Friday, March 22, 2013

Review: London Falling

London Falling
London Falling by Paul Cornell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy/Police Procedural
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of police procedurals, dark urban fantasy, noirish stories
Book Available: April 16, 2013 in Hardcover and e-book; previously released in December 2012 in paperback, which edition is no longer available
Trigger Warnings: Drug dealing, use and abuse; murder (including children); organized crime
Animal Abuse: Sacrifice of pigs, cats, and dogs; while Mora's cat is just a construct made from a dead cat, it is treated roughly

My Thoughts: This is a very weird book. At times the narrative almost feels like a drug trip, especially when the main characters first develop their Sight. I really enjoyed the fact that this is very strongly a police procedural with the fantasy elements intruding, which made for a really fascinating read.

It's fairly obvious to me that Paul Cornell writes for TV. There is very little in the way of physical description of the main characters, and the same can be said of much of their surroundings, because on TV you see them so there is no need to explain. This sometimes made me feel like I was reading from inside someone's head, out of which I could not see. This was disconcerting at times, but the structural narrative was enjoyable and interesting. However, this overly “in the head” aspect of the story was distracting at times and slowed my reading pace significantly, so if that's an issue for you, it's something to consider.

While this is primarily a dark urban fantasy, there are many elements of police procedural in it as well. I was very amused by this description of the sorts of things people tend to say about serial killers.
The neighbors... hadn't, thankfully, done the usual by saying that Losley was a pleasant neighbor who'd kept herself to herself. (Always delivered in a tone of voice that suggested that, since keeping oneself to oneself was the single greatest thing one English person could do for another, the suspect ought to be excused whatever psychopathic shit they'd visited on other people.)

And continuing on the topic of Britishness:
...[his] opinion seemed to matter more than other people's. Oh, very British.
I just love this blend of wry humor, darkness, and generally weird ideas blended together.

It was fascinating to watch literal-minded police officers try to look at the metaphysical around them analytically, such as when they saw a phantom bus.
“You hear stories like that all your life and think: cool, a ghost bus. But now we have to look at this stuff analytically... a ghost bus?! The “ghost” of a motor vehicle? A public conveyance, presumably, which didn't head towards the light, move on to join the choir invisible in... bus heaven, the great terminus in the sky, where all good buses go when they... I don't know, break down, but instead is doomed to … drive eternally the streets of Earth! How can there be a ghost bus?!
To which my husband commented, “Buses don't leave ghosts, they leave fumes.”

Or the note to self that Sefton makes: “I was proceeding in a mystical direction when I encountered a six-foot-two Roman male, with whom I shared a certain sexual tension.
The bits of police process make this more realistic and entertaining to read.

But, overall, an enjoyable read. If you're the type to enjoy police procedural, darker urban fantasy, noirish-type stories, this wonderful cross-genre mishmash should definitely appeal, so be sure to check it out once it's available.

Disclosure: I received an ARC from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: The dark is rising . . . Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete the drugs bust of his career. Then his prize suspect Rob Toshack is murdered in custody. Furious, Quill pursues the investigation, co-opting intelligence analyst Lisa Ross and undercover cops Costain and Sefton. But nothing about Toshack’s murder is normal. Toshack had struck a bargain with a vindictive entity, whose occult powers kept Toshack one step ahead of the law—until his luck ran out. Now, the team must find a 'suspect' who can bend space and time and alter memory itself. And they will kill again. As the group starts to see London’s sinister magic for themselves, they have two choices: panic or use their new abilities. Then they must hunt a terrifying supernatural force the only way they know how: using police methods, equipment and tactics. But they must all learn the rules of this new game—and quickly. More than their lives will depend on it.

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