Midnight Riot by Ben AaronovitchMidnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Series: Rivers of London #1
Published by Tantor Audio on September 28, 2012 (first published January 10, 2011)
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Police Procedural
Length: 9 hrs 56 mins
Pages: 392
Format: Audiobook
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Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Midnight Riot was so fun, in the way that murder, magic, ghosts, and British slang can sometimes be. Constable Peter Grant is on probation and about to be assigned a post where his days will be filled with paperwork. It is only by (bad?) luck, that he stumbles on a murder scene and meets an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost, a ghost he can see and talk with. Peter ends up being assigned to assist Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who runs the Special Operations Unit, responsible for investigating the “unusual” in London. In this first in the series, the two are dealing with a spike of unusual murders in the city while also trying to broker a deal between the gods and goddess of the Rivers of the Thames.

Peter, from whose viewpoint we see the story, is a fabulous character. He has is self-deprecating and firmly rooted in the modern world. He also has an interesting family background that is a part of how he sees/ lives in the world, not separated from it. He approaches learning magic from a viewpoint of a natural scientist- carrying out experiments and creating theories. I listened to the audio and the narrator did a good job bringing Peter to life as well as distinguishing the other characters. He brought out the humor, the accents, the feeling that even though they are surrounded by the magical, the extraordinary, the dangerous, Peter and Nightingale are doing their jobs. At heart, this is a police procedural, just maybe the killer isn’t entirely human.

I’ve already picked up the second from the library.

About Ben Aaronovitch

Born and raised in London Ben Aaronovitch had the sort of unrelentingly uninteresting childhood that drives a person to drink or Science Fiction. The latter proved useful in his early career when he wrote for Doctor Who (before it was fashionable), Casualty and the cheapest soap opera ever made – Jupiter Moon.

Alas his career floundered in the late 1990s and he was forced to go out and work for living. It was while running the Crime and Science Fiction sections at the Covent Garden branch of Waterstones that he conceived the notion of writing novels instead. Thus was the Rivers of London series born and when the first book proved to be a runaway success he waited all of five minutes to give up the day job and return to the bliss that is a full time writing career.

He still lives in the city that he modestly calls ‘the capital of the world’ and says he will leave when they prise London from his cold dead fingers. He promises that he is already hard at work on the next Peter Grant novel and not computer games – honest

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