Being a great fan of London based supernatural stories featuring policemen, I was really looking forward to Paul Cornell‘s London Falling. I did sort of wonder whether if it would be a bit been there, done that by Ben Aaronovitch already but I thought that would be potentially a good thing as I love Ben Aaronovitch’s books. However London Falling turned out to be not very much like Ben Aaronovitch at all and a lot more like China Mieville, except considerably more readable. Ben Aaronovitch’s stuff is smart and funny and cool, whereas London Falling (and anything I’ve read so far featuring magic, policemen and London by China Mieville, half of Kraken basically) is a lot grittier.
London Falling tells the story of three coppers and an intelligence analyst, whom in the process of an operation get gifted with the Sight, the ability to see the supernatural undercurrents of London. I thought the scenes where the team comes to grips with the fact that they’re seeing things was done very well, that sense and fear that you’re going mad. The team are on the trail of ‘The Witch of West Ham’, an old lady who kills footballers if they score hat tricks against West Ham and has a very nasty way of gaining power to do this. I have to admit that the story lost me a bit in the keeping up the suspense levels about half way through the book but it managed to get my interest sparked again towards the end and with the very obvious set up for an ongoing series I will almost certainly be reading the next book.
*** (out of 5)
NB. Interesting note for Stephen Moffat fans, London falling is based on a concept originally developed for TV many years ago by Paul Cornell and was overseen by Stephen Moffat and Beryl and Sue Vertue, Cornell writes in the acknowledgements that the story has changed out of all recognition since those days but awww I think it would have made a great TV series.