I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn't the first.
No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn't trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus' ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens' portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives.
And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard 'Lord' Grant - my father - who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That's the thing about policing: most of the time you're doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you're doing it for justice. And maybe once in a career, you're doing it for revenge.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Does not disappoint
Excellent second book that builds superbly on the first. Some old faces make a brief return but there is plenty of new blood to keep the story moving at a steady pace. At this rate book three should be an absolute cracker, but the wait is going to be excruciating.
I read Rivers of London and thought that it was a fluke. That a book that combined well researched London history with magic and a police procedural story that kept you enthralled so tightly could only be a one off. Moon Over Soho proved me wrong.
Ben Aaronovitch continues narrating the adventures of Detective Constable Peter Grant (apprentice wizard) and his boss and Master Thomas Nightingale as they deal with the resurgence of magic in twenty first century London. This resurgence is even more important as it becomes apparent that there are creatures, people and conspiracies from the past that are now causing trouble for the Metropolitan Police (and of course, murdering the odd helpless person in fantastical circumstances.
Peter Grant is an excellent creation, a real Londoner, sympathetic, with the right measures of humour and pathos that keeps you rooting for him. This is especially evident in the way that he thought that he's gotten a grip on the magical world that he found himself in by surviving his first case (as told in Rivers of London), only to find that he still has much more to learn.
The introduction of an black magician (sorry, an ethically-challenged magician) is a thrilling device, that not only promises sequels but also a way of unpicking the history behind Aaronovitch's alternative universe. It also leads to a magical duel that is so spectacular that it would have Harry Potter snapping his wand in disgust and envy.
My only regret is that I enjoyed Moon Over Soho so much that I read it non stop in a couple of hours and now have a year to wait before my next trip into Aaronovitch's magical version of London....
Quite good for a follow up
I enjoyed this second outing for PC Grant and Inspector Nightingale. I thought the story was original and engaging but I found it frustrating that one investigation seemed to have been dropped two thirds of the way through with no further mention of it in the book at all. I'm not sure if this is because it's being lined up for the next book (provided there's to be another one) or whether it's just being dropped. But I would have liked to have some reference to where that particular case is going. Some loose ends were dealt with such as why Nightingale is so old etc but they were hastily dealt with and felt a little rushed. All in all though, it's a good book, especially as a follow up to a particularly successful first title. Some aspects would have been better as they felt a little rushed but this is certainly worth a read and I'd still recommend it to others.