Top critical review
14 August 2018
This first book in the PC Peter Grant series starts off in quite a riotous manner, what with a headless corpse, a spectral eye-witness to the grisly murder off Covent Garden, and an elusive suspect who seems able to change his clothes (and face) with supernatural speed to escape detection by CCTV cameras.
Throw in the warring gods, Father and Mama Thames, and the latter’s bewitching daughters, who rule over their respective tributaries, an officially-sanctioned detective-wizard, Thomas Nightingale, who heads his own investigative department of supernatural crime of sorts, and at the heart of it, the hapless police constable Peter Grant, who is roped in as his apprentice right after his probationary stint to solve the case of the headless corpse, and we have a supernatural urban fantasy mystery thriller. The writing is humorous and Grant’s bumbling, everyman character, makes for an entertaining read.
The magic in the novel is also dealt with in a logical manner, and it is believable how Grant struggles to form a werelight as his induction into wizardry by picturing a “forma” in his head, and his hyperawareness of supernatural presence, or their afterimage, through “vestigial”, also makes the juxtaposition between the supernatural and the normal environs quite palpable. It is however in the Folly, Nightingale’s abode and headquarters, that I felt the book gave way to sketchy caricature. There is the requisite otherworldly housekeeper with questionable culinary skills, who is not unlike a ghost/vampire out of a Japanese horror film/anime, complete with long black hair, togged out in Edwardian maid uniform, hisses rather than speaks, and who practically glides around the cavernous halls at incredible speed.
The novel seems a promising start to a light and entertaining series, but if the Kindle version which I read from is anything to go by, it is in desperate need of better editing and proofreading, because the typos were just too glaring to be ignored, and marred much of my enjoyment of the book.