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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 February 2013
Whispers Underground is the third book in the Peter Grant series and is as good as the previous two. You can't really read this without having read the other two first though.
In this one apprentice wizard/police officer Grant is called in to help the murder squad when the body of the son of a US senator is found dead in the underground. The murder weapon has a magical aura so it's looking a little less than straightforward. Also running alongside the main story is the continuing search for the rogue wizard from the last books and the group of little crocodiles.

The humor, style and characters are the same as previous books. The pace is as quick as ever too. Lesley is involved far more, which is good, and there are more aspects of Londons other side revealed here. However, and this is a minor gripe, the occasional jumping of storyline that has happened previously is here too. Grant occasionally has a flash of inspiration and this is explained pages later. You feel kind of left out of the intervening pages on occasion. However, this is as fun to read as the previous books and not quite so difficult to keep up with the narrative at times.

This series is being quite addictive and the addition of a storyline strand that goes through all the books is a good one. If you liked the other two books then this one is just as good and you will enjoy it. If this is your first book of the series then you are best advised to start at the beginning, Rivers of London, to get the most out of it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 June 2012
I seem to be using the Line "Best book so far" in a few reviews recently, and when writing this review stopped to consider why, It didn't take long. Why would the latest book not be the best yet. Like all jobs you improve your skill with each year. With the job or writing I think that more and more with authors this is the case. There are very few authors that get so big they can just get complacent and churn out the next book by rote, they need to stress, to struggle to throw much of themselves into the art they love and we the reader benefit, from each improvement they make.

So that said: Whispers book in the series so far? Yes very much so.

Ben Aaronovitch seems capable of pulling together Fact, fiction, myth, magic with a sprinkle of horror and a huge dollop of comedy so damn well its ridiculous. Since Rivers of London I have awaited each book with eager anticipation, because of the dry british comedy, the sometimes perverse sense of humour and the fast fast pace of the books delivery. His characters are so easy to relate to you can even find sympathy for the bad guy (see Rivers of London). But mainly you can become part of the story because it all seems so natural so like something you may do or feel yourself, you can easily see how it all might happen (which is a bit nuts when talking about magic and the supernatural) and yet the writing quality is such you just accept it and believe it.
Its authors like Ben that make Fantasy worth reading.

Very very Highly recommended. (one of my favourite books this year)


Description (From back of book)
Peter Grant is learning magic fast. And its just as well - he's already had run ins with the deadly supernatural children of the Thames and a terrifying killer in Soho. Progression in the Police Force is less easy. Especially when you work in a department of two. A department that doesn't even officially exist. A department that if you did describe it to most people would get you laughed at. And then there's his love life. The last person he fell for ended up seriously dead. It wasn't his fault, but still.
Now something horrible is happening in the labyrinth of tunnels that make up the tube system that honeycombs the ancient foundations of London. And delays on the Northern line is the very least of it. Time to call in the Met's Economic and Specialist Crime Unit 9, aka 'The Folly'. Time to call in PC Peter Grant, Britains Last Wizard.
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on 19 December 2012
I have little to add on the subject of the writing that hasn't already been said here - the Rivers of London series is excellently conceived and superbly written, with a very believable narrative voice.

However, my copy of the book was massively let down by the quality of editing. There are so many spelling and punctuation mistakes (with at least one very obvious cut-and-paste error), it looks as if it has never been given the lightest proofread. The most charitable interpretation I can put on it is that the final manuscript was running over deadline and so there was no time to run it past Orion Books's proofreaders. I really hope that 'Whispers Under Ground' sells enough copies to necessitate a second print run, and that this time the publishers run it past a competent copy-editor, because there are actually enough proofing errors to interfere with the reading process.
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on 27 December 2012
This is the third in the Rivers of London series and if you haven't read Ben Aaronovitch before I'd recommend that you start at the begining of the series rather than jumping in here, there is a lot of back story that would be ruined by reading the books out of sequence.

