London Falling (Shadow Police, #1)London Falling by Paul Cornell
My rating: 4/5 cats
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so here is where i have to do that thing that i hate to do which is “admit when i am wrong.”

i rather boldly declared, after reading Carniepunk, that it made me discover that i was not a fan of the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genre.

so, oops.

because while this is assuredly not paranormal romance, it is definitely urban fantasy. and while i have only read one china miéville novel, perdido street station, i know enough about his particular themes and style to try that “bold declaration” thing out one more time and pronounce that fans of his would be fans of this. or maybe also fans of jim butcher. i know less about him, but i know that with him, there are crimes to be solved, using magic-assisted means, and yet it is still all gritty and urban-police-procedural-focused.

which is what this one has going on.

it took a little while to get going, for me. i have to admit, i was utterly confused at the beginning. we are introduced, very rapidly, to a number of characters without learning enough about them to distinguish them from each other. there is a police investigation into an organized crime ring, where there are undercover cops, one of whom may have gone native and is under suspicion by other cops, and the chain of command was a little blurry to me, and everything was speeding along with a raid and a last-minute attempt to collect evidence and everyone sort of looking sideways at each other, suspiciously, and i had no idea who was on the up-and-up and who was conning whom.

but then, THEN, we get to the interrogation scene, where the suspect is behaving all squirrelly and then suddenly he becomes terrified, seems to see something that no one else can see, and then suddenly EXPLODES IN A MIST OF BLOOD! this is not meant to be a spoiler, this is meant to be a hook. this is what will either make you read the book, or know that it is not for you.

that kind of scene is definitely for me.

after that, it was smoother sailing for me. mostly. technically, this is a three-and-a-half that i feel comfortable rounding up because it intrigued me all the way through, and even though there were other points where i was a little confused, i can write that off as my newbie-to-the-genre status and my preoccupation with other life-matters.

the parts that i liked, i really, really liked.

i particularly appreciated the concept of a group of police, suddenly confronted with a whole “other” london, with supernatural forces existing unseen but exerting a dark influence over london-proper, and how they have to find a way to combat these forces using traditional police practices. and how it worked just about as well as you would expect it to. you know, not well at all. but then the unfolding process of how they adapt within that framework to try some more lateral thinking-moves while still employing traditional fact-finding missions and whiteboards and paperwork, with the added benefit of some new…skills. like being able to question, say, a cat. it managed to be both funny and fascinating; this evolution of procedure.

and there were some very memorable scenes that were well-written with their reveals well-deployed. quill’s realization towards the end came as a total shock to me, which might have been due to my compromised attention-span due to those aforementioned life-matters, but i am hoping that it is just because it was carefully written and it comes as much of a surprise to you, too. because it is so nice to find a book that does that well, without cheating, and this one doesn’t cheat.

ross’ character was by far the most interesting, and not because she is the only (“real”) lady. again, the reveal of her backstory was handled deftly, and was one of the most developed departures from the “main” story. her character was the easiest to connect with as a reader. again, not because of gender – she was the most human, while some other characters (sefton) seemed to be more a collection of character traits.

the money shot in this one was spectacular, and is an example of an author taking a real-world scenario and using it unexpectedly and creatively. and it was also very funny. and it was meant to be, i think; i’m pretty sure i am not laughing inappropriately here. which i have been known to do. but you tell me.

i will definitely be reading the follow-up to this one, now that my genre-preference foundation has been rocked.

read my reviews on goodreads

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