Book Review – The October Man (Rivers of London #7.5)

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of The October Man, book number #7.5 in the Rivers of London series. You can find the previous reviews here:

Trier is famous for wine, Romans and for being Germany’s oldest city. So when a man is found dead with his body impossibly covered in a fungal rot, the local authorities know they are out of their depth.

Fortunately this is Germany, where there are procedures for everything.

Enter Investigator Tobias Winter, whose aim is to get in, deal with the problem, and get out with the minimum of fuss, personal danger and paperwork. With the help of frighteningly enthusiastic local cop, Vanessa Sommer, he’s quick to link the first victim to a group of ordinary middle aged men – and to realise they may have accidentally reawakened a bloody conflict from a previous century. But the rot is still spreading, literally and with the suspect list extending to people born before Frederick the Great solving the case may mean unearthing the city’s secret magical history.

. . . so long as that history doesn’t kill them first.

Being back with the characters from Rivers of London is always a comfort, so this was an interesting book. So much of it was familiar, and so much of it was different. My overall impression? Clever.

I enjoyed Tobias as a protagonist, with his dry human and ocassional opinions about Peter and Nightingale. As with all of Aaronovitch’s books, the story had so many layers, and I was impressed by how much history and crime fiction was packed into a novella. The descriptive work of setting it in a wine valley was so atmospheric, and despite never having visited the city, I could picture myself sipping a glass of wine in one of the wine bars discussed.

I really loved the magical side of the novella. It was a brand new story, with a brand new mystery, and of course, brand new magic. Combining the beauty of the setting perfectly with the history of a location is something that the author always excels at, and here he proved that as well as magic not being only native to London, neither is his skill. The unique story that was told would only have worked in this setting, and that just makes it a wonder.

Seeing the magical world in action outside of London – and outside of England, at that – was something I’ve always been curious to see, and would love to see more of, both from Tobias, and maybe from other officers around the world too in future books.

Thanks so much for stopping by for the review of this novella today. If you’re thinking about starting the Rivers of London series, but you’re not quite sure where to start, this is a great opportunity to get an insight into the magical system that Aaronovitch writes without any future spoilers.

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