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Moon Over Soho [Hardcover]

Ben Aaronovitch
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (314 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

21 April 2011

I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn't the first.

No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn't trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus' ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens' portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives.

And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard 'Lord' Grant - my father - who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That's the thing about policing: most of the time you're doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you're doing it for justice. And maybe once in a career, you're doing it for revenge.

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Moon Over Soho + Rivers of London + Broken Homes (Rivers of London 4)
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Product details

Read the first chapter [PDF]
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (21 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575097604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575097605
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (314 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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More 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.

Product Description


Told in a narrative voice that seasons laconic humour with a dash of cynicism, the novel is fascinated with the geography and history of London. It is a rich formula with a bittersweet ending. Terrific entertainment and ripe for a series. (THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Moon Over Soho is easily as good as its predecessor, but with added jazz. Moon Over Soho is a truly fun read, although it is somewhat darker than its predecessor, and it is also very much an adult book. (THE BOOK ZONE)

Moon Over Soho is highly readable and hugely enjoyable. Definitely a book not to miss! (LOVEVAMPIRES.COM)

The climax is both exhilarating and emotionally affecting, a sign again that Aaronovitch's skills with character will be what bring people back to this series. (SF REVIEWS)

I¿m pleased say I loved this one just as much as the first book, I love Peter¿s incisive and often humorous commentary on police procedures, London itself, and the fantasy word he now inhabits, it makes the book so much fun to read. One of the other things that comes though strongly is not just Peter¿s but also Ben Aaronovitch¿s love of the capital. (BART'S BOOKSHELF)

I enjoyed Moon Over soho immensely. I look forward to the next installment in Peter Grant's rise to the ranks of professional Wizardry. (British Fantasy Society)

Book Description

Peter Grant is not just a lowly detective Constable, he's also apprenticed to the last wizard in Britain: policing will never be the same again!

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh yes, this is wonderful 7 Jun 2011
Wonderful. Literally wonderful, in the sense that it is full of wonders.

At my age (72) it is increasingly hard to find novels that I actually want to read, and even harder to find novels which I don't give up on after perhaps 50 pages. But this one works all right.

Provided, of course, you know what to expect, and like what you are led to expect. For this is one of those cross-genre books. It's part police-procedural, part fantasy (since it's about magic, and we don't believe in magic, do we? Oh, really?), and part literary; the latter because, for a police constable of modest background and educational attainments, our hero is remarkably erudite. Oh, and there's a wide streak of humour running all the way through it -- humour of that black kind which police officers, A&E doctors, and ambulance men, develop into order to protect themselves from the horrible things they have to deal with.

Fortunately, this is number two in a series, so you can go back and start with number one before getting stuck into this one. And the only thing wrong with a series such as this is that the fact that, as my dear old Mum used to say, they don't write them fast enough.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great follow up 14 May 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this speedy and welcome follow up to Rivers of London there is a new problem for our hero copper, PC Peter Grant, to investigate. Being an apprentice wizard in a Police department of two ain't easy.
Here the problem appears to be Jazz Vampires and the only expert that may be able to help is Peter's Dad. As always the problem is a little more complex then that, and this is a welcome follow up to Rivers of London. It does not have the originality of Rivers, but it is still a great page turner with a real feel of London and a light and engaging touch.
Very enjoyable indeed and will further enhance the author's well earned reputation.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and a cracking series 12 April 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
The second book by Ben to feature his Paranormal Wizard Apprentice Copper, Peter Grant, who this time is thrust into a case that may be too close to home for comfort. As with the original, the sheer scope of this book is amazing, the characters are refreshingly believable and when you add into it quirky twists on already familiar area's of London which will leave the readers clamouring for more.

