A London detective story with a supernatural twist; Peter Grant is a probationary constable about to get his posting within the Metropolitan police force when he encounters an apparent ghost while guarding a crime scene. When back at the station he is assigned to the “Case Progression Unit” where his primary job will be to write up the case reports of other officers. As he is about to start within the Unit he is approached by Chief Inspector Nightingale and is taken upon a new journey as a trainee wizard within the police department; solving the crimes that are deemed to unusual for “normal” policing.
I loved the book. It filled my need for a mystery as well as having a paranormal aspect. Peter is a very well written character, even with his life spiralling around him he still manages to keep a cool head. I liked that he was able to provide insights and actively tried to work out how the magic works instead of just accepting it as just magic. He is a well-rounded and realistic character right down to his relationship, or lack of a physical relationship, with Leslie May. They interact with each other brilliantly and while Peter may come across as keen in his thoughts to “get in her pants” he doesn’t let it affect their working relationship too much.
Throughout the novel the reader is introduced to lots of different species from the paranormal world which I loved. The different power plays and the history were all interesting and all added something to the novel. More species weren’t added for face value and to show how big the world is. Every species had its place and played a part within the plot.
The fact that the novel was set in London was a big bonus for me. Most of the crime/mystery novels are set in America and to have one in the United Kingdom made it feel more real, for me anyway. Aaronovitch has captured London brilliantly. As I travel to London a lot I could get a clear picture of where they were and the atmosphere around them. Also, it was great to have a supernatural novel set in the United Kingdom. Most are set in fantasy worlds or, again in my opinion, America. Bringing these genres to home soil will hopefully encourage other British authors to do the same.
The story had plenty of twists, turns and intrigue culminating with a dramatic conclusion. If you hadn’t guessed already I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.