Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Rivers of London: Body Work

Ben Aaronovitch (author)
Andrew Cartmel (author)
Lee Sullivan (artist)
Titan Comics

Peter Grant is part of a very special London police unit. Full-time cop and part-time wizard, he works on rather unusual crimes - those that involve magic and the general weirdness that permeates London's dark underbelly.
His latest case begins with a perfectly innocent car on a homicidal killing spree - without a driver. But then, before you know it, there's a Bosnian refugee, the Most Haunted Car in England, a bunch of teenagers loaded on Katamine and a seemingly harmless wooden bench with the darkest of pasts.

I read the most recent of the 'Rivers of London' books the other day and enjoyed it thoroughly so I hopped online to check out when we could expect to see the next only to discover that a comic book version had snuck out while my back was turned.  It seems that there's a current, still in the pamphlet version, story also - called 'Night Witch' - but happily there's also an already collected older series too.  I think I was a lot happier to find this out than my bank account was.

Ben Aaronovitch
As is often the case with these side project things nothing overt ever really happens because it would impact to strongly on the main series and be missed by / confuse / annoy (delete as applicable) those who only read the prose books.  Now, this isn't something that I mind overly.  I quite like a more day to day story rather than an ever driving forward, it's all a big conspiracy, looming big bad, "Doom is coming! Doom I tells ya!" type deal.  There's a nod here to the bigger picture with two characters having a covert conversation, one of whom we see and one who we can only guess at.

The story here tells of the investigation of a drowning that leads Peter and Detective Constable Sahra Guleed off on a chase after haunted cars and Peter's boss Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale on a trip down memory lane to revisit a past he'd rather leave well alone.

Andrew Cartmel
As it's written by Aaronovitch it's no surprise that everything here feels right and the story is a solid 'Rivers...' piece even if it's lack of a novels page count means it is a little more slight than usual and I'm not entirely convinces that the two story strands really hang together entirely convincingly and they seem far too blasé about using their magic in front of civilians but I'm quibbling and besides the whole Nightingale storyline is worth it just for the final two panels.
Lee Sullivan
As a very welcome added bonus the book ends with a number of single page shorts called, in one case, 'Tales from the Thames' and 'Tales from the Folly' in the rest and a slightly longer one about the perils of bringing children into a magical environment called 'Sleep No More'.  These shorts are a lovely little opportunity to feature various cast members in joyously humorous vignettes.

I have a real affection for this series and discovering this extra book was an exciting prospect but as is always the case a new thing in a favourite series comes with an element of worry that it's not going to live up to it's predecessors.  Well, this one did whilst, thanks to Lee Sullivan's crisp and clean art, also adding a whole new visual element that, with the exception of Molly's cloth cap, matched the images in my head and I'm very much looking forward to the next collection.

Buy it here - Rivers of London: Body Work  
NB - you can read our write-ups of the first 3 books in the 'Rivers of London' series here, the 4th here and the 5th here.

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