Tag: Robin Hood

London Falling by Paul Cornell

Posted October 7, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Fantasy / 0 Comments

London Falling by Paul CornellTitle: London Falling (Goodreads)
Author: Paul Cornell
Series: Shadow Police #1
Published: Tor, 2012
Pages: 400
Genres: Fantasy
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Detective Inspector James Quill is about to complete a major drag bust, the type of bust that will launch his career. Then his prize witness went and got himself killed in custody. This mysterious death leads Quill to be recruited by intelligence analyst Lisa Ross into a special CID unit. The murder of his witness suspect Rob Toshack was not a normal one and soon Quill and the team find themselves investigating London’s sinister magical underground.

I’ve said this before, I have a hard time with fantasy but I overcome that by reading books like London Falling. This is a dark and gritty London police procedural/urban fantasy novel; I read it for the mystery and it’s an easy way into the world of fantasy. I’ve had some decent success with this tactic and now I’m faced with the problem of reading urban fantasy and not fantasy.

Let’s get all excited about the author for a moment. For those who don’t know who Paul Cornell is, he has written for Marvel and DC comic books as well as on the TV shows Robin Hood, Primeval, Casualty, Holby City and Coronation Street. The most important achievement and all that really matters is his involvement on Doctor Who; even writing a number of the novels and creating a spin off companion in Bernice Summerfield.

I will admit that I picked this book up solely based on the Doctor Who involvement but I read it because of the dark mystery. I don’t know what it is about English police procedures but for me I think they are far superior; they are not afraid to go dark and the whole police culture over in London in particular is fascinating. With so many cameras filming people’s every move it is interesting to see that the crime rate is still high. I suppose there are not enough men to watch and police every camera but the whole scene fascinates me.

I’ve read the first book in the Ben Aaronovitch series and while that was good, I found this was better. Aaronovitch adds humour to his novel and Peter Grant is a blundering rookie, whereas James Quill is as hard-boiled as they come and you know how much I enjoy that.  The only major issue I had was because this novel tells the story of the CID unit of four people, it is told in a third person perspective and I like the first person perspective in a novel like this just so I can get into the protagonist’s head. This wasn’t a major problem, more of a personal preference.

The book starts off as a police procedural and near the start I was hoping it would turn into something like The Wire but as the magical elements slowly got introduced the book departed from that whole feel and turned into a real urban fantasy affair. The book has a lot of flaws but I enjoyed the noir-ish style and was willing to forgive any shortcomings.

I believe this is the making of a new urban fantasy series and book two, The Severed Streets comes out in April next year.  If you are interested in London based police procedurals and want to try an urban fantasy novel then this is the one to go for you and obviously if you enjoy The Dresden Files series, I would recommend this one as well. It is rare for me to find a series to be excited about, I thought I had that in the Bobby Dollar series but I was disappointed with the second book, let’s hope this isn’t the case with this series too.