This book carries on where the last one left off with the same caste of characters. I didn't like it quite as much as the Moon Over Soho, which I thought was excellent, but it is still a very entertaining read and lets Aaronovitch develop some of the characters a bit further. Sadly he doesn't develop the relationships as much as he should and the key individuals seem to be marking time until he can decide how he wants their relationships to develop. Also the central characters seem remarkably unaffected by their previous, traumatic experiences and if Aaronovitch is going to sustain the series the characters need to develop a bit more depth and complexity. That said the plot rattles along nicely and provided you are willing to completely suspend rational belief (a prerequisite for all books about magic) then it is immensely readable. Not as dark and brutal as Jim Butcher nor as homorous and Robert Rankin but a good entertaining adventure read.

Although the rivers do crop up in the book they are not as central to the plot as in earlier books and though that may be inevitable I was rather hoping that Beverly Brook would re-appear as that might add a bit of spice to the plot.

The idea of magic co-existing in the everyday world is far from new (think of Alan Garner) but the modern clutch of writers such as Martin Millar and Jon Rosenberg have really given the genre a shot in the arm and Ben Aaronovitch stands comparison.
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on 10 March 2013
So we're back with Peter Grant, Lesley May and Inspector Nightingale. Lesley is now also training to be a wizard (or a `practitioner'). Like the previous two books Whispers Under Ground has its own story - the mysterious death of an American art student at Baker Street tube station. Also like the previous books there's more of an ongoing element. This time I suppose you could say it stretches back as well as forward.

I did really enjoy this book, but not quite as much as the other two. It does have the trademark humour but either I'm getting used to it or the one-liners are less zing-y than they were. Also the separation between the story-of-this-book and the unfolding narrative is more clear cut. I guess that in book 1 that's almost accidental because as events occur and discoveries are made you have no way to know whether it's connected to the current story because you don't really know until the end that some of it will carry on to the next book. However I also think the on-going story is given more time here. I think in two or three books time it will be the story of that book.

I think I enjoyed those elements more. Getting drip-fed more details about Nightingale's past is tantalizing and the `Faceless Man' is an intriguing villain. Also I think that the `A plot' involves a lot of running around tunnels and sewers and under the ground generally and it didn't grab me as much as the other stuff.
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It's three months after MOON OVER SOHO. Peter Grant is still working for ECD9 and learning magic and now he has the company of fellow apprentice Lesley May, who's still recovering from the events in RIVERS OF LONDON and wears a mask to hide her ruined face. When a young man is stabbed to death at Baker Street station, Peter's called to evaluate the scene for magical involvement and gets a big hit of vestigia. But this investigation isn't going to be an easy one. The victim's the son of a US senator, which means that FBI agent Kimberley Reynolds is shadowing the case and her religious beliefs mean that she's not in the mood to hear talk about magic.

Peter's investigation will take him into the tunnels beneath London and deep into London's past as he discovers forgotten crafts, forgotten people and vengeful ghosts ...

The third in Ben Aaronovitch's PETER GRANT SERIES is another fast-paced, witty book with plenty of action and a twisting mystery. I was a little disappointed that it didn't significantly move on the Little Crocodiles storyline, but this does work as a standalone and I was pleased to see Lesley get more page time.

Peter is developing much more as a character. I liked the way Aaronovitch shows his flaws, particularly in his relationship with Lesley because he can't get over his feelings of shock when he sees her uncovered face - equally great is the fact that he gets called on it. Lesley remains my favourite character because she's a woman who just tries to get on with things but she's also trying to come to terms with what happened to her. Nightingale barely features in this book and the Little Crocodile storyline is barely advanced, which I thought was a shame although there's plenty going on in the main plot to keep me entertained.

The mystery itself has plenty of twists and turns and kept me guessing from beginning to end and I enjoyed the way that it brings Peter into contact with Tyburn and her agenda once more. Aaronovitch does a great job at building up the world in which his characters operate and it really widens the scope of the series and what he can do at it.

All in all, this is a thoroughly enjoyably instalment in the series and I'm really looking forward to reading the next one.
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on 21 June 2012
Karen for Big book Little Book.
Copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is very much a grown up urban fantasy series where Peter Grant is our protagonist and often very amusingly, rather cynical narrator. He's a policeman based in London, about to be consigned to a data entry post as far too easily distracted for real police work. Just as he's about to resign himself to his fate he finds that he has an aptitude for sensing the supernatural. He quickly finds out that London is home to ghosts, gods, wizards and so on and it's up to the police to make sure that they toe the line. Any cases with a supernatural element are passed to Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale with the proviso that it stays hidden from the general public's knowledge and preferably, separate from their normal police investigations. Nightingale, a wizard in his own right takes on Peter as his apprentice.

