Now that’s more like it. This fourth installment of the Peter Grant series set in London strikes a better balance between an overarching series plot, the search for a rogue wizard known only as The Faceless Man, and the more immediate story that begins with a car crash and soon involves a growing pile of bodies, a mysterious book, and a large housing project designed by a crazy and possible magic-practicing architect. Amidst this all, Peter and Lesley continue to be trained in magic by Inspector Nightingale, a man who is over a hundred but looks barely forty and all three are asked to provide security for a seasonal meeting/festival between the God and Goddess of the Thames. You know, all in a days work if your job happens to be working for a special branch of the London police department known as The Folly.
Since this is a multiple book series like those written by Jim Butcher or Kim Harrison, this novel is not the place to start. There’s been a lot of set-up in the first three books and various characters float in and out of the story—and assume you know who they are—with just a smidgen of exposition from our narrator. However, if you’re up to speed on the adventures of this particular Scooby gang, then this book is both a lot of fun and full of some Whedon-esque twists. [I can’t bring Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Joss Whedon into every book review I write, but Aaronovitch’s series has that Whedon feel. There’s witty banter, a growing cast of characters—all with secrets of some sort, and also a plot that moves between humor and tragedy without skipping a beat.] Finally, as I’ve mentioned before, London is not just the setting of this book but an important character and both Aaronovitch and Peter Grant know and love this city well.
If you like witty banter, British slang, police procedurals and/or historical facts about London, this is the series for you.