I seem to be reading a lot of fantasy lately. Luck of the draw, I guess. But when you can combine modern day wizarding with deft police work, some river gods, a few ghosts, a couple of river gods, a Master wizard who doesn’t really understand modern technology, well, by jingo, you have yourself a story worth reading. Yessir.
In Moon Over Soho, our apprentice wizard Peter Grant, whom we first met in Rivers of London, is back, now with a bit more wizardly skills at his command. Good thing, too, because he is really going to need them. He has some stable control over the werelight (that’s the globe of light he can conjure up in his hand), and the spell that can move things, and a couple of other spells, too. He is working on throwing an explosion, but it often only has the force of a popping balloon, and sometimes the timing isn’t too good, and it doesn’t go off for a couple of minutes. Which isn’t much good if you are facing an Evil Enemy.
In this story, basically a continuation of the previous book, Peter is working alone quite a bit, as his mentor and magic master, Nightingale, is recovering from his terrible injuries suffered in The Rivers of London story, and his partner Leslie, is recovering from her absolutely awful injuries as well. He is called to a murder scene in the men’s room of a jazz club, where the gentleman seems to have had his ummm personals chewed off. A case of vagina dentata, perhaps? Peter suspects a link to the recent deaths of several jazz musicians in the area.
In his investigations, mounting evidence suggests the workings of a black magician. That is, a magician working black magic. Peter gets involved with the former girlfriend of one of the dead musicians, and it is possible the case may turn on her.
We meet again some of the river god personalities from the first book, and when Peter enlists the aid of the young relative of Old Man River to conduct surveillance on a suspicious woman while bar hopping, the fellow is attacked, bringing the ire of all down upon him.
Lots of action, blood, guts, magic, police work.
One thing for certain. Abigail who lived up the road was going on my watch list. In fact, I was going to create a watch list just so I could put Abigail at the top of it.
Great writing: clever, witty, and fun reading.
“What do you call a group of magicians?” I asked. “A gang, a coven?” “An argument,” said Dr. Walid. “It’s an argument of wizards.”
It is a world where genii locurum exist, demon traps tempt the unwary, and enchantment can cloud the vision. And the nearby use of magic degraded chips that had power running through them at the time, but no theory as to how magic actually works. As Peter muses
A little analytical voice in my head pointed out that any working hypothesis was probably going to involve quantum theory at some point — the part of physics that made my brains trickle out of my ears.
Yeah. Lovin’ this series.