Series: PC Peter Grant
Book Number: 6
Read this book for: dry humour, accurate police procedures, supernatural/magical/fantasy elements, action, London and its history, FBI ties
Quick Review: The brand new Peter Grant instalment is action-packed and fun, with a refreshing return to the main series story and interesting new characters.
PC Peter Grant doesn’t usually deal with non-magical suspicious deaths but when he has a favour called in by one of the Thames goddesses, he can’t refuse. What should be a relatively easy request drops him into the world of London’s super-rich, and some magical items and individuals that are all too familiar, and all too dangerous…
THE HANGING TREE is the sixth Peter Grant novel by Ben Aaronovitch, and is a great addition to the series. This series is absolutely one of those where you cannot pick up the books out of order – they are very closely tied together and unless you have read the rest of the series, later books will not make a lot of sense.
However, this gets a bit tricky in the case of this book. Between the fourth and fifth novels, and again between the fifth and this one, comics/graphic novels with side stories have been published. There have also been a few Waterstones special editions published with additional short stories. Particularly in the case of the comics, this is a bit of a problem, because they are referenced multiple times (and relationships are developed) in THE HANGING TREE. It’s not as necessary to have read the graphic novels, but I would recommend also picking those up for completeness’ sake. This near-requirement to have crossed and found all the media around this book series is my one minor annoyance with this novel.
The rest of the novel capitalizes on the best elements of this series, with more great action sequences (and massive property damage caused to major landmarks, as is typical with Peter Grant), a large cast of varied and mostly familiar characters, and the continuation and further development of the ‘Faceless Man’ plotline – with a few revelations and twists thrown in.
While it does have the skeleton of its own story, involving the appearance and theft of some priceless magical artifacts, and Peter’s attempts to keep out of trouble with the Thames sisters, this instalment really centres around the main series story. However, I felt like we made a lot more progress on that story in this novel than we have in the past few books, which was quite gratifying!
THE HANGING TREE is one of my favourite of the last few novels in this series. If you have been enjoying the adventures of Peter Grant so far, definitely pick this one up!