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Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London 2) by Ben…

Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London 2) (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Ben Aaronovitch

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1,053687,986 (4.01)189
Title:Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London 2)
Authors:Ben Aaronovitch
Info:Gollancz (2011), Edition: Mass Market Paperback, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library, Read in 2012 (inactive)
Tags:Kindle, 2012

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Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (2011)


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Book two in the urban fantasy cop series that started with Midnight Riot (aka Rivers of London). This one features dead jazz musicians and vagina dentata (although not necessarily at the same time).

I had mixed feelings about the first book, as I really loved the setting, the way it handled the magic, and a number of other things, but I thought the pacing was way off and I had some issues with the plot, especially the way I was able to figure out certain things long, long before the characters did.

Well, I'm pleased to report that I didn't have the same problems with this one. The detective plot wasn't super-special, and it leaves a lot of things open to (presumably) be picked up on in the sequels. But it was entertaining enough, and never frustrating the way the first one was for me. I'm still liking the world-building and the way it handles the supernatural elements; a lot of what this series is doing could easily feel like a generic urban fantasy retread, but there's enough originality here to avoid that, as well as a very strong sense of place that really helps to ground things. I like the main character a lot, too, even if I do feel inclined to look askance at his willingness to hop into bed with a woman who is connected to a murder he's investigating. (Tsk, tsk!) There's a good sense of humor threaded through it all, too, as well as some appealing (to me, anyway) flashes of nerdiness.

So, overall, it was an enjoyable read, and I'm feeling much more interested in continuing on with the rest of the series now. ( )
  bragan | Dec 11, 2014 |
The second Peter Grant book, this time revolving around jazz musicians dying suddenly and Peter's enthusiastic new girlfriend. That part of the story was interesting, but the stuff about the Faceless Man confused me. Sure, it's horrifying, but who is he and what's his deal? If it was ever explained, I missed it. I did, however, enjoy the jazzmen characters and getting to know Peter's parents a bit better. ( )
  melydia | Oct 30, 2014 |
I liked Rivers of London so much that I didn't want to use up its few sequels too readily. The plot of Moon Over Soho was a draw: “Someone, or something, is stalking the streets of Soho – drawn to that special gift that separates the great musicians from the rest.” However this isn't quite such a cosy, charming book as the first one. It's a slightly different beast, harder-edged. This is Soho, after all.

Even though I don't particularly like jazz, I loved the attention to detail around the music: describing the label on a vinyl record, talking about all the different versions of a track recorded by artists down the decades (jazz, or this field of it, seems to lack the prog-era obsession with singer-songwriter “authenticity” that remains a big part of rock & pop; here the virtuosity of musicians and their interpretation is what's vital). And the theme is poignant, a parallel with all the great musicians whose careers were cut short by more earthly demons of drugs, depression, drink and so forth. Though some might say the means is more like groupies...

Peter Grant's personality has changed a smidgen: a bit more laddish, a bit more selfish than in book one. His “mistakes” could be a predilection for action-movie fireworks and collateral damage (not to mention dodgy femmes fatales) instead of the fumblings of a sweet, well-intentioned rookie. At the heart of this is a cocky young bloke in his early twenties with only a couple of years' policing experience being left to his own devices for large parts of the book, practically running an investigation – his superior in their two-man magical policing division of the Met has been recovering from serious injury sustained during their last major case, as is Lesley, his friend/crush from police college and voice of reason. Okay, it is a first-person narrative, but compared with the last book there's a bit too much of Grant's voice for the first two thirds, not enough of other people's, and he makes a few stupid decisions and throws his weight around in ways that Rivers of London suggests he wouldn't have with Nightingale and Lesley closer at hand. It looks like they'll have more to do in the next book, anyway.

