Rivers of London is the first book in a hugely successful series of crime novels set throughout London town. So far, so familiar. In the first couple of pages, a decapitated corpse has been found in an iconic area of Covent Garden, with the key witness being a ghost. Yep - that pretty much grabs your attention and sets the scene for this supernatural rollercoaster ride across the city.
Ben Aaronovitch's writing is fantastically funny, told through the viewpoint of a young mixed-race, slightly rubbish policeman called Peter Grant. While his colleagues are chasing down criminals, he is more likely to be reading a plaque on a statue at the crime scene. It is this gift and desire to know more which enables him to be able to see ghosts and become an apprentice to Inspector Nightingale - the last wizard in England.
As more random acts of violence occur, Peter becomes intent on finding out the cause of ordinary Londoners suddenly erupting in anger and having there faces split open. Along the way he acquires a ghost-hunting dog and meets vampires and the spirits of the Thames.
What makes this book really effective is that it describes parts of London really accurately, which makes the 'magic' in the book a lot more realistic. The juxtaposition between traditional magic and modern technology is explored really well and the characters are well-written are likeable.
I don't often read crime fiction, but this instantly intrigued me and is unlike anything I have read before. I hope the rumours of a television series are true, as this would work really well on screen. I will definitely be interested in reading the other three books in the series so far.
Find out more about the books at www.the-folly.com