Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch (A Rivers of London Book 1)

“The perfect blend of CSI and Harry Potter.”–io9

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.

About the Author: 

Ben Aaronovitch was born in 1964. Discovering in his early twenties that he had precisely one talent, he took up screenwriting at which he was an overnight success. He wrote for Doctor Who, Casualty and the world’s cheapest ever SF soap opera Jupiter Moon. He then wrote for Virgin’s New Adventures until they pulped all his books.

Then Ben entered a dark time illuminated only by an episode of Dark Knight, a book for Big Finish and the highly acclaimed but not-very-well-paying Blake’s 7 Audio dramas.

Trapped in a cycle of disappointment and despair Ben was eventually forced to support his expensive book habit by working for Waterstones as a bookseller. Ironically it was while shelving the works of others that Ben finally saw the light. He would write his own books, he would let prose into his heart and rejoice in the word. Henceforth, subsisting on nothing more than instant coffee and Japanese takeaway, Ben embarked on the epic personal journey that was to lead to Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot as it is known in the Americas).

Ben Aaronovitch currently resides in London and says that he will leave when they pry his city from his cold dead fingers.

My Review:

As usual I’m a bit late to the party, having not heard or read any of Ben’s books before attending Capital Crime 2019 in September and once I listened to him rambling on a panel about his books I immediately downloaded the first 4 in the series.

This book, in a nutshell, is quite frankly BONKERS.  If you like police procedural books, it’s a fascinating look at the early part of a police constables career.  If you like magic and ghosts, it’s a great introduction to wizardry.  Rivers of London combines both genres and takes the reader on a very strange and often educational journey through London with a host of ghosts, murdering manifestations, the odd exploding apple and a great deal of humour.

It’s certainly different to my usual crime/police procedural books and if you can suspend your belief, keep an open mind and enjoy the ride Rivers of London is an entertaining book which made me chuckle out loud.



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