Moon Over Soho (2011) – Ben Aaronovitch

Constable Peter Grant returns to investigate the supernatural in the second novel in the Rivers of London series written by Ben Aaronovitch. Picking up about six months after the first book, the novel sees Grant still dealing with the fallout from the events of the first novel, particularly the attack that left his friend, and potential love interest, Leslie, in terrible shape.

Still being inducted into the magical world of occult policing, Grant resides at the Folly with his instructor, Nightingale, the dog Toby, and the strange creature, Molly, who serves as the Folly’s keeper. Grant soon finds himself mired in another case, one involving the bizarre deaths of jazz musicians, but that isn’t the only case that Grant finds himself working on, it seems something is going around and biting off men’s genitals.

The story allows Grant to spend some time with his father, who he is surprised to see is recovering from his drug use, and getting back into playing music (jazz of course), and of course, that means that sooner or later his father may be in harm’s way, unless Grant can figure out what is killing these musicians.

The who is pretty easy to figure out, and it isn’t much of a reveal, so Aaronovitch doesn’t bother to make that part of the story too complicated. But he does weave in more threads, as it seems there is a very well trained evil magician at work in London, and he and Nightingale may have a new enemy in town…

But that just adds to the worldbuilding that Aaronvitch does, planting seeds for future payoffs, while making sure to give the story lots of humour, and pop culture references.

There’s a lot going on in these books, as they continue to blend police procedural with the supernatural, and they are a riot to read. Grant is a great character, and he’s very easy to relate to as he works to develop his magic skills, and study Latin, all while trying to crack a case, and deal with some interesting developments in his love life.

The story’s end plants seeds for what is to come, especially concerning Leslie, and we are left to wonder about the nature and identity of the evil magician and when he will resurface.

I love how Aaronovitch doles out his story, as well as playing with expected tropes and delivering some laugh out loud bits of dialogue and narrative. Told in the first person, we get to buckle up and enjoy the incidents of Grant’s life, and deal with the issues that arise throughout.

With two novels, Aaronovitch has successfully created a world that I have already fallen in love with, and enjoy visiting, so I will have to hunt down the third one in the series almost immediately. But the Toronto Public Library is keeping me busy with more and more of my holds being ready to be read!

I can’t wait to see what is next for Grant!

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