The prose is light and manageable, the characters outstanding and all in the overall arc is one that will lead the readers to demanding a new title sooner rather than later as Peter and Nightingales own Sith seem to be emerging from the background. All in, this book has been very cleverly done which when added to a wonderful reading experience made this a title that was very hard to put down. If there's only one new author you try this year in the Urban Fantasy genre, make it Aaronovitch, the skills and pace will leave you wondering exactly what spell he's woven within these pages.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great sequel (not so much a standalone) 12 May 2011
If you'll remember from the first volume, Detective Constable Peter Grant is part of the Metropolitan Police's "Economic and Specialist Crime Unit". It consists of two people - Grant and his mentor, DCI Nightingale. Nightingale is much older than he appears and infinitely more knowledgable: he's a wizard. Grant, due to a combination of inclination and misfortune, is also a wizard - at least, he's trying really hard at it.

In the first volume, Grant is wrapped up in a fairly horrific little mystery that involves dark magic and people's faces falling in. The second volume starts with the same promise: someone out there is doing something nasty (and magical). Grant needs to solve it. This time around it is also more personal. The naughty-maker is offing jazz musicians, and Grant's dad is one of the best in the business. Although he's always been wary of it, Grant finds himself easily absorbed into the jazz scene. He finds friends (and ladyfriends) and indulges himself in a little second-hand fame due to his father's reputation. These new contacts prove valuable when it comes to snooping about in the dark and spicy Soho underworld.

Just to keep things interesting, there's also something out there eating people's anatomy. Eep.

The balance here is between plot and meta-plot. One of the cases above is a fairly transparent whodunnit. I'm not the savviest mystery reader, but I found absolutely no mystery in whoactuallyddunnit. The only detection was trying to suss if Grant was being particularly thick or if he actually knew all along and was stringing us along for extra overtime pay. This case is the book's self-contained plot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Book One in this series introduced some interesting characters and a well-developed premise of a magical branch of the London police. It wasn't perfect, but I really enjoyed it and looked forward to reading the sequel. I was hoping that with the introductions out of the way, the plot would be able to take off and this second instalment might be even better.

On the whole, I think it had the same strengths and weaknesses as the first book.

The positives were a clever and internally consistent system of magic, an engaging and fully fleshed out hero and well-developed supporting characters, and a dry and very British humour reminiscent of early Terry Pratchett.

What worked less well for me, in both the first book but perhaps more so in this instalment, was the plot, which felt very convoluted and just didn't quite seem to hang together quite right. There are hints of a deeper underlying plot arc, but for the moment, it still feels quite episodic. In the case of this book, I also found a new character - half love interest, half potential suspect - significantly less compelling than most of the cast. I found the hero's reactions to her unrealistic, and it almost dulled my adoration of him.

Overall then, I'm still enjoying the series and will definitely read the next one at some point, but I'm finding myself frustrated with the way it's not quite living up to its initial promise or to some of the flashes of brilliance sprinkled through the plot. I was torn between 3 stars or 4, and have erred on the side of generosity, possibly swayed by the introduction of an evil wizard tutor at Magdalen, my old Oxford college!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, but read Rivers of London first
Fantastic follow on to Rivers of London and great to hear they're making a TV series from the books. Probably won't be as good as the book though.
Published 1 day ago by BillyBeatnik
5.0 out of 5 stars They keep getting better
I am really enjoying this series of books and this one didn't disappoint. I find the humour great so relatable and the description of London today so accurate. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Bookmark
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read
This is not the sort of book I would pick up to read from the library.i should branch out more-loved it
Published 2 days ago by Mark Williamson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book could not put it down
Published 2 days ago by Saltire
5.0 out of 5 stars Read in only one sitting
Just like the first book the Rivers of London I couldn't put this book down. The writing style draws you in. I love this series and can't wait to read book 3. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Hero has thrilling chases, and gets annoying girlfriend...
I nearly enjoyed this book as much as Rivers Of London. The Pale Lady was terrific and any encounters with her were genuinely thrilling. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Michael Veal
5.0 out of 5 stars great
These books where suggested to me by a surgeon I know who said they where good and he was right
Published 3 days ago by louise
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!
Grown up Childrens Story! So good to read something new, funny, dark and unputdownable. Will be reading the rest of the series post haste!
Published 4 days ago by J. Denyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 4 days ago by Lucinda Hale
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
This book is the second in a great series from a fantastic author, any Londoners will love it as the research is meticulous and you can imagine yourself in the action as it... Read more
Published 6 days ago by samueljr
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