Book Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Can I just say, I love the cover of this and the other books!

Yes, it has been a few weeks since I last did a review (not surprising since I have focused on Camp NaNoWriMo) but this is the “certain” book I have read. Yes, I know this book is not due out until next Thursday (25th July 2013) but I received my copy a couple of days ago due to having it on pre-order at Waterstones.

The Folly is working through its list of Little Crocodiles, on the trail of the Faceless Man when Peter Grant and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, is called to look into an RTC (Road Traffic Collision) turned Murder case in Crawley where a man by the name of Robert Weil is discovered to have a connection to a mutilated body in a forest. Without being able to step back for a breather, Peter is called to investigate a one-under on the Underground of a town planner and a stolen magic book.

Things get weird though when he hears of odd things happening in a housing estate block flats South of the River, which has been built by an eccentric and seems to have some sort of secret running through its core.

Peter’s got a full case load again and London just got weirder! (If that’s possible!)

This book follows on nicely from the previous book, with The Folly’s investigation into the Faceless Man and grabs attention from the start, featuring all the usual wit and laugh out loud writing readers have come to expect from Aaronovitch and his compelling character, Peter Grant. The opening does read like a summary and it did catch me off initially but it is easy to read and certainly, with hindsight, it is possibly how Peter would receive an update on the investigation.

A host of characters from previous books return, including the Gods and Goddesses of the River Thames, Peter’s dad and the Irregulars and The Quiet People discovered at the end of the last book. Admittedly, they do seem a little shoe horned in and I think Aaronovitch could have explained what language Peter’s mum speaks to him in and translated it. I struggled to understand what was being said, even after re-reading those bits.

I do like the way he combined all the seemingly unconnected threads together into one story line and certainly upped the tension with events at the end of the book, leading to a great (if slightly predictable) twist at the end.

As usual, you can tell Antonovich’s love for the city and how well he knows it. I know I have mentioned this before, but his ability to describe London and all the locations of the novel is fantastic and brilliantly done for a person, such as I, who has never been or has been down just once.

I have already stated a few negatives about this book but I feel it is also worth mentioning that the story seems to finish then restart again near the end. Whilst it is obvious as to why this happened and provides a good cliffhanger leading into the next book, I do feel as if the structure is slightly broken due to it but then again I don’t see really how it can be rejigged to prevent this issue. Maybe I should just put it down to the charm of Aaronovitch’s writing…

As well as the actual novel, if you get your copy from Waterstones, you will also get a short story exclusive to Waterstones, taking place in the Covent Garden branch of the chain, featuring a poltergeist activity and taking place possibly before this novel. It is amusing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Certainly it ends with a message we should all take to heart in this day and age of internet, TV and films.

So my ultimate verdict on Broken Homes? An excellent addition to the series and I will definitely re-read this one, along with the others, whilst waiting feverishly for the next.

 

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Book Review: Moon Over SoHo by Ben Aaronovitch

Moon Over SoHo is the second book in Aaronovitch’s PC Peter Grant series.

This second novel picks up after the first book, exploring the consequences of what happened and also starting on a new mystery after the death of a jazz musician. At first glance, everything seems all above board but when Peter starts digging under the surface, the death takes on a distinctly magical (as well as musical feel), leading Peter deep into the shady world of SoHo after dark.

This book does not suffer (too much!) from the flagging and dip in quality that is often experienced in second book. Instead, it explores more of the world that Aaronovitch has created and continues with the quality of wit and humour found in the first book. In addition to this, Aaronovitch continues his high quality writing when it comes to research.

Now, in my first review of Rivers of London, I discussed the level of research done and I wanted to discuss it here again.

In this, the second, it was about the historical context for the novel (both through history from the Second World War to more recent history of crime and police corruption), the discussion of jazz music and the organisation of thee musicians guild in London and the area the novel takes place in. There would also have been some medical research again.

It is Aaronovitch’s attention to detail that I particularly like about his work and enjoy.