Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Review - Broken Homes (JS)

Broken Homes By Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London 4)
Review by Jacqui Slaney
Being a  fan of this series, I bought this book very quickly on it's release, but promised myself that I wouldnt rush into reading it. Afterall, I had numerous other things to read, and if I read it too fast which was my habit, I would have ages to wait till the next one. But then being told that hospital visits and a opertaion was again on the cards, I decided to give in to temptation and just read it.
This is the description:
A mutilated body in Crawley. Another killer on the loose. The prime suspect is one Robert Weil; an associate of the twisted magician known as the Faceless Man? Or just a common or garden serial killer? Before PC Peter Grant can get his head round the case a town planner going under a tube train and a stolen grimoire are adding to his case-load. So far so London. But then Peter gets word of something very odd happening in Elephant and Castle, on an housing estate designed by a nutter, built by charlatans and inhabited by the truly desperate.
Is there a connection?
And if there is, why oh why did it have to be South of the River?
This is the fourth in the series, and though you can read this one without knowing the rest, I would recommend that you read these books in the correct order as the knowledge of the main characters gained from the other books does help in your enjoyment.
As in the others the story is told by Peter Grant a police constable who due to a series of rather strange events now finds himself a trainee wizard belonging to the Met Police's magical branch, not something he saw coming when he applied for the job.
I know I have mentioned this before in other reviews, but I really like the character of Peter, he has some great dialogue which at times is really funny. The descriptions of his skills training I enjoyed, the author manages to make  the idea of someone standing in an housing estate garden in the Elephant and Castle practicing werelights and floating water balls quite believable. The supporting cast of Lesley and Nightingale are here as are Toby the dog and Molly whose cooking skills are very entertaining.
This story has a slightly different feel at start with seemingly different events, murder, suicide and burglary all happening. But then the common thread is found in a particularly nasty death and Peter and the team see that the Faceless Man has appeared again.
There are reviews that say that the start of this book is too slow, that too much time is taken up by police work. But I found the interactions with the ordinary police good and stop me if I am wrong, but  Peter, Nightingale and Lesley are all members of the  police, though with magical skills so you are going to get police procedures written about in such a setting. People also complain about typos and the need for editing, yes there are mistakes here and there in the text, but there are not many and do not distract from the story.
The writing and detail as in the other books are excellent, there is something about reading a book set in a place that you know well, that makes it somehow comfortable to read,  as it is much easier for the reader to visualize the scene. The use of the supernatural creatures is also skillfully woven into the tale and shows what happens when you seriously upset one.
The threads of the plot are pulled together well, though there is a major upset at the end which you may not see coming, but is still shocking even when you half expect it and makes the characters even more real to you.
This twist leaves a major opening for the next book, which I for one will definitely be looking out for.
9 out of 10