Thursday, May 16, 2019

Lies Sleeping, by Ben Aaronovitch

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since my holiday in Salonica in January 2011 where I read my friend Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London, but I recently listened to the audio version of that first instalment and it all came flooding back. Peter Grant is a cop who can do magic, investigating weird shit in London...

Lies Sleeping is the seventh novel in the series - there's also a novella and a spin-off comic series. Here, there's the usual mix of streetwise wit and procedural detail, grounding the investigation in real life and science and history. Ben's gift is to make it feel authentic.
"... me and Guleed ended up in a corridor at UCH guarding [a suspect]'s hospital room, along with a reassuringly solid member of Protection Command in full ballistic armour and armed with an H&K MP5 machine gun. Her name was Lucy and she had three children under the age of five.
'Compared to them,' she told us, 'I don't find this job stressful at all.'
You use Protection Command people for this kind of job because unlike SCO19 they're trained to do guard duty. You want a certain kind of personality who can stand around in the rain for eight hours and still be awake enough to shoot someone in the central body mass at a moment's notice." (pp. 14-15).
There a big, diverse cast of characters, and many now feel like friends. Then there's eye-popping action stuff, some of it read with your heart in your mouth.

It's obviously difficult to write about this book without spoiling earlier instalments, but it's been a real pleasure to bathe in this world again. I especially like how it's a satisfying, standalone story in its own right, but full of stuff pushing forward so that nothing can be the same.

The Waterstones edition includes a bonus story, "Favourite Uncle", told from the perspective of Peter's 15 year-old trainee, Abigail and is a nice bit of Christmas whimsy, never quite going where you'd expect.


Jules said...

and now it's going to be a film with Simon Pegg.

Jules said...

or at least the first one.... and the rest will follow.