Graphic Novel Review – Rivers of London: Body Work

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of the first graphic novel that slots into the Rivers of London series, Body Work.

Peter Grant is part of a very special London police unit. Full-time cop and part-time wizard, he works on rather unusual crimes–those that involve magic and the general weirdness that permeates London’s dark underbelly.

His latest case begins with a perfectly innocent car on a homicidal killing spree–without a driver. But then, before you know it, there’s a Bosnian refugee, the Most Haunted Car in England, a bunch of teenagers loaded on Ketamine and a seemingly-harmless wooden bench with the darkest of pasts…

Story Review
Set between book four – Broken Homes – and book five – Foxglove Summer – this storyline focuses around a selection of haunted cars. As always, there’s more to this story than first appears, and it’s only as we reach the end of the pages that things pull together. Aaronovich has a real skill for dropping hints to the full extent of what’s going on in his books, and this translated to this first graphic novel too.

What I found really amusing and interesting is that as the story so clearly represents Aaronovich’s other works, is that the characters are so clearly the same. Maybe that sounds odd, as they’re written by the same person, but I wasn’t sure how it would be. Even the sarcastic inner workings of Peter’s brain are still there, and I found myself narrating it in my mind in the voice of the audiobooks without even meaning to.

What we also get from this graphic novel that I’ve always wanted from the books is a bit more of a focus on Nightingale. We see a bit of his own experiences, but also how he works and functions outside of Peter’s line of sight, something we’re not privileged to see in the books as the reader isn’t all knowing. He’s one of my favourite characters from the series, if not my absolute favourite, so any extra insight we get to him is a real plus.

Illustrations Review
TW: Graphic hanging image on multiple pages; several bloody images; images of drowning.

Sometimes with a book series, I’ll have looked at fan art a lot as I struggle to picture things mentally. I can appreciate the beauty of descriptions or places, but picturing them in my mind is a completely different matter! I like looking at fan art as, even if I don’t retain the imagines mentally, I enjoy the whole “oh THAT’S what they meant!” moment.

With this series I hadn’t looked at fan art, not because I wasn’t interested, but because I just simply hadn’t, and so these were the first representations I’d seen of the characters that I’ve now got to know quite well through the series. The illustrations of Nightingale in particular were captivating, and there’s one where he is backlit by a car which is a sheer work of art.

Whereas some of the graphic novels I’ve read this year have been quite whimsical and magical, this was capturing real life in illustrations, a completely different manner of drawing, and while there’s no doubt that all illustrators are skilled, I was blown away by these. I’m looking forward to the next issue for equal parts story and illustration.

Thanks for stopping by today for this review. I’ll be back with my review of another Rivers of London book soon, as this graphic novel really propelled me back into the series head first, and I picked up Lies Sleeping almost immediately after finishing it!


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