Book Review: Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

Ben Aaronovitch
Del Rey, 2012

Here, in the third installment of the Peter Grant series, Aaronovitch hits his stride. While I've really enjoyed all the books (Rivers of London (aka Midnight Riot) and Moon Over Soho coming before this one), I've enjoyed this one most.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Peter Grant is a police constable in London who has been assigned to the Folly—a branch designed to investigate and deal with the un- and supernatural. Which means that Peter is also a magician's apprentice. Hey, it takes fire to fight fire, so to speak.

Aaronovitch does a nice job building the mythology over the course of the books, though readers unfamiliar with London might do well to keep a map of the city next to their reading chairs. Regular references to Harry Potter, Tolkien, Doctor Who (for which Aaronovitch has written), Star Trek, and the like are nice touches of geek infusion. Aaronovitch does have a bad habit of telegraphing his plot twists, at least to anyone paying real attention. He does it less in Whispers than in the previous two books, however, and the whole of the story comes across as more organic overall.

I have an American Amazon/Kindle account, so I do wonder at the description and whether the book was heftily edited for American readers, since there was no play of FBI Agent Reynolds' religious beliefs in the version I read. Could it be they thought the whole born-again Christian thing might offend? (It wouldn't. And anyway, most really zealous Christians wouldn't be reading these books anyway. Not that that's ever stopped them from raising a ruckus.)

All in all, these books are my new favorite series and Aaronovitch can't write them fast enough to suit me. Also: when can we make this a television series?

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