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Moon Over Soho Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (March 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345524594
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345524591
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.1 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 68 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“A terrific follow-up to [Aaronovitch’s] novel Midnight Riot, the debut of Peter Grant and his own weird London. Grant continues to learn the ropes of magical London, a process that takes him on a trip through Nightingale's haunted past and into some of the most interesting places you won't find on any official tour. Aaronovitch makes the story sing, building momentum until the ending is literally breathless.”  --SF Revu

“A realistic modern-day police procedural populated by increasingly solid characters and written in the same consistently witty style as the first Peter Grant novel [Midnight Riot]. . . . One of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long time.”  --Fantasy Literature

About the Author

Ben Aaronovitch was born in London in 1964 and had the kind of dull routine childhood that drives a man to drink or to science fiction. He is a screenwriter, with early notable success on BBC television’s legendary Doctor Who, for which he wrote some episodes now widely regarded as classics, and which even he is quite fond of. He has also penned several groundbreaking TV tie-in novels. After a decade of such work, he decided it was time to show the world what he could really do and embarked on his first serious original novel. The result is Midnight Riot, the debut adventure of Peter Grant, followed by Moon Over Soho.

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is some months since the events of "Rivers of London," and Constable Peter Grant continues to work in his rather strange assignment with the London police, that of dealing with magical and/or supernatural individuals. His great mentor, Inspector Nightingale, is on medical leave after those previous events, but he can still direct Peter in both his studies and his work; meanwhile, Peter's fellow constable Leslie is trying to come to terms with having, essentially, a melted face as a result of those events. But none of this stops supernatural crimes from occurring, in this instance along the lines of murder by vagina dentana, which appears to be associated with the London jazz scene. Since Peter's father is a jazz musician, he is particularly knowledgeable and well-placed to carry out this investigation more or less on his own.... This second book in Aaronovitch's series is quite fun, albeit in a sometimes grim kind of way. The characters appear more fleshed out than in the first novel, or maybe it's just that the reader is getting to know them better; and Aaronovitch is especially skilled at evoking various sites in London and showing ways in which the supernatural might easily fit in without being noticed. I'm looking forward to reading the third book in the series, and I know a fourth has already been published in England and will be coming to North America in the new year. This is one series where it is essential to read the books in chronological order, so if you haven't already, start with "Rivers of London" (alas, called in North America "Midnight Riot," a terrible title) before tackling this one; once you do that, I'm pretty sure that like me, you'll be hooked! Recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having never read Rivers of London, the first book in this series, I had no idea what this book was all about when I got it from the library. It is, to paraphrase one reviewer, as if Harry Potter grew up to become a cop in London. And practice magic by being part of a Special Branch devoted to cases involving magic, ghosts and the like. And had a father who used to be a jazz musician. And, instead of Prof. Dumbledore and company, had a mentor named Nightengale, a famous wizard.

Oh, and if Harry was black. (Or is it 'African-British' these days?)

There are gods and goddesses here, too, in the form of children of the river Thames. I didn't realize this until I watched our hero, Peter Grant, driving an ambulance into the Thames containing an apparently injured man, saving himself by swimming ashore, and leaving the man behind in the water---because he's a river god, and isn't about to drown. Weird. Not to mention the case he's working on, which involves what seems to be a murderer of jazz musicians but is more like attacks by a vampire with a knife.

You must read this series. It is witty, spooky, at times, hilarious, and always entertaining.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Another great book following on from "Rivers of London". Same cast of characters, funny, sad, tongue-in-cheek writing. What's not to love?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very enjoyable read. Creative, curious and an unexpected slice of London life. I'm looking forward to reading the next books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 184 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Fast-paced, quick-witted urban fantasy March 30 2011
By Justin G. - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
After his memorable introduction in Midnight Riot, London Constable Peter Grant is back in Moon over Soho, the latest offering from Ben Aaronovitch. Grant and his long-lived commanding officer Thomas Nightingale are the "magic police." They're sort of like a two-man BPRD (from Hellboy), "bumping back" at the things that go bump in the night. When members of London's jazz community start dying of suspicious causes, Grant gets involved, only to find that his "jazz vampire" case is just the tip of an iceberg that includes supernatural predators, gangsters, reanimated corpses and some very dark magicians.