In this book (the third in the series), Peter is asked to assist in a murder investigation, the victim being an American with a father influential enough to warrant the FBI being involved. The setting for the investigation is centred around the underground tunnels and the stinking sewers of London.
The pace of this book once it gets going, is fast and action packed. Yet again Aaronovitch's classic British humour is superb. He also has the ability to make you snort with amusement one minute and then feel uneasy the next when the scene suddenly turns sinister.

Inspector Seawoll is back leading the task force and any hopes that his own recent brush with magic will have endeared him to Nightingale's department and Peter in particular, are cruelly but nevertheless amusingly, dashed.

It's great to see that Lesley's presence in this book is much stronger as she joins the team, thanks to her recent disclosure in 'Moon under Soho'. It's also interesting to see how she is developing as a character now that her once beautiful face is now so horribly disfigured. It would have been so easy to just 'magic' her back to normal. Instead we see her continue to be the technically brilliant police officer that she is whilst she and Peter cope with her new found visual disfigurement.

Verdict : Murder, genius loci, magic and humour all in one book. Aaronivitch has done it again with 'Whispers Underground' and is my favourite book of the series so far.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 June 2015
I will remain forever grateful to the friend who bought me 'Rivers of London' and 'Moon over Soho' for my birthday, thus introducing me to the magical world of DC Peter Grant. I haven’t enjoyed a series so much outside of my favourite paranormal romance genre, from which this is somewhat different.

Although each book stands strongly on its own two feet, there are references in each to DC Grant's prior adventures, so it really does scream that you should read them in sequence.

Part gritty crime story, party magical fantasy, according the word of DC Grant, there's a whole other side to police work in London that we're just not meant to know about; from river goddesses, to jazz vampires and beyond. Each book adds another layer of paranormal mystery and intrigue, which our apprentice wizard policeman has to get to grips with.

This story is no different. When a dead body turns up on the Underground. Peter is called in to see if his own ‘special’ brand of policing can shed any light on how it got there. But this time it’s not just his superiors who want answers. As the victim is the son of a U.S. senator, the FBI have a finger in the pie as well, making Peter Grant’s job all the more difficult as he tries to keep police work and magic separate.

With enough proper police terminology for you to buy into the fantasy and wonderful vivid characters it’s very hard to put these books down. They’re not like anything I’ve read before I and I would recommend them to anyone.
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Third volume in the DC Peter Grant series, an urban fantasy/police procedural series of books about a man who works for a special section of the Metropolitan Police who deal with the seriously weird.

This series has built up a bit of backstory by now, so new readers might struggle a little to get into this. They should start with the first book Rivers of London: 1 instead.

Regulars readers of the series, read on.

This volume runs for four hundred and eighteen pages. It's divided into nine parts, and twenty nine chapters.

There is some violence, and some strong language.

The main thrust of the story sees Peter involved in the investigation of a murder, the body having been found on the tracks at Baker Street tube station. Magic appears to have been involved.

In the meantime, a character from an earlier book returns. The folly now has another resident, thanks to the events at the very end of book two. The hunt for the faceless man goes on. An FBI agent is getting involved. And the snow is coming down...

It's the mixture as before. And if you enjoyed the first two books, then you will not be disappointed. The new dynamic at the Folly works very well. There's some very nice descriptive writing at times. And the focus is almost solely on the main plotline, although the hunt for the Faceless Man does get a look in. And develops very nicely.

One lingering question is also indirectly answered.

Also as with earlier books, there may be times when it doesn't feel as if much is happening, but everything does move along very nicely, keeping the main plot and everything else going well.

You will learn a few things about the city from this.

