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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars London horror
This was an enjoyable read. What begins as a story of undercover policing among London's organised criminals (tensions in the team, possible betrayal, budget pressures) suddenly takes another - and darker twist - as the chief suspect is killed in a particularly gruesome way (not a spoiler - this is all over the book's blurb). The key officers from Operation Goodfellow...
Published 17 months ago by D. Harris

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up to expectations
I read this, all the time waiting for it to become the rip roaring, exciting, thrill-a-minute ride that this should be, but somehow it falls short. The characters are ill-defined; If this was a TV series or movie, or even a graphic novel, we could follow visual clues but I'm afraid without visual definition I was often left wondering who was who and, even worse, wondering...
Published 11 months ago by John W. Edelman


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars London horror, 9 Nov 2012
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This was an enjoyable read. What begins as a story of undercover policing among London's organised criminals (tensions in the team, possible betrayal, budget pressures) suddenly takes another - and darker twist - as the chief suspect is killed in a particularly gruesome way (not a spoiler - this is all over the book's blurb). The key officers from Operation Goodfellow (the name itself I think a clue to what's going on) are left investigating the darkness behind the crime, with nothing to help them but their "copper instinct" and the systematic procedures of modern policing.

Cornell then adroitly slides this group of bickering, disparate police officers (and one analyst - who has secrets of her own) into a parallel London, inhabited by wonders and horrors that only they can see (but which they are still defenceless against). As in a number of similar recent books by authors such as China Mieville and Ben Aaronovitch, London comes to the fore, almost turning into a character itself. The story gathers pace, with the original criminal gang almost (but not quite) left behind in the pursuit of a truly horrible villain (yet one we're forced, to a degree, to sympathise with). On the way the reader encounters an extremely polite, though infuriating, talking cat, phantom ships and the most haunted shop in London (which, actually, isn't). All great fun, and as a few mysteries are clearly left unexplained, this book is obviously destined to be the start of a series.

I'm looking forward to more.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't live up to expectations, 25 April 2013
By 
John W. Edelman - See all my reviews
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I read this, all the time waiting for it to become the rip roaring, exciting, thrill-a-minute ride that this should be, but somehow it falls short. The characters are ill-defined; If this was a TV series or movie, or even a graphic novel, we could follow visual clues but I'm afraid without visual definition I was often left wondering who was who and, even worse, wondering if I cared. The story's not bad and the London setting fine enough. But it didn't grip me by the throat- There was always something else I could find an excuse to read.
Disappointing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unseen London, 2 Dec 2012
By 
Paul Tapner (poole dorset england) - See all my reviews
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Urban fantasy meets crime drama in a new novel from writer Paul Cornell. It runs for three hundred and ninety five pages and is divided into thirty chapters plus an epilogue.

The story starts in the middle of a long running police operation to bring down a London Gangster and his operations. Two undercover detectives and their superior are caught up in the middle of all this. But when their suspect is then murdered in custody in a brutal and seemingly impossible manner, they have a new investigation on their hands.

With the aid of an intelligence analyst, they find there's more to the city than meets the eye. And an urban legend about a certain football club turns out to be true. Can this police team come to terms with their new abilities and themselves, and bring down a supernatural serial killer?

This is very grounded in it's setting, and the writer clearly knows the city well. It tries to be grim and gritty and realistic, so there is a bit of strong language and some rather gruesome scenes.

It's a very hard book to get into though because you are thrown into the middle of the investigation and this and the style of the writing and the use of a fair amount of jargon [although there is a glossary at the back of the book] does make the first thirty six or pages rather heavy and uninvolving going.

But once the supernatural element comes in this suddenly becomes much more readable. So it is well worth persevering with.

The plot does contain enough twists and turns to keep going very nicely for just under four hundred pages. And it does take it's time out as it goes along to add more depth to the characters also.

This will probably appeal far more to urban fantasy readers than crime drama fans. And it is one of those books that is almost self contained but leaves enough loose ends to allow for further adventures of the characters.

Should there be such books, I would be inclined to give them a go. Stick with this one through it's uncertain start, because it does become a good read as it goes along, and it's well worth it if you like this kind of thing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars London Falling, 7 Dec 2012
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Kate (england) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed this, not my usual choice of reading genre but it was lively and well told. It started off a bit like an episode of the Sweeney and then turned in to a kind of Sweeney meets Nightmare on Elm street. A bit gruesome in places and some of it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. The four main characters making up the police squad are well matched and the story bowled along at a rapid pace and made kind of sense.Good fun.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "London calling to the imitation zone", 21 Feb 2013
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
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Although I know there's a genre called urban fantasy/paranormal/supernatural, I haven't dipped my toes into it beyond a few examples that bleed over into the detective genre. As it happens, both of those were also first books in London-set series: Ben Aaronovich "Rivers of London" series (Midnight Riot / Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho, Whispers Underground) and Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May series (Full Dark House, The Water Room, Seventy-Seven Clocks, etc.). The premise of those two earlier series is that there is a supernatural London that exists alongside our real present-day one, and that special police officers can act to police that world. This book takes that same exact line, as a handful of police form a special unit to take on a powerful supernatural serial killer.

