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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 November 2016
I was so impressed with Paul Cornell's London Falling, that I've had to buy and read the sequel, The Severed Streets within days - and it doesn't disappoint.

In the first book, a motley crew of three police officers and an analyst discover the dark magic lying beneath London. This second 'Shadow Police' title (I'm not sure about that series name) takes them deeper into the weirdness that lies out of sight to most, as a series of rich men are slaughtered horribly with a razor. All this takes place alongside ant-capitalism riots and a police strike, leaving London a place that's best avoided.

In reviewing London Falling, I said:
imagine a combination of a modern version of The Devil Rides Out, a dark police procedural and a sprinkling of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and you might come close
Here were discover why that last comparison was particularly apt (I had no idea, honestly) - because Neil Gaiman is a character in this book and the suggestion is that the book version of Neverwhere was inspired by his experiences.

I ought to stress that this book is nothing like Neverwhere - it's much more gritty, without the comedy (though Cornell can't resist a Sweeney joke at one point), and tries to establish what a set of unconventional coppers would do faced with the discovery of an occult world.

There's some good character progression here from the first book. Three of the four main characters have experiences that enable us to see far more of their characters, while a fifth, mysterious character on their side is given a little more exposure. The situation the officers find themselves in is dire - it's difficult to see how they are going to survive this one and it is as much of a page turner as its predecessor.

I liked The Severed Streets very much, though I don't think it's quite as good as the original. This is because some of the subplots don't work quite as well, because the introduction of a real person like Gaiman feels wrong, and because the police inspector's experience in the second half sits uncomfortably with the style of the rest, shocking though it is. Nevertheless, this book cements Cornell as the UK's new master of this kind of urban fantasy... and I've already ordered volume 3.
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on 19 May 2017
This book was so gripping, I bought the rest in the series! A police team investigate strange happenings in London - which can be caused by the collective memories of Londoners themselves, and also by artefacts from London which can have strange powers. Those who have the 'Sight' see many strange and terrible things, but attempt to add to their knowledge and solve crime in a policing way, using the methodology of their training. If you like crime with a twist, then this book is for you.
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on 1 April 2017
Second in the Shadow Police series and every bit as gripping as the first. Setting the supernatural alongside ordinary police procedures is fascinating. Different from the more lightweight (although also enjoyable) Rivers of London series, Paul Cornell conjures up a completely convincing and terrifying world. Having known him as a Doctor Who writer, I've only recently discovered his other works and love every one of them.
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on 31 March 2017
Brilliant read. I like that the ending isn't sugar coated, and that the emotional toil is clear on the characters: gritty and great. Only read if you're read the previous books in the series: but absolutely do read it.
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on 24 June 2017
Very pleased with goods and speedy service
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on 22 March 2017
a really good read.
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on 27 April 2017
Great book
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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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VINE VOICEon 7 July 2014
Paul Cornell's London Falling was a horror story that evolved into more conventional urban fantasy motifs towards the end; this sequel (or second in the series) stays closer to the urban fantasy style with some moments of horror. It is an entertaining read with some development for each of the characters gifted with the Sight which means they can see a deeper more mythic (and mystical) London.

I nearly gave this three stars - the author plays with the fourth wall too much for me with odd in-jokes (turning off the Clash's London Calling at the beginning, the longbarrow idea) and most of all it incorporates a real world person in a way that while amusing comes across as unnecessary.

There is also a major plot twist that, while shocking at the moment, by the end of the book resolves in a predictable way though one which raises complications for future books.

A good read, reasonable pace though I do wonder if Paul Cornell has quite settled on the voice he wants to use for this series.

If you enjoy the Ben Aaronovich Rivers of London series this is a darker world than that but one you will probably enjoy
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This is the second of Cornell’s series featuring James Quill and his team of paranormally aware London police officers – or rather, the fact that there is a second volume means, I hope, that now there is a continuing series. “London Falling” certainly deserved a follow up, and this is as good or better. There is a bit of recapping at the start, necessary because details from the earlier book are important, but Cornell prevents that making the story drag. Rather, we’re into violent action from the start, with the team racing to stop a supernatural killer who acts very much like Jack the Ripper – except that his victims are not poor women but rich men.

This takes place against a background of cuts, austerity and protest. Even the police are about to down truncheons and strike - (eerily topical, given current fraught relations between the Home Secretary and the Police Federation?) London is suddenly full of demonstrators dressed (and masked) as “Toffs” – among whom the killer can slip unnoticed.

As with the previous book, the investigation has Quill’s team – Ross, Sefton and Costain – strained to the limit (or way beyond). They have the Sight, the ability to see that other, magical London, but they’re not wizards, they can’t control it or protect themselves or others except by applying their policing skills, working methodically and deductively – and putting themselves in the line of fire. Nor is there anywhere they can turn to for information or support. There is a real feeling of danger in this book, of sulphur and brimstone, as the team take risks. Probably, some of them go too far, uncovering a heady mix of politics, ancient power, mixed motives (not least from some of the team themselves) and a clash between old and new ways in the magical community. Cornell holds this together superbly, conveying the sense that there is order to what’s happening, there is a pattern, it’s not just one thing after another, even when events get very bizarre indeed and, as Quill points out, "anything can mean anything".

It is becoming clear that behind the immediate events of these books there is a deeper story unfolding, involving the Smiling Man who turned up in London Falling. Something is wrong in London, connected with the absence of the “Continuing Projects Team”, leaving the magical side of things unpoliced. Quill’s team, answering to the enigmatic Lofthouse, seek to fill this gap, but they don’t know the rules – a tricky situation for police to be in.

It’s a superb story which builds tension and gets harder and harder to put down. I’m looking forward to the next!
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