This is Book 6 in the Rivers of London/Peter Grant series. It is SO much better than the last outing, and I’m so very happy. I would put it right up there with Midnight Riot and Broken Homes (my two favorites so far). These are not individual mysteries. I highly recommend reading this series in order because there is an ongoing story that builds with each one. There are apparently graphic novels that take place in between some of the novels, and I think those are independent of the main story.
This review may seem a little vague. I want to keep this spoiler free, because I know there are several people here who have recently started the series. The gist of the series is that it takes place in our modern world, but with magic. Peter Grant is a magician in training who is also with a special magical division of the London Metropolitan Police Department. The few remaining practitioners believed that magic had basically died out, but with each successive book we see it getting stronger and the magical world, creatures, and Peter’s understanding of it expands.
Peter and the gang are back together and fighting the Faceless Man and his dark magic once again. This book takes place back in London (as opposed to the countryside of the last story). A teenage girl dies of a drug overdose in an exclusive apartment complex. The first murder is far less gruesome than some others in the series. (But don’t worry, there is a seriously gross one later in the book). Peter is called in because the daughter of Lady Tyburn (one of the Rivers who appears in earlier books) is implicated in the murder and Lady Ty wants Peter to get her out of it.
The great thing about all these books is the police procedural stuff that goes along with a murder investigation is always blended so nicely with the magical elements. In this one there are more face to face confrontations between major players here and some really big revelations that have been built up over the previous books, but still no answers. (Before reading this I was wondering if this would be the beginning of winding down the series, but I don’t see any signs of that – yay!). The mystery was there, but not as convoluted as some of the other books. The magic was there, but what was being learned about it was not as nebulous as some others. This story was just tighter overall and with a lot more direction than the last outing.
(This paragraph will make more sense to people who have read some of the books). I love the interactions between the characters that we have gotten to know over the course of the series. I really love Guleed (a female non-magical police officer who often gets paired with Peter on these odd jobs), and was happy that she had a prominent place in this one. I wanted more Nightingale, but at least there was a lot more than the last book. There was only one scene with Molly. 🙁 There is more Leslie here, less Bev. This is wonderful for me. Leslie is far more interesting, both as a character and as to her relationship with Peter. I have had a mixed response to how women are portrayed in this series, but Aaronovitch had a great passage in this one that made me happy. After a new female character swoops in and saves Peter from a bad situation:
“Does this happen a lot?” asked Caroline.
“Nope,” I said. “Sometimes Beverley rescues me, sometimes Lady Ty, occasionally Molly – I think there’s a rota.”
And this is true. Peter is the protagonist, but he is no way infallible (and he readily acknowledges his limitations), and he rarely solves problems all on his own. But what I hadn’t realized was that more often than not he is rescued by one of the very strong women in the story. This definitely helps make up for some of my issues with how Aaronovitch describes women.
I found the Rivers of London series about halfway through 2016 and read and reviewed them for CBR8. I have been so spoiled – I read the first five installments so quickly, and then this newest installment came out at the end of January. I stalked my library every day so that I could be the first to get it. Now I will have to impatiently wait for the next book with no release date announced. I may have to go hunt down the graphic novels in the meantime.