Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
Whispers Underground is the third in the brilliant cross-genre series by Ben Aaronovitch. In this latest instalment, we see Peter Grant still learning the ropes about how to deal with the various aspects of magic that has now become part and parcel of his life. The gang at the Folly find themselves investigating what appears to be the rather strange death of a young American man whose body has been found in an underground station.
Trying to investigate what happened is not made any easier by the fact that his father is a politician and they find themselves with an FBI Agent deployed to keep a watching brief on the investigation. It of course does not bode well. It goes without saying that there is something more than meets the eye in relation to the death and magic is certainly involved. Of course, more murders take place and soon the whole gang find themselves scrabbling around in dark dingy underground places trying to solve the murders.
Peter Grant our protagonist is a rather cynical narrator who is also extremely droll and who has a lovely turn of phrase when need be. We see the return of Lesley and even Peter’s relationship with his boss and mentor appears to have moved up a notch. We are also introduced to a number of other characters whom I hope we will see more of in later books.
One can also not forget the police procedural element of the novel. In fact, this is one of the reasons why I enjoy this series so much. The author does not use the magical element of the storyline in the book to obfuscate the police procedural. He manages to seemly interweave the two together extremely well. It is understandable why this series is enjoyed by crime readers and fantasy readers alike.
Whispers Underground is the type of novel that makes you proud to be a Londoner! The sense of place is superb as London is always very much part of this series and it is brilliant the way in which the author has managed to incorporate this into the novel without overwhelming the reader with too much information. London is very much a character in its own right with plenty of atmosphere and spooky activities. His characterisation is also good and an integral part of what made this book so enjoyable. All the characters have their own unique identity, which are brought to light fascinatingly well by the author.
Whispers Underground also has the ability to make you laugh out loud with the absurdity of what is happening but also make you feel incredibly queasy not long afterwards because of the dark and sometime sinister tones in the book. I can only recommend that you read, enjoy and wallow in Whispers Underground. I am sure the series will take on a life of its own it’s so good!