
The novels in Ben Aaronovitch's "PC Peter Grant" (or "Rivers of London") series are:
1. Midnight Riot (PC Peter Grant Book 1)
2. Moon Over Soho (PC Peter Grant Book 2)
3. Whispers Under Ground (PC Peter Grant Book 3)
4. Broken Homes (PC Peter Grant Book 4)
5. Foxglove Summer (PC Peter Grant Book 5)
6. The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London)
For the most part, I liked the POV character's development here. Peter Grant is on the police force in London and here he is investigating two cases. One is kind of graphic and brutal and the other is more of a series of mysterious deaths (of jazz musicians, in this case). The cases didn't really intersect in the way you might expect as you are reading along, but they both do something different for the series overall in terms of backstory. The graphic/brutal storyline starts setting up what presumably will be a nemesis for Grant in future books. The jazz musician storyline lets us learn more about Grant's father and a little about his home life as a child. It is interesting to see how a West African woman who cleans offices for a living, married to a white jazz musician, ends up with a son who is a police constable. And I feel like the author has done his homework on both fronts. His portrayal of Grant's mother seems authentic, and he seems to know a lot about the London jazz scene. These touches are appreciated.
Peter Grant is also dealing with the fallout of his last case (from book 1 of the series). His friend Lesley was seriously injured in that incident and has needed a lot of reconstructive surgery. While Grant is kind to Lesley's face and he genuinely does care about her, his internal monologue strikes me as realistic -- he is terrified of seeing what is under her mask and hood, and he feels badly about being terrified. I think a real person might have the same involuntary reaction.
We get a bit more backstory on Molly, the housekeeper at the Folly (the HQ of Peter's unusual police unit) and Nightingale (Peter's immediate superior on the police force). I think these things are well-integrated into the story and I find Molly particularly interesting.
Peter continues his investigations into the physical effects of magic and there are some new developments in this regard. I like these parts of the story as well.
One thing that didn't work as well for me was the character Simone. It was pretty obvious that something was going on with her from the beginning because Peter Grant's behavior around her was somewhat out of character. I felt like I went most of the book just waiting for the other shoe to drop with her.
The writing style was similar to other books in the series. There were definitely some scenes that were a little disturbing, and there was some adult content. It wasn't gratuitous, I thought, and it all fit within the context of the story. But these books are just a touch darker than, say, the Dresden Files. (Although similar audiences should like both series. I definitely do.)
Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable read and I can definitely see myself progressing through this series quickly. And by the way, read book 1 first because you get introduced to a lot of major characters then. (Also because the first book is just fun to read.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating, sarcastic humor, terrific mysteries, and the characters are terrific.
I hope there are many more books to come.