Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Book Review: Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Moon Over Soho
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Rivers of London (Book 2)
Publication: Del Rey (March 1, 2011)

Description: BODY AND SOUL

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

My Thoughts: The second Peter Grant mystery has him investigating the jazz scene in Soho when a drummer dies of a heart attack but has a famous jazz tune as part of his vestigia. That's a clear sign that his death had something supernatural about it. However despite investigation, nothing is found linking him to magic. Another death of a jazz musician does lead to a magical link that takes them to Oxbridge and a club that has been under the radar since the 1960s.

Peter is learning from his mentor Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale who is the only registered wizard in London and who happens to be aging backwards. However, Nightingale is still recovering from an injury experienced in their first adventure and Peter is more on his own than perhaps he should be.

Peter comes to believe that there are some jazz vampires feeding on and killing jazz musicians which  concerns him particularly because his own father is a rather famous one. Peter is busy looking into the unexplained deaths of jazz musicians that has been going on since World War II. Of course, he is also looking into the possibility of other magic users - what his mentor calls black magic users, too.

On the personal side, he is dealing with his former colleague Leslie who is still dealing with the grave consequences of the events of MIDNIGHT RIOT and starting a new relationship of his own with Simone Fitzwilliam who was the live-in girlfriend of one the victims of the jazz vampires.

This was a fast-paced and very snarky story. Peter has quite a cynical viewpoint but he also has a lot of idealism about his role as a police officer. The world he inhabits with jazz vampires, evil magicians, chimeras and animate rivers along with the day-to-day bustle of modern London and a modern police force is well-drawn and feels very real.

I can't wait to see where this series goes as Peter learns more about magic and the supernatural creatures who inhabit his world.

Favorite Quote:
For a terrifying moment I thought he was going to hug me, but fortunately we both remembered we were English just in time. Still, it was a close call.
I received this on from a publicist for review. You can buy your copy here.

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