My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit - we do paperwork so real coppers don't have to - and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluble, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.
Now I'm a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated: nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden ... and there's something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.
The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it's falling to me to bring order out of chaos - or die trying.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Lacking ambition and easily distracted, Peter Grant faces a career of paper-pushing with the Metropolitan Police. But when a peculiar murder sparks the officer’s dormant supernatural gifts, he becomes an apprentice to a powerful wizard known to colleagues as Inspector Thomas Nightingale. Populated by vampires, river goddesses, and shape-shifting villains, Ben Aaronovitch’s comedic fantasy/crime novel—the first in a series—unfolds at breakneck pace. Artful descriptions and a droll protagonist make Rivers of London both entrancing and entertaining.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Rivers of London
I have just read this for the second time, after reading all the Peter Grant books published so far.
I had completely forgotten parts of the story, but not the description of London. The characters developed in later novels already have their structure set in this book. I love the interwoven storylines and the historical links.
This book sets a route into beautiful and complex structures of myth, history and modern police methodology.
This is a series for lovers of fantasy, crime, London and history.
Brilliantly funny paranormal detective novel
So, I'm a bit late to jump on the bandwagon I know. This has been on my TBR list for absolutely ages but it took Jodi Taylor mentioning that she intended to reread the series over Christmas to get me to open the book. I was hooked from the very first page1
How to describe this? So, it's set in contemporary London. Peter Grant is a probationary police constable stationed at Charing Cross police station. Like most young police officers he is keen to get off the beat and become a detective, perhaps with one of the flashy squads like the Sweeney or the Murder Investigation Team, he also has the hots for his fellow probationer, WPC Lesley May.
The book opens with a bizarre murder in Covent Garden (for those who don't know the area, this is a pedestrianised, tourist-friendly, shopping area with small shops and open air stalls selling wooden toys, blown glass and hand-knits, NOT a garden at all). Peter and Lesley are two grunts who are delegated to guard the area overnight after all the important Scene of Crime investigators and detectives have left. When Lesley goes off to get some coffee Peter encounters an unusual man who witnessed the murder, unfortunately it turns out that the man is a ghost.
Shortly after Peter is disappointed that his post-probation assignment is nothing as exciting as being a detective, in fact it is probably the antithesis of being a detective, he has been assigned to the Case Progression Unit - a team who basically fill out all the paperwork so that the detectives can get out on the streets to solve crime. Then, after yet another mysterious encounter late at night in Covent Garden, this time with a dapper gentleman who turns out to be Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, Peter finds himself reassigned to a a mysterious division run by DCI Nightingale which investigates crimes involving the paranormal.
This is laugh-out-loud funny, especially to a Londoner who recognises some of the traits described in this book, I especially liked the idea of good-Samaritanism being an extreme sport in London. I loved the setting of the book as I worked for many years just North of Tottenham Court Road and so I know many of the places described. But honestly, you don't have to be a Londoner, or even English to enjoy this book. Peter is soon embroiled in a supernatural world in which he meets vampires, the spirits of London rivers and the ghosts of dead thespians. For some reason this reminded me of Tim Powers' writing although MUCH funnier and I don't know why, when I tried to pin it down it kind of ran away and hid.
There are plenty of precedents for paranormal novels set in a contemporary police environment and yet this, with its mixture of historical facts, geographic detail, humour and the woo-woo seems different, maybe it's like C.E. Murphy's Walker Papers but set in London?
Anyway, this was fresh and unlike anything I'd read before and I am totally hooked.
Rivers of London
This would make a brilliant film.