Ending with an interesting final scene, it's another enjoyable read in a very enjoyable series.
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on 14 October 2013
Whispers Underground marks the third outing for Peter Grant and the Detective Constable/Apprentice Wizard is once again up to his neck in it - literally in the sense that he spends a lot of time in the sewers and, metaphorically, because life as a crime fighter is never straightforward.

DC Grant's Christmas season begins with a ghost hunt in a train tunnel with his precocious cousin and pretty much involves odd happenings in confined spaces from then on. His "specialist skills" are called upon by the Murder Squad when an American student [and son of a state senator] named James Gallagher is found stabbed to death on the tracks at Baker Street tube. Grant discovers a shard of pottery near the scene and the associated vestigia [a kind of magical watermark if you will] quickly confirms the involvement of the non-normal. DC Grant and PC Lesley May (covertly and under the supervision of Detective Inspector Stephanopoulos and Detective Chief Inspector Seawoll, the latter still having not quite forgiven Grant for the incident at the opera house) must then use all of their magical nouse to track down the killer, avoid an international incident and discover the source of the peculiar whispers and noises to be heard in the Underground.

Whispers Underground is another intriguing mystery for Peter Grant to solve. The murder of James Gallagher leads him to encounter some new elements of the magical criminal underworld and also to encounter some new creatures altogether. While the central villain may not be so gruesome or so menacing as the faceless man, the danger that Grant faces is once again very real and the logic behind the whole thing initially rather perplexing. The expansion of the magical London that is presented in Whispers Underground is very interesting and is a sign that there are a lot more mysteries waiting for Grant in the city. In addition to the Gallagher murder, some headway is made with pre-existing threats and lurking baddies and this serves to whet the reader's appetite for future books.

Saying that, Whispers Underground doesn't quite live up to Aaronovitch's two previous novels. A lot of references are made in the book to DC Grant doing some "proper policing" and there is indeed a noticeable absence of magic. There certainly are magical or at the very least non-standard elements to the story but Grant tackles the murder investigation in a way very much in-keeping with regular police procedurals. While Grant's contacts in the paranormal world help with the investigation, having an apprentice wizard on the squad doesn't bring quite so many benefits as usual. Part of the fun and innovation of this series is the way that Grant uses magic in his investigations and so it would have been nice for that magic to serve a more central purpose here.

Linked in to this limited use of magic is the noticeable absence, compared to the previous novels, of Inspector Nightingale. He's absent for the majority of the book, either off investigating the Little Crocodiles or else generally out of things. The sometimes amusingly fraught relationship between Nightingale and Grant has previously been one of the most entertaining elements of the books so hopefully they'll be back as dynamic [and potentially dapperly dressed] duo in the next book. Similarly, Molly didn't play much of a role this time round other than to make sandwiches and exercise her phenomenal laundry skills.

DC Grant wasn't totally out on his own during the Whispers Underground investigation though. His partner/love interest PC Lesley May is well on the road to recovery [although her face is still barely hanging on] and is showing greater commitment to magical learning than Grant. They are a likeable double-act and the banter between them is often very funny. It'll be interesting to see how Lesley's magical detective career develops since she currently has a lot more respect among the "normals" than Grant does and also how Aaronovitch intends to have her handle her horrific injuries in the long-term.

A number of new allies arrive for DC Grant during Whispers Underground. Since the recently deceased James Gallagher was an American citizen, FBI Special Agent Reynolds has been dispatched to assist with the investigation and, despite the Met's attempts to keep her out of the loop and under control, she does make a valuable contribution to tracking down the guilty party. She also rustles up the best sewer exploring outfit. The other main new face is British Transport Police officer Jaget Kumar, whose knowledge of the Underground and the best spelunking techniques proves invaluable. He's also not too surprised by the supernatural elements of the case. While Special Agent Reynolds seems unlikely to be making the trip across the Atlantic again, bets are that Kumar will prove just as useful in future investigations.

Whispers Underground is an intriguing and exciting murder mystery. While not the most fantastical of urban fantasies, it does still contain many of Ben Aaronovitch's signature additions to the paranormal crime-fighting genre. The central mystery is strong and well-plotted, with the danger and intrigue being matched by the humour and warmth that Aaronovitch delivers through his characters. Peter Grant is a great hero and following his adventures offers excellent escapism.
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