He still, though, has that same background awareness of race issues that does sound like a mixed-race young British guy of his age with no radical / activist views. (I understand Aaronovitch's son is mixed-race and that the character probably owes a fair bit to him.) And his general mainstream, very marginally left-of-centre outlook and mixture of laddishness and responsibility reminds me of someone I knew who wanted to join the police around the same age. Aaronovitch's London sounds, more than most fictional Londons - and regardless of the magic - like the real one you actually walk around in now, in the early 21st century, a bit like Zadie Smith's but wittier and less judgemental, and with a an awareness of the layers of history as strong as Peter Ackroyd's. He still likes his engaging historical infodumps – fine by me, though if it were a city I'd never been to, the lack of maps in the book would frustrate – but he's becoming craftier at weaving in sly references, Pratchett style. Cosgrove Hall, the producers of Dangermouse and Count Duckula, becomes a school; and Sophisticats, Soho strip joint and subject of a TV documentary series c.10 years ago, seems a likely inspiration for part of the story.

The Grant series isn't quite as fluffy as I thought (I'd recommended it to a handful of people who probably wouldn't like this second book, thinking it as friendly as Discworld) but it's still a fun bit of comic fantasy, and there's plenty of potential for more stories in these characters. ( )
  antonomasia | Jun 11, 2014 |
A statistically unlikely number of jazz musicians are dropping dead during or straight after a gig and a number of men have been found with their penises bitten off. Peter Grant, half of the Met's magic squad, is investigating these incidents. Are they related?

Better paced than the first in the series. I'm not sure whether the evil black magician is going to be a recurring character or an ongoing story arc through the books. Either way, although I'm quite happy to have the world built up over a series of books with more and more background revealed, I'd prefer each story to be complete in itself. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Feb 19, 2014 |
Not as good as Book 1, but still mostly satisfying.

I liked that only a short time had passed between the end of Book 1 and the opening of Book 2, and the loose threads had plenty of consequences. Sadly, this meant that Lesley (spelled Leslie in this edition -- maybe I got the UK edition of the first one? I don't know) was out of the picture for most of it. She is grossly disfigured and the ending gives her the start of a great arc.

The whole plot of this book centers on Peter having lots and lots of sex, which mostly isn't terribly graphic but did get a little tiresome...mostly because I tend to read pure erotica when I want to read sex scenes. I expect mysteries to have more mystery in them.

I was a little disappointed at how transparent the case was, but the journey was fun and the romp through jazz history was lovely.

GLBT-interest tag for 2 queer minor characters, commentary on cruising, and implications that a major character was bi. The narrative voice is relentlessly politically correct (as a person of color) and usually ironic about the institutionalization of PC culture -- except when it comes to the historical use of "Black Magician", which he won't stand for and insists be called "ethically challenged magician" instead. It's both funny and a really wonderfully presented example of why it matters.

Gender politics took a blow in this book, though, since the Pale Lady with the vagina dentata was killed (accidentally, kind of) by our hero, AND the love interest (along with her sisters) committed suicide in lieu of dealing with having killed dozens of people over the decades -- just before our hero reached the scene.

Meanwhile, the male villain got away. One of his male minion-victims died, but the villain himself got away. (I wish I were surprised, but given the amount of time Peter spends having sex when he should be solving his case, I'm hardly surprised.)

Anyway, not as good as the first, but I can't help but read the first book as the pilot episode with this as the transitional episode immediately following. The next one has the potential to be much better. And to show Leslie to much better advantage. *hopes* ( )
  sageness | Feb 7, 2014 |
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Ben Aaronovitchprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holdbrook-Smith, KobnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Men have died for this music.

You can't get more serious than that'

Dizzy Gillespie
For Karifa, because every father yearns to be a hero for his son.
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It's a sad fact of modern life that if you drive long enough, sooner or later you must leave London behind.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345524594, Mass Market Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Rookie cop and magical apprentice Peter Grant from Midnight Riot returns inthis urban fantasy tale of magic and murder, set to a jazz beat.

(summary from another edition)

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