Monday, September 17, 2012

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

This book was, apparently, the third in a series.  Having read it out of turn, the mystery stands on its own, but some of the side points were left unexplained -- the fact that the author did not re-explain every interesting point is something I definitely would have appreciated, had I read the first two books.  In this one, it left me wondering, but did not interrupt the story.

Semi-rookie Peter Grant investigates crimes in London when "other" explanations are required.  His partner Lesley wears a mask because, as she explains at the beginning of the book, her face fell off.  I imagine this whole story is encompassed in book 2, but in book 3, it merely adds to the overall ambience of the book.  Nightingale is their boss and they live at the Folly with Molly, who I assume is their ghost housekeeper (again, probably detailed in a prior book).

The mystery in this book is fun and Aaronovitch spends time going through the hoops of crime investigation.  It's an entertaining read for a saturday afternoon or a plane ride (where I did most of my reading).

On the cover is a portion of a review that claims that this book is the perfect mix of Harry Potter and CSI.  As a Harry Potter fan, I beg to differ.  This book is more like the Dresden Files, without the same level of darkness or angry wry humor, and with more investigation and cop-speak.  I can only assume the Harry Potter reference on the cover is due to a few Harry Potter references throughout the book itself, and the fact that there are wizards and "fae."  Perhaps if I had read books 1 and 2 I might understand the comparison more -- being brought through a new world and learning of magical creatures as the main character does is part of the magic of Harry Potter.  Harry Grant spends more effort not being shocked because cops are supposed to know  more than the public and, necessarily, an element of wonder is absent.

Overall, I enjoyed Aaronovitch's sense of humor (quite a lot at times), and I appreciated the distinctly london feel and dialect.  I would recommend the book, particularly to someone who is interested in a detective solving crimes involving the supernatural.

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