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Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Cover Artist: Wes Youssi / M80 Design
Review by Drew Bittner
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345524591
Date: 22 February 2011 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Blog / Show Official Info /

Constable Peter Grant is back, in his second adventure. When jazz musicians start turning up dead, in the most horrible ways, this looks like a case for Grant, apprentice wizard and rookie police officer.

In Moon Over Soho, Grant discovers his professional life as a police officer and wizard-in-training colliding with his personal life. He's the son of Richard "Lord" Grant, a jazz musician whose career self-destructed years ago. Someone is murdering up-and-coming jazz musicians with magic, a case that only Grant (and his boss, Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale) can handle.

The first victim is Cyrus Wilkinson. Grant interviews his lover, the jazz-loving Simone Fitzwilliam, in time to see Wilkinson's wife arrive to confront Simone. He also befriends Cyrus's bandmates, which leads to a tour of the current jazz scene in London.

Meanwhile, he checks up on Leslie May, his fellow police officer, who was hideously disfigured in his last case. Surgery will not restore her beauty, and although Grant finds himself at a loss over the guilt he feels for her condition, Leslie finds ways to forge ahead.

More murders crop up, from a kid on his way to a law career to an older man who was half of a burlesque act. The only connection appears to be jazz, so after a disastrous attempt to lure out the murderer (with help from a demigod of London's rivers), Peter falls back on some irresistible bait: his own father.

But what he doesn't know is that his father's already encountered this murderer a long while ago, and that encounter contributed to his downward spiral. Once that comes clear, Grant realizes that this isn't just a case to be solved for the police--this is personal. And he wants revenge.

Ben Aaronovitch delivers a terrific follow-up to his novel Midnight Riot, the debut of Peter Grant and his own weird London. (Liz de Jager reviewed this novel previously; you can find that review here.) Grant continues to learn the ropes of magical London, a process that takes him on a trip through Nightingale's haunted past and into some of the most interesting places you won't find on any official tour. Aaronovitch makes the story sing, building momentum until the ending is literally breathless.


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