Right after finishing Rivers of London, I had to continue with book number two in Ben Aaronovitch‘ Peter Grant series, Moon Over Soho. And here is what I think about it.
Synopsis quoted from Orion Publishing Group¹:
I was my dad’s vinyl-wallah: I changed his records while he lounged around drinking tea, and that’s how I know my Argo from my Tempo. And it’s why, when Dr Walid called me to the morgue to listen to a corpse, I recognised the tune it was playing. Something violently supernatural had happened to the victim, strong enough to leave its imprint like a wax cylinder recording. Cyrus Wilkinson, part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, had apparently dropped dead of a heart attack just after finishing a gig in a Soho jazz club. He wasn’t the first.
No one was going to let me exhume corpses to see if they were playing my tune, so it was back to old-fashioned legwork, starting in Soho, the heart of the scene. I didn’t trust the lovely Simone, Cyrus’ ex-lover, professional jazz kitten and as inviting as a Rubens’ portrait, but I needed her help: there were monsters stalking Soho, creatures feeding off that special gift that separates the great musician from someone who can raise a decent tune. What they take is beauty. What they leave behind is sickness, failure and broken lives.
And as I hunted them, my investigation got tangled up in another story: a brilliant trumpet player, Richard ‘Lord’ Grant – my father – who managed to destroy his own career, twice. That’s the thing about policing: most of the time you’re doing it to maintain public order. Occasionally you’re doing it for justice. And maybe once in a career, you’re doing it for revenge.
In Moon Over Soho, we’re back in present-day London and author Ben Aaronovitch still helps us to create vivid images of the book’s setting in our minds. However, the history and architecture that impressed me in Rivers of London now fade into the background.
My favorite character shares this fate. In Moon Over Soho, Inspector Nightingale is a secondary character like many others in the book. Most of the time, he stands on the sidelines and doesn’t even watch what’s going on around the main character Peter Grant, who slowly turns into a testosterone-driven guy, unable to think clearly.
The plot of Moon Over Soho is quite engaging with an unhurried pace. The book picks up right where Rivers of London left off and it doesn’t flood you with information that you already have if you’ve read Rivers. If you aren’t that big a fan of Inspector Nightingale and historical facts, I’m sure this book will please you. For me, these two are important elements that make the series worthwhile. Moon Over Soho is a solid read, but cannot live up to Rivers of London.