Book Review – Moon Over Soho

I read the first Rivers of London book last year, but with the book being both so intense and so well written, the time gap made no difference. I remembered everything important, and jumped into listening to book two, Moon Over Soho, very excitedly. I kept scrolling through Audible trying to decide what to listen to, and ended up deciding that I needed the comforts of the wonderful narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith combined with the wit of the author. There are some books that are brilliant in all formats, and this series comes under that bracket.

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad. 

Sometimes book one of a series acts as an introduction to a world as well as a book in its own right, and that’s very much the case with Rivers of London. In this second book, we’re met with far more magic and far more knowledge of the magical world that the author has created, having given us such a strong foundation to build on. I enjoyed Rivers of London – but I loved Moon Over Soho.

The book manages to twist and turn between Peter’s personal and professional life with ease, and it is both brilliant and difficult at times – especially when you find yourself wanting to shout at him down the pages – which is a true credit to the author. With music forming the backbone to the novel, we slip between locations and deaths, with two cases running at once, the constant question being: are they connected?

Once again, Ben Aaronovitch entertains and amuses, all while keeping a vibrant mystery running throughout. If you hear the words “supernatural crime fiction” it might conjure up all kinds of dysfunctional images, and yet here, we find a series that really, truly works.

Moon Over Soho really gets the ball rolling with what I suspect will be the main story line of the series (you know the rules – no spoilers!), and I can’t wait to see what our cast of characters get up to next.


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