Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch

A friend told me years ago to read Ben Aaronovitch. And, I read the book back then. This time, when I read Midnight Riot, the first Peter Grant, I must have been in the moon for a combination of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files and Simon R. Green. There's the magic, the wizard, and the gruesome at times. But, just as I always said the early books in Butcher's series were mysteries, this is a police procedural. And, it was so good I've already picked up the second book.

Peter Grant is a probationary police constable in London when he's assigned to protect a murder scene. A man's head was completely knocked off by a passerby. During the cold hours when another constable goes to get coffee, Peter encounters a ghost who tells him about the murder. But, how can he explain that his witness was a ghost? In a rash moment when he returns looking for that ghost, Peter blurts out the truth about Nicholas Wallpenny, the ghost who claims he's been dead for one hundred twenty years. The person he tells? Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale.

The next day, Peter finds himself assigned to the Economic and Special Crime unit. That consists of Nightingale and, now, Peter. When Peter's new "governor" casts a spell, Grant discovers his boss is a wizard. Ghosts are real. There's a special residence where Peter must live if he apprentices himself to a wizard. And, only the police commissioner can swear him into his new position, one where he'll be learning for ten years. To a curious man who relishes history and discovery, educating himself in magic and history is perfect.

While Grant and Nightingale's main case is the investigation of the violent occurrences that happen when a seemingly normal human is overtaken by anger and attacks a stranger, this is a police procedural. The two-man team also have to juggle other cases. They're called in when the residents of a house go missing. They have to deal with a power struggle between rivers. Just everyday crimes for a wizard and his apprentice.

While Nightingale is mysterious, Peter Grant is the star of the book. He's witty with a dry humor at times. He's sexually attracted to some women, including a river, and he's young enough to not always handle it well. He's curious about magic and history, perfect traits for a young police officer.

This time, Ben Aaronovitch's Midnight Riot caught my attention. I don't know where I went wrong the first time.

Ben Aaronovitch's blog is at http://temporarilysignificant.blogspot.com

Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. Ballantine Books, 2011. ISBN 9780345524256 (paperback), 310p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

Note - This is the first in the Rivers of London series. In England, that's the title, Rivers of London. So, the Polish title makes sense.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I agree with you. In a lot of ways it is like the Simon Green books, only a little lighter, with some Dresden Files thrown in. I've read the first three in the series so far. Glad you like it.

Lesa said...

I really do like Peter Grant, Jeff. I just finished the second book, and, if I had the third at home, I'd be starting that. I'll pick it up at the library tomorrow.

Gram said...

This sounds like a series for me. Thanks.

Lesa said...

There's six in the series so far, Gram. I brought the other four home from the library today.