Whispers Under Ground
by Ben Aaronovitch
Cover Artist: Stephen Walter / TAG Fine Arts
Review by Steve Sawicki
Del Rey Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345524614
Date: 31 July 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The body of James Gallagher, American exchange student, is found at the end of the Baker Street tube station in London. Gallagher is the son of a Senator so there's some pressure to solve the case and solve it quickly. This is how London Constable, Peter Grant gets involved. Grant is also a sorcerer's apprentice and, as there appears to be some magic involved in the death, it's a case that he appears well suited for. What starts as a mystery quickly turns into multiple mysteries, a hidden world, drug running, and a rogue magician. And to top it all off the FBI has sent over an ambitious young female agent who's not that keen on magic.
This is the third Peter Grant book and the first that I have read. I don't think missing out on the first two created any difficulty for my following what was going on. Aaronovitch seems to have managed to create a book that is both part of a series but can also be read stand alone.
The concept, of mixing magic and police work is an interesting one and it's played out within the pages as the non-magic wielding inspectors look on with a bit of scorn to the work that Grant and his team need to do. And the setting really just adds to the whole thing. Europe and London in particular, seems ideal locations for this kind of tale.
I liked the book and I do wish I had come in at the beginning of the series, so that would be my first recommendation to you. The second would be to keep a look out for anything that Aaronovitch does in the future. He's a talented writer and I enjoyed every minute of this book. The pacing and tension were excellent, the story was well done and the plotting and characterization top notch.
Recommended for sure.