The definition of a good book is one that you will make any excuse to carve out time to read. Instead of letting another week go by without posting a review, I gave over my morning to finishing Ben Aaronovitch’s Whispers Underground. And having finished it, I’m sad to have reached the end. Sigh. Just can’t win.
This is the third of his books I’ve read, and I love the dry humor and understated reactions to all things mystical and magical. As with the other two, Midnight Riot and Moon Over Soho, this novel follows a case through twists and turns to the absolute end, offering the information you need to figure it out but mixed in with so many delicious red herrings that it’s easy to get turned around. And the fun part about it is you don’t care.
Following those extra threads with Peter and Lesley, getting a glimpse into British-American relations, learning new secrets about the world beyond our understanding… All of the side stories are such fun, and complicated and interrelated, that it’s worth the journey alone.
I still debate the Harry Potter connection–it’s too tenuous, leaning only on an unnoticed magic world mixed into the fabric of the world as we know it–but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying these novels as much, or possibly more, than the Potter series.
Aaronovitch offers a police officer who gets by on intuition and the seat of his pants, much to the dismay of his partner Lesley who believes in true police work, but what Peter’s called in to figure out doesn’t fall into any category in the database. Lesley proves that collecting data is a good way to find connections. At the same time, it’s Peter’s ability to bring the pieces into play, supported by the massive data that forms the foundation of British police work (in the novel at least).
These novels offer wonderful characters doing interesting things along with a glimpse into the life on the ground…or under it…in London. Aaronovitch is not showing any signs of losing his touch, and I fully plan to get the next book he puts out.
And for those thinking the “first one’s free” concept has no legs, I got Midnight Riot as part of an early reader program (through LibraryThing I believe), and not only have I, and my family become his avid readers, but I am encouraging all of you to give the series a try.