Part urban fantasy and part police procedural, Moon over Soho gives us a much deeper look at London's magical community, such as the defunct school for magic (yes, Aaronovitch has a Hogwarts joke), Nightingale's past, magical involvement in global conflicts, and a circle of dark magicians who give Grant and Nightingale a much needed nemesis, and promise to wreak much havoc in future novels. As in the first book, Aaronovitch's brisk pace and razor sharp dialogue (plus loads of sex and violence) keep you engaged throughout the story, and leave you wanting more.

I was impressed by Midnight Riot, and its sequel did not disappoint. This is one of the best of the more recent urban fantasy series, and fans of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series and Mike Carey's Felix Castor novels will definitely want to check out Aaronovitch's work. Start with Midnight Riot and then come back to Moon over Soho.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
He loves London and loves his job. Which is not what he expected. March 2 2011
By Laura Jefferson - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
To begin with, Aaronovitch writes really well and his protagonist is likeable: intelligent, slightly geeky, and charming. The magic in his London co-exists with cell phones and iPads (which, rather as in William Gibson, date-stamp this book for all time). Actually, co-exists is not quite the right word, since one of Peter Grant's problems in life is not blowing the chips of computers around him, as well as paperwork and not seriously upsetting his superiors. He deals with these difficulties more successfully than Harry Dresden has so far, but he has more allies, better luck with women, and a well-drawn family. Although all is not gas and gaiters, Aaronovitch is less relentlessly noir than either Butcher or Mike Carey and less supernatural than Richard Kadrey. I like all of these books but it's nice not to feel doomed sometimes.

Moon Over Soho picks up a short time after the events of Midnight Riot, which you may need to read to understand some of the characterization in this book.
I read the first book only a couple of weeks ago, and I was impatient to read the next one. It did not disappoint and now I want more.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Rooftops and basements May 21 2011
By Robert F O'Connor - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Magic, mayhem and the Met again, mixed in with jazz, evil wizards and accidental necromancy. Someone is killing the jazzmen of London and there's a strange kind of rapist-killer stalking the clubs. Constable Peter Grant finds out more about his mentor, their strange housekeeper, and what happened to his famous father's musical career. Along the way he does a lot of shagging on rooftops and underfurnished apartments, perhaps as a way of coping with the awful things he keeps finding in basements.

One of the good things about Rivers of London was that no one was safe. The streets are in chaos, the victims are random, some survive and some don't. Hero Peter Grant's best friend and lust object ends up horribly disfigured, and in both Rivers of London and Moon Over Soho we see Grant struggling with his sense of responsibility for that - and in particular whether magic can restore what magic destroyed. This feeds in to his desire to understand the source of magic and its relationship to life or life-force. It's an interesting illustration of a post-Enlightenment, scientifically trained mind trying to come to turns with the irrational, with something which doesn't fit into one's understanding of the universe and how it works. Although Grant seems oblivious to the fact that Greater Minds Than His have struggled with the same questions (a character oversight which at this stage I can only hope is intentional or Aaronovitch's part).

But what I liked about this aspect of Moon Over Soho is that it gives us a taste of What Happens Next. The victims of the chaos in Rivers of London aren't left behind in the second book; they're still part of Grant's world, as both a copper and a friend, and at least one of them is a victim and possibly and instigator of what follows in Moon Over Soho.

It's a little bit more disjointed that Rivers of London - once again, Aaronovitch throws in interesting factoids about police procedure and London history but sometimes, in Moon Over Soho, they come across a bit non sequitur-ish - Where is this going? What is this doing here? But Moon Over Soho is still an engaging read, with a good set-up for the next in the series.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A great sequel (not so much a standalone) May 12 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you'll remember from the first volume, Detective Constable Peter Grant is part of the Metropolitan Police's "Economic and Specialist Crime Unit". It consists of two people - Grant and his mentor, DCI Nightingale. Nightingale is much older than he appears and infinitely more knowledgable: he's a wizard. Grant, due to a combination of inclination and misfortune, is also a wizard - at least, he's trying really hard at it.

