Sentence: It started at one thirty on a cold Tuesday morning
in January when Martin Turner, street performer and, in his
own words, apprentice gigolo, tripped over a body in front
of the West Portico of St. Paul's at Covent Garden.
Peter Grant is still on probation and about to be assigned
a post where his days will be filled with paper. It is only
by happenstance, that he stumbles on a murder scene and an
eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. This unusual situation
brings results in his being assigned to assist Det. CI Thomas
Nightingale, head of-in fact, the only member of-a unit which
investigates the unusual. In this case, they're facing a turf
war, not between gangs, but between gods and goddess of the
Rivers of the Thames.
One shouldn't even try to compare this book to anything else.
Although it has elements of many other authors, Aaronvitch
is unique, or a brilliant amalgamation, depending upon your
viewpoint. One does look forward to tiny homage to other characters,
as well as very subtle literary references, but there shall
be no spoilers here. He has a wonderful voice with classic
in the first person, we have Constable Grant, who is rather
unusual; and Nicholas Wallpenny, who is more unusual still;
and DCI Nightingale; most unusual of all
sighed. "No," he said. "Not like Harry Potter."
"In what way?" "I'm not a fictional character,"
said Nightingale. Still, one can't help but like the completely
"normal" DCI Seawall.
The book is an interesting balance of the fanciful and the
dark. However, the further you do go into the story, the deeper
you are into the world of the supernatural, and the further
still you want to go. However, it is also a fascinating mix
of the procedural, forensic and scientific. "Magic, it
turned out, was just like science in that sometimes it was
a question of spotting the bleeding obvious." Aaronvitch
also presents interesting historical and geographic facts
in a very non-scholarly manner. How often does one think about
where might be the source of the Thames?
Aaronvitch is very good at conveying the chaos of one climatic
scene, yet not allowing the reader to become lost. There is
very good tension and suspense with a style so visual; one
feels as if they are watching a film.
Midnight Riot is neither Harry Potter, nor Harry
Dresden. It is an absolutely delightful, engrossing, marvelous
book and, happily, only the beginning of the series.