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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Urban Fantasy should be
London Falling begins as a big drug bust is about to take place. It's an operation that's been years in the planning and involves two undercover officers. The bust is happening now more because they're running out of money than because the timing's just right, nevertheless they manage to arrest a local gang boss and several of his "soldiers". Unfortunately this coup is...
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE SWEENEY take on hell
DI Quill arrests Rob Toshack (the head of a crime organisation with an uncanny ability to stay ahead of the police and absorb its competitors without turf wars) on the same night when Toshack's been behaving strangely - taking his crew on a house to house search for someone unknown. With the help of Sefton and Costain - two undercover officers who've infiltrated...
Published 24 months ago by I Read, Therefore I Blog


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Urban Fantasy should be, 10 Mar 2013
This review is from: London Falling (Shadow Police series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
London Falling begins as a big drug bust is about to take place. It's an operation that's been years in the planning and involves two undercover officers. The bust is happening now more because they're running out of money than because the timing's just right, nevertheless they manage to arrest a local gang boss and several of his "soldiers". Unfortunately this coup is short-lived as he's killed whilst in police custody. In fact whilst he's being interviewed and in full view of CCTV. Nevertheless it's not clear who, what or how the murder took place.

Shortly after this a small unit is formed to investigate this. It turns out to have been a supernatural killing and after visiting a related crime scene the team acquire `The Sight' which is the ability to see... well what exactly it is they can see is explored in the rest of the novel, but for now I'll just say that it adds an extra dimension to things.

I loved this book. However I do have to say that it took me a while to get into it. The first two or three chapters have almost no supernatural element at all and I suppose since that's why I had picked up the book I was waiting for that to appear. Once it did however we were off to the races. In the past I've scored books highly because they had a page-turning quality but they haven't always stayed with me once I've finished them. London Falling was not like that. It was page-turning because I really wanted to know what happened but when I found out what happened I was usually more intrigued and more concerned about the characters.

Cornell has said that one of the things he wanted to do was show how real Police officers would handle the supernatural, and what it would be like if they applied the same set of techniques to these other-worldly experiences as they do to every day investigations. I think that's where the book sets itself apart. It's also why I think the first section of the book is what it is - we need to establish what `ordinary' policing is like to some extent.

This book reminded me of a couple of other authors when I was reading it. First Michael Marshall Smith - specifically Only Forward - it has a similar sense of a dream/spirit world that lies alongside the everyday world. Secondly it reminded me of the better Ankh-Morpork set Discworld books. It has that same sense of a city being an intricate working mechanism and of the author being fascinated with how it all fits together. So yes, in the words of the old cliche, London really is a character in this book.

Having said that, this book reminded me of those others but is totally unlike them in style or tone. It is its own book and that's to its credit. It is a fairly intense book and the crimes committed are pretty gruesome stuff. But then it's definitely no worse than some of your serial killer thrillers. There is a thread of wry dark humour but it's not a light read, it is a rewarding one though.
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26 of 28 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 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE SWEENEY take on hell, 24 Dec 2012
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DI Quill arrests Rob Toshack (the head of a crime organisation with an uncanny ability to stay ahead of the police and absorb its competitors without turf wars) on the same night when Toshack's been behaving strangely - taking his crew on a house to house search for someone unknown. With the help of Sefton and Costain - two undercover officers who've infiltrated Toshack's organisation - he brings Toshack in, only for Toshack to brutally and mysteriously die in the middle of his interview.

Concerned that there's a mole within the police, Quill puts together a special team with Costain, Quill and analyst Lisa Ross who has special knowledge of the Toshack organisation. What they finds goes beyond their wildest imagination and when they're gifted with the Sight, they see a world beneath London filled with dark sights and darker doings. Soon they're on the trail of a murderous entity with a peculiar connection to West Ham football club and a fondness for human sacrifice and Quill's determined to bring it to justice whatever the cost ...

Paul Cornell's novel, the first in a new dark fantasy series, is THE SWEENEY takes on hell. I found it very slow to get started and quite bitty in terms of how the pieces fit together, although there are some great ideas underpinning it and it has potential to be an interesting series.

Part of the problem is that the narration is split between the members of Quill's team, which made it difficult for me to connect with any of them as they broadly boil down to the morally ambiguous one, the gay one, the dogged one and the one with a dodgy past. There's also a major plot point involving one character, which doesn't get revealed until the final quarter and relies on the reader not being given key information early on, which I found artificial.

