Saturday, January 26, 2019

Book Review: Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Series: Rivers of London Book 3
Publication: Del Rey (July 31, 2012)


It begins with a dead body at the far end of Baker Street tube station, all that remains of American exchange student James Gallagher—and the victim’s wealthy, politically powerful family is understandably eager to get to the bottom of the gruesome murder. The trouble is, the bottom—if it exists at all—is deeper and more unnatural than anyone suspects . . . except, that is, for London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant. With Inspector Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, tied up in the hunt for the rogue magician known as “the Faceless Man,” it’s up to Peter to plumb the haunted depths of the oldest, largest, and—as of now—deadliest subway system in the world.

At least he won’t be alone. No, the FBI has sent over a crack agent to help. She’s young, ambitious, beautiful . . . and a born-again Christian apt to view any magic as the work of the devil. Oh yeah—that’s going to go well.

My Thoughts: This episode begins with a dead body in the London Undergroud. James Gallagher is an American, a son of US Senator, and an artist. When he is found dead, and no one can figure out how he got into the Underground, Peter is called in to see if there is any trace of magic. He is also drafted to be part of the Murder Team investigating the death in case anything of a magical nature turns up.

Leslie May is on sick leave from the London Police as a result of her encounter with serious magic in the first book of this series. She has discovered a magical talent of her own and has been, so far unofficially, added to the Folly to be taught to use her new magic. She and Peter begin doing an investigation of James Gallagher and meet Zachary Palmer who is Gallagher's roommate - at least until his Senator father arrives.

Peter and Leslie's investigation takes them into the London Underground, into a variety of secret tunnels the London Transit Police don't know about, to the sewers that run under London, and to the discovery of a whole new group of people who have been living under London for more than 100 years. Along the way are generous doses of London's history and architecture all discussed in Peter's quirky and irreverent style.

This is a police procedural as the investigation into the murder of James Gallagher frames the story. It is also entertaining urban fantasy as Peter learns more about magic. And he learns more about London's odder residents including the gods and goddesses of London's rivers.

Fans of the series won't want to miss this episode. Fans of urban fantasy will also enjoy this quirky and very humorous series.

Favorite Quote:
"He said not to do anything stupid until he gets here," I said.

"We'd better find something to keep you occupied, then," she said, and made me call the Murder Team to let them know what we had found and ask, whether they'd traced the owner of the warehouse on Kensal Road yet.

Three minutes later, Lesley got a phone call. "That's right," she said and then looked at me. "Not so far," she said, and then, "I'll tell him -- 'bye." She put her phone away.

"That was Seawoll," she said. "Stephanopoulos is on her way down and you're not to do anything stupid until she gets here."

You burn down one central London tourist attraction, I thought, and they never let you forget it.
I got this one from a publicist. You can buy your copy here.

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