Thursday, October 23, 2014

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

Combine urban fantasy and a police procedural, and I'm happy. Ben Aaronovitch's Midnight Riot is set in London, and it's a little reminiscent of Simon R Green's Nightside series. The creatures in Constable Peter Grant's world aren't quite as sick as those in John Taylor's London, but fans will want to try both. With the police procedural angle, along with some of London's history, I may prefer Aaronovitch.

Probationary Constable Peter Grant really wanted to be a detective with London's Metropolitan Police. But, it looked like he was on the fast-track to a paper pushing job. Then, one night, when he and another probationary constable find a body, Peter talks to a ghost. When Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale learns Grant can see ghosts, he recruits him for his mysterious one-man task force, a unit that handles crime involving supernatural creatures. And, it's just in time because all hell is about to break loose in London.

Strange murders, a feud between river gods, sexy daughters of the river, and crimes involving the theatre, Punch and Judy, and the opera. When Peter Grant gets sucked too far into the world of ghosts, he finds himself with just a few allies. And, some of those allies aren't very reliable.

Midnight Riot introduces a fascinating new sleuth, a police detective with an unusual background. Peter Grant's mother is from Sierra Leone. His father is a has-been jazz musician and a junkie. And, his background gives him a surprising independence for a rookie. Now, Grant is also an apprentice wizard at The Folly, the home of magic in London. It's an urban fantasy that combines the best of police procedurals, the tracking of criminals using hard work and learned knowledge. In Grant's case, that includes magic, an essential element of urban fantasy.

Looking for a gritty urban fantasy with humor, irony and a little history thrown in? Looking for an unusual detective? You might want to take a chance on the first in Ben Aaronovitch's series, Midnight Riot.

Ben Aaronovitch's website is

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. Del Rey. ISBN 9780345524256 (paperback), 310p.

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