Although the first third plods and heavily relies on exposition (including flashback scenes) I found that the pace picked up after and the villain and their connection to West Ham was creepily realised. I also liked how Cornell constructs the mythology underlying London and the introduction of the smiling main villain promises an interesting adversary over the course of the series.

While this wasn't an easy book to get into, it does end strongly and there's promise for the rest of the series, which I will be checking out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You with the tentacles... You're nicked!, 3 Sep 2014
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This review is from: London Falling (Shadow Police series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
3.5 stars.

"You with the tentacles, you're nicked."

An unusual and dark read complete with ghost buses, phantom ships, and a talking cat. A cross between Stephen Leather's Jack Nightingale series and Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels (with a rag-tag team investigating the paranormal, instead of one man). The main plot (a serial killer 'witch') - for me - is less intriguing than the characters themselves. I enjoyed how the team used their analytical police-approach to break the paranormal down into more manageable chunks.

The football angle turned me off, but I stuck with it, and I'm glad I did. I'll be reading the second where I suspect the series really starts to get into its stride.

(I'm not quite sure why it's ranked #77 in the Coming of Age categories on Amazon. As far as I can see, it has nothing to do with coming of age).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Police procedural with added supernatural, 19 Dec 2012
By 
E. Williams "etw69" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London Falling (Shadow Police series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is a very engaging read. Three cops and an intelligence analyst accidentally acquire the Sight and discover that the drugs gang they've been investigating for years has had some supernatural help. They try to continue the investigation while struggling to come to terms with the way their world has changed. It portrays their personal soulsearching without losing the tension of the narrative, and there are some perceptive comments about what it feels like to see things that other people don't. I also liked the fact that of the team of four, only one is a straight white guy - very refreshing.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Jury's Out, 4 Nov 2014
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This review is from: London Falling (Shadow Police series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is one of those books where you end up thinking 'hum, could have done better'. There's a good story and some good ideas here, but they deserve better handling. I almost gave up on this book at first. It was muddled, clunky and full of characters who were merging into each other. It was poor at keeping narrative going and there was a lot of semi stream of consciousness mumbo-jumbo in it. It got better, just about. Two of the characters, Ross and Quill began to work well, but the other two, Costain and Sefton, never really gelled for me till near the end. The interior monologue stuff kept on rearing its ugly head, and was mostly done badly and there's some really rough and wobbly physical descriptions of things and places which don't make sense and don't work well. What does work well is the juxtaposition of the police enquiry routine with the supernatural, and that's clever. And the surprise reveal concerning Quill is well built and used. For me this book needed better editing and more discipline in the writing. But I would probably try the next in the series, as that's what it is obviously planned to be. But if that wasn't better written I would give up.
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27 of 33 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
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars London Falling, 4 July 2014
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Paul Cornell is known to me as a writer of Doctor Who, and I was interested to see that he had written a novel. London Falling is I think best described as a mash-up of The Bill and Torchwood. What starts off as an ordinary London police force undercover operation soon turns into an experience for those involved in the operation which falls well outside their police procedures. The four main characters – Quill, Costain, Sefton and Ross - are all very different people and all tough modern London police, but even they are shaken by what they seem to have uncovered. A new realm of experience is about to befall them, and it’s one that will take them to places they never knew existed, and change them all forever.

Absolutely enthralling, this book grabs you by the throat and drags you after it without mercy. The action is endless, the pacing frenetic, and the revelations follow one after another page after page. The characters are hard, brutal men and women who each have their own baggage to contend with, and the shadowy world they now find themselves in threatens not only their lives but their very sanity. This story is complete in itself, but I’m delighted to find that Paul Cornell has now written another story featuring DI Quill, The Severed Streets which I am going to read as soon as I can get hold of a copy. Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, sinister, captivating..., 20 May 2014
By 
Colin "artfully-vague" (Tewkesbury, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London Falling (Shadow Police series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This book was a surprise. I wasn't expecting it to be quite as good as it turned out. The first few pages had me wondering If a chapter of basic education in police procedure was missing as I felt I'd been dropped in the middle of the Sweeney. However as the book progressed I realised just how good a read it really is. It's at once strange, exciting and challenging. I can't wait for the next thrilling episode.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars scary suspense, 11 May 2014
By 
Mrs. C. E. Williams (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: London Falling (Shadow Police series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
5 stars for being unputdownable.
Recommend to every one.
Love combination of detection and paranormal.This is a great read. Brilliant.
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