In the first volume, Grant is wrapped up in a fairly horrific little mystery that involves dark magic and people's faces falling in. The second volume starts with the same promise: someone out there is doing something nasty (and magical). Grant needs to solve it. This time around it is also more personal. The naughty-maker is offing jazz musicians, and Grant's dad is one of the best in the business. Although he's always been wary of it, Grant finds himself easily absorbed into the jazz scene. He finds friends (and ladyfriends) and indulges himself in a little second-hand fame due to his father's reputation. These new contacts prove valuable when it comes to snooping about in the dark and spicy Soho underworld.

Just to keep things interesting, there's also something out there eating people's anatomy. Eep.

The balance here is between plot and meta-plot. One of the cases above is a fairly transparent whodunnit. I'm not the savviest mystery reader, but I found absolutely no mystery in whoactuallyddunnit. The only detection was trying to suss if Grant was being particularly thick or if he actually knew all along and was stringing us along for extra overtime pay. This case is the book's self-contained plot.

The meta-plot is a much more complicated situation that involves the mysteeeerious origins of the magical tradition, a potential Big Bad (or Big Bads), a massive conspiracy, the misbegotten youth of DCI Nightingale and all sorts of stuff that is in no way resolved during the course of this book. It is fun - spell-fights and secret histories are invariably entertaining - but this isn't a mystery, it is epic fantasy with a hat on.

Ben Aaronovitch continues the successful formula of Rivers of London in bringing to the surface the endearing minutae of a city that he clearly adores. He also demonstrates the "real world" problems of a ritual magician trying to have some sort of "normal" life - never is this more aptly demonstrated than Grant having to run the broadband out of the garage, lest the cabling interfere with his home's magical protections. Grant continues to observe his world(s) in a detached way - a narrative voice that lends itself well to dry humor (and fits less neatly with the book's few over-the-top action scenes). Mr. Aaronovitch is, in short, writing the best contemporary occult detective series on the shelf today, and that's by a substantial margin.

My neuroses stem from concerns about the balance of "occult" and "detective". I hasten to add that I am making a very large mountain out of a very small molehill. Moon Over Soho is VERY good. One of PC Grant's core personality traits is his emphasis in approaching everything - even the supernatural - in a modern and rational way. Despite his wizardry, he is, in fact, the consummate detective.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Life-force larceny and mystical malicious wounding Sept. 3 2011
By K. Sullivan - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Something is killing the musicians in London's Soho jazz scene. The deaths appear natural enough, but for those who know what to look for, there are signs of mystical foul-play. Peter Grant is perfect for the case. Not only is he a constable and apprentice to the only wizard on the London police force, but his father is a jazz legend in his own right.

"Moon Over Soho" is the second book featuring Peter Grant (the first was "Midnight Riot" as released in America). Whereas one could pick up with the second book, it does flow naturally out of the first and would be better understood and appreciated in context. Most of the groundwork for the premise is established in the first volume and it is only expanded upon in the second (a little history of magicians in England over the last century).

Though pretty good, "Moon Over Soho" is less successful than its predecessor. They read very similarly but this book no longer benefits from the novelty of the premise. The criticisms I had regarding the first volume still exist but are no longer offset by the freshness of the idea. Once again, the mystery and plotting are not as tightly woven as one would wish. Quite a bit is left hanging at the conclusion. Moreover, the story relied less on humor resulting in more of a standard urban fantasy mystery. Aaronovitch's descriptions of police procedure and London geography and architecture were more jarring this time as well. They weren't integrated as seamlessly as before.

Perhaps most disappointing, however, were the characters. Peter Grant is a delightful protagonist, but he was less "cheeky" this go round. He still displays biting wit and sarcasm, but less ubiquitously. He also seemed more aloof or emotionally distant or unavailable in this story. Perhaps there is a logical or pertinent reason for this, but it made him less empathetic just the same. I still quite like him, but he was different.

Happily, Grant's former (?) love interest, Leslie May, and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, are back. Unhappily, their roles are minor. They are both recouping from injuries sustained in the first volume and are relegated to the background. No new characters are really developed.

I still really like Aaronovitch's premise and protagonist. His writing is fluid and humorous. I'll definitely continue with the third volume, "Whispers Under Ground," when it's available. I just hope Peter Grant returns to earlier form and the plotting gets tighter.