Book Review: Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

18274868Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

Published by Del Rey in 2013

Genres: Fantasy, Crime, Mystery, Supernatural

Pages: 304 Format: Paperback Source: Gift

3.5/5 Stars


The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul—they’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

Moon Over Soho is the second installment of the Peter Grant novels exploring the world of magic through the eyes of a police constable. It had been a while since I read the first novel in the series, Rivers in London also known as Midnight Riot, and it took a while for me to get back into it. I originally discovered this series through the book covers and fell in love with them immediately. It just took me a little while to get to them.

I really loved the integration of jazz into the story. The music, the scene, its connections to the past and the present, and the personal connection with Grant’s father really gave the novel depth and intrigue.  The London setting caught my attention the first time around and it continues to be a highlight throughout this one. Soho, in particular, is thrust into focus allowing the reader to immerse themselves in the area.

Another highlight of this book was the exploration of magical properties and supernatural entities. This book delves deeper into the way elements of magic work and I appreciated the discussion between characters on how they believe it comes together. The reader is discovering each new detail as Peter Grant does and it seems this will be a focus going forward.

The biggest issue I have with this book may be Peter Grant himself. His first person narrative is often crude, self-absorbed and occasionally sexist. We see the world through his eyes but it is often hard to connect with him. Also, the rest of the characters in the story feel under developed to me. Maybe Aaronovitch intends to explore them in future novels but Nightingale, Molly, Leslie and more after two novels seem left behind compared to Grant.

Overall the book started out slow but by the end I was fully engrossed. I will definitely be continuing to read this series but probably not right away. I would recommend it, but I do not think it is for everyone.

Favorite Quotes

  1. “For a terrifying moment I thought he was going to hug me, but fortunately we both remembered we were English just in time. Still, it was a close call.”
  2. “Every male in the world thinks he’s an excellent driver. Every copper who’s ever had to pick an eyeball out of a puddle knows that most of them are kidding themselves.”
  3. “The clever people at CERN are smashing particles together in the hope that Doctor Who will turn up and tell them to stop.”

Have you read Moon Over Soho? Tell me your thoughts…


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