But before that happens, the story opens in media res, with two undercover police detectives within the inner circle of London's gangster lord. There's a rather choppy and confusing opening 40 pages or so, in which their operation is about to be shut down if they can't come up with some concrete information. Then something dramatic occurs, and the undercover officers, their boss, and a police intelligence analyst are put together to figure out what happened. It still takes quite a while for their investigation to get going, and even when it does, the pacing is off and description of the supernatural world isn't always clear. The book might have benefited from a revision or stronger editorial hand on the first third. Eventually, it does start to smooth out and pick up momentum, and in the final fifty pages or so the plot really kicks in.

Unfortunately, although strong in atmosphere and horror elements, the book really falters in characterization. At the start of the story the three policemen seem somewhat interchangeable and it's hard to really form any proper picture of them. Eventually, I ended up viewing them more as types (the angry one, the gay one, the analytical one, the boss), rather than fully realized characters. That really took away from my ability to get drawn into their encounters with the supernatural, and is also why I doubt I'll bother reading any further books in the series. It's not that the book or story was bad per se, but without compelling characters to take you along, it's hard to care that much about rich atmosphere for its own sake. Definitely worth checking out if you're a reader with a strong interest in urban fantasy (or whatever you want to call it) or books set in London, but not one I'd recommend widely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 30 Jan 2014
By 
K. Davies "Lagavulinlad" (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London Falling (James Quill 1) (Paperback)
I very rarely give up on a book. When I've paid good money for it I read it regardless, but I'm afraid "London Falling" has beaten me. I really hated this book, hated the plot, the characters, and most of all the writing.
I can quite understand some people enjoying it, but it most definitely is not for me, not even when I have paid hard earned money for it. One for the charity shop I am afraid!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like The Sweeney if magic was involved., 10 May 2013
By 
Mr. L. Jeffery "Ghost Reader" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This book was interesting to read as I wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first. Its clearly designed as a police/magic story, with a group of police officers being given "The Sight" by accident and using it to police a world that most of us don't even see. The story itself developed well, with the officers discovering how to use this "Sight" to catch a criminal, and also trying to understand a world that they didn't even know existed.
The story is well written, with a great twist. Despite the take on modern policing, you can feel the writer almost harking back to the old days of The Sweeney where coppers were more about getting results than following procedure. You can see also see the writers love of London, and while not geared only towards Londoners, I think people who live or work, or have lived or worked in London will get more of a kick out of some of the references (particularly West Ham Fans).
He also sets the plot up at the end for a sequel which I hope he has the chance to write as I see alot of potential for future development and an overriding story arc.
The only reason I didn't give this book a full 5 Stars is that it does get a bit bogged down in the middle with the characters learning about their abilities, While I know this is bound to happen with stories it just felt a bit of a struggle to make it through that part of the novel. Though I would say if you do buy this book, dont give up half way through as the last third of the novel does make it worth while as the action builds up and it concludes with an interesting lead in to another novel (Which I hope is forthcoming soon).
Overall I would recommend the book, as it works in the idea of magic and the modern police force with a nice hark back to the days of The Sweeney. Worth a look if you like magic, police novels with a twist, or just looking for something a bit different.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun supernatural police procedural, but nothing new to see. Just move along..., 30 Mar 2013
By 
M. W. Hatfield "mwhatfield" (Gainsborough, Lincolnshire) - See all my reviews
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Paul Cornell is a cracking writer: his comic scripts are witty,clever and sensitive. His TV writing is sharp and well focussed. Unfortunately, this book is not. The premise is sound, if unoriginal- a group of mismatched urban detectives are flung into conflict with the supernatural. A neat idea, which allows him to blend tough urban dialogue with inventive fantasy tropes. here though, it just doesn't quite work. The opening is turgid and confusing. Persevere, and it livens up considerably, especially once the supernatural elements come into play. And then it sort of ends, ready for a sequel.
It's not bad: Cornell's too good a writer for that,but it never really takes off and fulfills the promise of the blurb. Worth reading, but it won't revolutionise the genre. Shame...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Written for t.v., 8 Mar 2013
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...and actually it will probably be very good, too. I thought this book started extraordinarily well, both conforming to and subverting the structure and style of the detective genre with a little supernatural activity thrown in. The concepts of the phantasmagoria, specifically the rules and limits of the paranormal entities within are very well drawn up and conformed to. The shock of the characters at having consensual reality turned into a multi-dimensional nightmare is conveyed very well, and i was pretty gripped until about two thirds of the way through. This is the point where the horror aspect of the book kicked in and besides being unnecessarily distressing (come on Paul Cornell, there is enough horror and torture in the real world....) it was just plain unpleasant. The equation of witchcraft with pacts with demons - or, as is hinted - the Devil, is a touch outdated. Although the conceit of a demonic presence is not part of my own preferred fantasy cosmology, I was prepared to put this aside and suspend my disbelief until the point where the information about disappearances got too graphic. I wasn't at all surprised when I learned at the end of the book that Cornell wrote with Steven Moffat and that this was originally a script for a television programme. I do honestly believe that were it transformed back to a script it would make truly tremendous television - let's face it, it has a pretty good pedigree!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic!, 19 Dec 2012
By 
HC Murphy "duchess_of_the_dark" (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London Falling (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this. It started out as a crime drama, took a crazy left into the supernatural & caterers onwards from there. The characterisation is very well done, as are the concepts of magic, the Sight & 'remembering'. There's a few twists in the tale & I was kept well & truly hooked till the end, where things are set up neatly for a sequel.
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London Falling (James Quill 1)
London Falling (James Quill 1) by Paul Cornell (Paperback - 18 July 2013)
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