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The Severed Streets
, 30 July 2014
This review is from: The Severed Streets (James Quill 2) (Hardcover)
This is the second book in the series which started with London Falling, a great blend of urban myth and police procedural which felt to me like a mashup of Torchwood and The Bill. Which made it all the funnier when I find that this book now has on the front cover a review by USA Today which references a mix of Doctor Who and CSI – great minds clearly think alike. Paul Cornell was best known to me before he started this series of novels as a Doctor Who writer, so he obviously thinks in that kind of sci-fi way which is now being utilised in these books.
This is a great sequel to London Falling in many ways, but I wonder if it has got a bit clever for its own good. I note that some reviewers have pulled the writer up on his use of a real author as a supporting cast member in this book. I would have to agree that it doesn’t seem like such a great idea, and doesn’t really work. Likewise, some of the culture references may, I fear have gone over my head. The author needs to be careful to not alienate his audience by making his writing or references so clever that it’s difficult for the reader to be able to take in the flow of the narrative, which is surely why we’re reading the book in the first place.
Having said that, the idea of both this and London Falling is incredibly clever, and Paul Cornell has done a great job in making that blend of ‘supernatural’ and ‘realism’ come together in a way that the imagination is captured. The narrative races along in this book, where DI Quill and his colleagues are starting to find out how they can use their new abilities. Right from the first page the action takes off, as a politician is brutally killed. How can Quill find out what’s going on? The use of the Ripper motif in this twenty-first century setting with twists and turns that leap out of the pages is also very clever and very well done. There’s great potential in this series, and I look forward to more from Paul Cornell.
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