Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
Review by Jacqui Slaney
I recently reviewed the Rivers of London by this author and thought it only fair to review this one too.
This is the description:
I was my dad's vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that's how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it's why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn't the first. No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn't trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus' ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens' portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives. And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard 'Lord' Grant - my father - who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That's the thing about policing: most of the time you're doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you're doing it for justice. And maybe once in a career, you're doing it for revenge.
This is the second in the series, and if I was worried that I would not enjoy this one as much, I was soon reassured.
This story continues not long after the events of the first book with both the characters of Nightingale and Lesley recovering from what they went through. So this leaves Peter as the only wizard on active police duty, which is worrying for all concerned as in his training his spells of the effect of setting fire to things.
This story is about creatures that feed off jazz musicians, sometimes killing them in the process, these creatures Peter labels as jazz vampires. You follow Peter through his investigation and his continued training. There is more of a background in this one to the history of this magic section of the Met Police, and you learn some more about Nightingale. His family is also more involved with Peter discovering how this vampire has affected his own fathers’ career. All the characters are much more rounded in this book which is normal once a series has become established, the writer hasn’t got to worry about introducing all his mains, he can spend time expanding them and making them more interesting.
As in the first novel there is loads of humour (people are starting to avoid me on buses now when I laugh but at least it gets you a seat), do not worry if you are not a jazz fan, I am not particularly but I still really enjoyed this book. It is such an easy book to read, Peter Grant is one of my favourite characters, his whole attitude to policing and magic is entertaining.
The plot of the story is good and the writing is fast paced and excellent. This is definitely a second novel though so I recommend that you read ‘Rivers of London’ first as it is helpful to the reader to know the previous events.
The third novel is now out and with the experience of the last two; I know it is going to be a good one.
10 out of 10