Midnight Riot and Moon Over Soho
by Ben Aaronovitch
The cover of Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch’s debut novel (he has previously written episodes of Doctor Who), has a praise blurb from Charlaine Harris. I get that Charlaine Harris is a popular bestseller, and I sincerely hope that her quote helped Aaronovitch sell more books, but it inspired in me similar outrage as Roger Ebert giving Nicholas Sparks my current favorite author burn:
“I resent the sacrilege Nicholas Sparks commits by even mentioning himself in the same sentence as Cormac McCarthy. I would not even allow him to say “Hello, bookstore? This is Nicholas Sparks. Could you send over the new Cormac McCarthy novel?” He should show respect by ordering anonymously.”
Now, I’m not daring to say that Ben Aaronovitch compares to Cormac McCarthy, but he is a significantly better author than Charlaine Harris.
The praise blurb on the back of the book says, “Midnight Riot is what would happen if Harry Potter grew up and joined the Fuzz.” (Diana Gabaldon) I would say rather it is like if The X Files was British and funny. I’m not entirely clear on what the difference between those two is, maybe that the magic elements are addressed in a practical, scientific manner.
Here’s the highest praise I can give a book: the protagonist, Peter Grant (“rookie cop and magical apprentice”) catches onto plot twists as quickly as I do as the reader. Pretty much as soon as I start to think, “hmm, that other character seems kind of suspicious,” Peter Grant thinks the same thing and acts on it. It is extremely satisfying as a reader.
The third book in the series, Whispers Under Ground, is due out in May 2012, and I can hardly wait!