Rivers of London
Ben Aaronovitch gave his debut as a writer with a happy mix of Harry Potter, Disc World and Thursday Next. His hero Peter Grant, a black probationary PC with the London Metropolitan Police, investigates a cruel murder when he meets a ghost who says he witnessed the crime.
Grant is terribly confused as he neither believes in ghosts nor magic. His boss reluctantly assigns him to DCI Thomas Nightingale, the only specialist for the supernatural within the police. Grant asks him if that means that he is a wizard:”Like Harry Potter?” Nightingale sighed. “No”, he said, “not like Harry Potter.” - “In what way?” - “I´m not a fictional character,” said Nightingale. (p. 45)
When there is a gang war between young white males and black females, Grant learns that they are the respective sons of Father Thames, who rules the river up to London and the daughters of Mother Thames whose realm is the river from London to the sea. The sons and daughters represent the tributaries of the Thames, most of them no longer visible in present day London.
It is all very confusing and bizarre and highly comical. No character is what he seems to be. To catch the evil ghost behind the murders Grant has to go back in time and the London he knows step by step fades into scenes ever going back until he finds himself in pre-Roman London, which, for me, is the most fascinating part of the novel.
It is written in a rather breathless style with spelling and grammar errors a good lectorate might want to erase. With “Moon over Soho” the story turns into a series, hopefully a good one. Certainly worth reading.