I started this review after reading Midnight Riot, promptly never finished writing my review, and then read Moon Over Soho. So now I get to write two reviews for the price of one! Laziness pays off again! I am really enjoying this series. They are paranormal mysteries with a large dash of police procedural thrown in. I could have sworn that I heard about Midnight Riot here (since this is basically my only non-romance recommendation source these days), but I can’t seem to locate it in the archives. So if you reviewed this one – thank you for bringing it to my attention!
In Midnight Riot Peter Grant is finishing his training to become a policeman and is about to be given a terrible data entry desk position. Then one night he is patrolling a murder scene and is visited by a ghost who gives him a hot tip about the murderer. Suddenly Peter gets reassigned to a special unit that investigates supernatural occurrences and finds himself a wizard in training. (Or sorcerer…I seriously can’t remember. I have read two of these books and I can’t remember a detail like that. Is there a difference? I don’t read much paranormal, so I don’t know.) Anyway, I digress…Peter spends the rest of the book solving the murders and learning magic and about all the magical creatures he never knew existed.
The murders are gruesome. People’s faces *literally* fall off. I don’t usually read murder mysteries with the exception of historicals. I like to be able to distance myself from the realities of what is happening (I am still completely traumatized by a Mary Higgins Clark book I read in junior high) and I find that a historical setting or paranormal elements let me sit back and relax (and not think that someone who helps me on the side of the road is going to follow me home and murder me). There are a LOT of murders in this book. To innocent people. Like a baby. Seriously – a baby. I actually had to read over that part twice to figure out that he really killed the baby! Who does that?! All I’m saying is, be prepared. Peter uses a combination of regular police work and his newfound magical abilities to solve the case.
These books really need to be read in order. While Moon Over Soho is an entirely new set of murders that Peter is investigating, the progression of his training and the nature of all the peripheral characters carries over as well as a Big Bad that is being set up to run through the series. In Moon a murderer is running around killing jazz musicians shortly after they finish a gig. It looks like natural causes, but Peter can sense the magic surrounding them. There is also second set of murders involving a vagina dentata. Yup! I would actually say these books have a pretty light tone despite including baby murders and dicks getting chopped off.
I found the pacing excellent. They move along at a really nice clip, but there are also slower moments where I could safely put the book down and come back to it the next day. Between working a lot recently as well as getting to bed at a reasonable hour, I actually want my books put-downable. Some of the explanations of the science and mystical creatures were a little convoluted, but I never let things like that get in the way of my enjoying a good story. I just gloss over it and keep reading. I always assume that if it’s really important the explanation with come again later. If you are someone who needs every little piece to be fully explained and be rationally linked together (my husband), then these are not the books for you. After two books I’m still confused about a lot of the magic and how it works, but it does not interfere with my enjoyment at all.
My one issue with the books are the female characters. Every one of them is presented in the way they relate to Peter sexually. There are women he is a attracted to for different reasons. There are women he is not attracted to for different reasons. But mostly the first. Why do I need this information? The author tries to give some of it relevance to the story, but I just didn’t feel like he succeeded. In the first book the closest Peter comes to a relationship is with a girl of questionably legal age. Creepy. On the other hand, there are a lot of female characters and they are very diverse, which is wonderful. In fact, all of the characters are diverse and it is lovely to read. Some of the diversity informs the reader about why the characters do what they do, but a lot of the diversity is just because the books take place in a major modern city and that is life, and it is SO refreshing.
The quality of the writing is pretty consistent between the two books and that speaks well for the remainder of the series. I already have my hold in on the next three books from my library. The sixth book comes out in November and I’m hoping to be caught up when it comes out.