Series: DC Peter Grant
Book Number: 3
Read this book for: dry humour, accurate police procedures, supernatural/magical/fantasy elements, action, London and its history, FBI ties
Quick Review: An excellent (if slightly weird) instalment in this fantastic series that tends toward Neil Gaiman at points, with all the fun and focus of a good murder mystery.
The body of an American exchange student – the son of a senator – is found murdered on the tracks at Baker Street tube station, and PC Peter Grant gets pulled in over some of the stranger elements of the case. While DI Nightingale tracks the ‘Faceless Man’, Peter gets to literally dig through the tangled depths of London to get to the bottom of the case. This task is further complicated by the arrival of an FBI agent who Peter is not supposed to tell about magic…
WHISPERS UNDER GROUND is the third Peter Grant novel by Ben Aaronovitch, and stands alone slightly better than most of the other novels in the series. However, I would still recommend reading RIVERS OF LONDON and MOON OVER SOHO before tackling this one in order to really be able to best follow what is happening (particularly in the ‘Faceless Man’ plot).
As I have said before, these books are so closely linked that it is extremely difficult to read any of them as a standalone. This novel’s particular link to the others is the Faceless Man, which is referenced consistently but not really explained in this novel, making a read through the other books a must.
While the Faceless Man exists as a separate plotline, this novel predominately focuses on Peter’s investigation into the death of the American art student, and an entire realm of magic he had never previously considered. While the ‘urban fantasy’ element of the novel is much stronger in this book – think along the lines of magical people and places embedded in everyday London, like Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley or Grimmauld Place – the mystery plot is also quite well done. While it gets a bit complicated by the end, the whodunnit element makes a good starting point for the supernatural elements of the book, and balances the fantasy portion well.
Definitely pick up WHISPERS UNDER GROUND, particularly if you have enjoyed any of the prior novels! It’s hard to put down, and a fun read.