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Ben Aaronovitch has stormed the bestseller list with his superb London crime series. A unique blend of police procedural, loving detail about the greatest character of all, London, and a dash of the supernatural.
A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil - an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common garden serial killer?
Before PC Peter Grant can get his head round the case, a town planner going under a tube train and a stolen grimoire are adding to his case-load.
So far so London.
But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on an housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans and inhabited by the truly desperate.
Is there a connection?
And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River?
Full of warmth, sly humour and a rich cornucopia of things you never knew about London, Aaronovitch's series has swiftly added Grant's magical London to Rebus' Edinburgh and Morse's Oxford as a destination of choice for those who love their crime with something a little extra.
With irreverent humor and a fast-paced plot, Aaronovitch cheekily marries the ancient Arts with the Internet age in the fourth installment (after 2012's Whispers Underground) of an excellent series featuring modern-day Constable Peter Grant on the trail of a new magical mystery. Two grisly murders, an apparent suicide, a stolen book from the Bodleian Library's secret collection, and a militant Russian Night Witch lead Peter inexplicably to Skygarden, a threatened housing project built by an eccentric 1970s architect. He and Lesley, his partner-in-solving-crime, must go undercover to discover what exactly is happening at Skygarden, and what if anything it has to do with the twisted, dangerous and ever-elusive Faceless Man. The case comes to an explosive conclusion just as Peter pieces it together; but as with the previous books, though he solves the mystery he does not necessarily win in the end. Leaving the reader with more questions than answers, every plot revelation brings with it the realization that the reader has only begun to scratch the surface of backstory in this deeply-layered, richly imagined London. Smart and gritty, twisted and whimsical, Aaronovitch has proved yet again that secrets are his specialty.