Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Just finished reading this. It seemed like quite a short book, or maybe I just got engrossed in it and read it faster than usual, its hard to tell when you're reading on a Kindle.

The basic plot (no significant spoilers) is that a young London uniformed police constable gets posted to the scene of an inexplicable murder and interviews one witness, who happens to be a ghost. As a consequence of this and other events, he ends up apprenticed to the London police's only supernatural-investigating inspector. Yes, more or less a London police 'X-Files'.

The plot is interesting, engaging, fast moving and fun. About 3/5ths of the way through the book, you think you see how its going to resolve, and then wonder how the author is going to pad that out for the remaining chapters, and then the plot twists, and twists again, and again. In quite a roller coaster ride of events.

For the most part, the book is well written, but there are a few clunky scenes where it seems that a few lines of dialogue or description are simply missing. For example, at the end of the 2nd murder scene events, one of the characters dies. I read the page about three times and its still unclear to me how they died. In one paragraph they were running past our hero, in the next they were dead and sprawled on the floor, but with no description connecting the two. In a couple of other places (though none as obvious as that one) there seem to be short snippets of description that are simply missing. But its not a huge problem, and didn't really detract from my enjoyment of the story.

You know those detective stories where the male lead character meets attractive female characters and they rapidly find themselves in an explicit sex scene? This isn't one of those stories. There's a nicely written underlying air of unresolved sexual tension that runs through parts of this story as the main character completely fails to have liaisons with his female co-worker and one of the other female characters in the book. The fact that much of the romantic tension still remains at the end of the book suggests to me that the author intends to develop the relationships between these characters over several books, and that very much makes me want to go straight on to the next book, although the reality of an unresolved storyline stretching across three or more books might get annoying after a bit. But maybe it won't come to that.

So, I'd recommend this book to you. Its a lot of fun, is quite interesting, and there's clearly much more involving these characters to come in future books.

Oh, and I've just discovered that Ben Aaronovitch was one of the writers on Doctor Who back in the late 80s. He is responsible for the scene in which a Dalek was first witnessed (by the 7th Doctor and Ace) hovering up the stairs! Actually, I remember that story with some fondness, although the SFX were typically rubbish, as I recall.

And one of the many problems of having a Kindle is that I could simply buy 'Moon over Soho' right now and start reading the next book straight away...

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