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on 2 February 2013
Unlike most other urban fantasies I've enjoyed - and there are many, it's one of my favourite genres - this one isn't lighthearted in places. No, it's grim, hostile and brutal, and comes mixed with more than a small pinch of horror.

But it also does a masterful job of guiding the reader from watching a dysfunctional group of coppers driving a failing undercover obs mission into the ground to... well, I won't spoil it. But this book has some of the best character growth and development I have ever seen. It's a masterwork.

I can't recommend this enough. It's not always easy - sometimes you'll be wondering if this is the right sort of book for you at all, as it certainly steps outside everyone's comfort zones. But it rewards your persistence, and while there's plenty of room for sequels, it's conclusion is vastly more satisfying than most series openers, right to the last page.

Simply brilliant. Buy it at once.
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on 3 September 2014
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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on 31 December 2014
This was quite an intriguing book. I really struggled to get into it for the first 10% and I noticed that some reviewers had compared it unfavourably with Ben Aaronovitch whose books I love. However, I would not compare the two at all. Aaronovitch has a much lighter touch generally and there are some really funny moments Paul Cornell's writing was almost 100% dramatic - I never really felt that any/all of the main characters could survive and the pace and sense of doom was all pervading and relentless. Having said all that, the book did grip me and I did thoroughly enjoy it by the end.

There were times though when I felt that the book was perhaps overlong and events did not proceed at a fast enough pace.

All in all a well written book with good characters and I would like to read the next one!
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on 2 January 2013
I first heard about London Falling when Paul Cornell contacted me to ask a few questions about Tudor history so I was excited to read it when it came out. I wasn't disappointed. I love Stephen King and felt that this was in a similar style and it had a wonderful fast pace. It starts out like a normal police thriller but events quickly take a supernatural turn and the reader is left wondering if the team will survive to prevent Mora Losley from taking more lives. How do normal human beings put an end to something that is beyond their comprehension and with supernatural powers?

An exciting read and highly recommended to those who enjoy horrors, thrillers and urban fantasy novels. An excellent debut and I can't wait to read more from Cornell.
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I loved this - its kept me up until 3am to finish it. Written by a "Dr Who" writer, its more "Torchwood" in feel. Its a London police story, which starts with an undercover operation which suddenly takes on a supernatural element. And then things really get going...

If I have one criticism, its that the individual coppers were hard to distinguish at the beginning, I kept having to work out who Quill was as opposed to Sefton or one of their other colleagues. This resolved itself by about page 70.

Possibly not for parents of small children, or West Ham supporters, but if you liked "Rivers of London" by Ben Aaronovitch then you'll love this - its a lot grittier and has more dimensions, but I loved them both. MORE please.
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on 22 December 2013
I bought this as an extra alongside Rivers of London 4 and the latest Alex Verus novel, (both of which where very enjoyable and familiar)
It didn't start well for me, (I did not like the names of the first characters!) I was preparing myself for disappointment when I found myself turning the page, then the next page, then the next......
Its not the best first book ever (joe Abercrombie's "the blade itself", that is a best first book ever) but it is more than good enough. Maybe like Harry Dresden, started good enough and just got better and better.
I am expecting and hoping the same of Paul Cornell
Congratulations Paul, I'm excited for the next!
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on 1 January 2013
A small group of police officers gain special powers in a bizarre accident while investigating a most peculiar suspect for a series of most unlikely murders. Paranormal police-procedurals set in London are popular at the moment - Ben Aaronovitch's _Rivers of London_, Kate Griffin's _Midnight Mayor_ series - but this book takes a very different angle on the interaction between different parts of the mundane world and the irrefutably paranormal.

It's not a book with London as the over-arching main character; it's much more character-driven, as befits one of the better writers for the current Dr Who series. Definitely a worthwhile read.
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on 6 February 2013
When I started reading this novel, I was quite disappointed for the first few pages. I'd been expecting something on the lines of Ben Aaronovitch's wonderful London novels and it isn't like those. It does fall into the same rough category in that it is supernatural, is a policier, and is urban. But it is much darker, grittier and doomier. One particularly striking feature was that we start off with a bunch of ordinary police officers who in the process of dealing with supernatural evil forces, begin to recognise and develop paranormal skills themselves. West Ham supporters might not enjoy it.
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on 19 December 2012
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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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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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