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During their investigation of a crime lord's murder, London police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross interact with a magical artifact that gives them the Sight. Suddenly, they can see ghosts, monsters, and other evil forces inhabiting London's streets and causing many of the crimes they would normally ascribe to "natural" occurrences. Their current case leads the four officers down a strange path involving an ancient witch with a fondness for sacrificing children to gain power, a curse involving the rivals of the West Ham football team, and the famous story of Henry VIII's doomed second wife, Anne Boleyn. -VERDICT The Hugo Award-nominated Cornell (Saucer Country; Demon Knights) has also written episodes of Dr. Who and Primeval. With his first foray into urban fantasy, he has created a group of four very different protagonists who must learn to play well with each other in order to survive London's supernatural shadow world. Despite a slow start, this blend of urban fantasy and crime fiction should find a group of welcoming readers. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Four London coppers form a special task force when the linchpin of their undercover operation a preternaturally successful Mob boss explodes in a shower of blood before betraying any useful information. The investigation into his death becomes a quagmire of occult crimes, especially once the team discovers an artifact that allows them to see more of London's dark side than they ever wanted. With their new Sight, they connect the murder to a powerful witch in the service of the smiling man, who may be trying to bring hell to London. Cornell's noir-tinged London has a deep, devilish occult mythology, though the particulars of this case, involving Anne Boleyn, the history of the West Ham football team, and child sacrifice, can be difficult to follow. The narrative switches frequently among the four officers, and they occasionally become indistinguishable, but each has a compelling stake in the investigation. Although less funny, this Old Bill versus Old Nick story will appeal to readers of Ben Aaronovitch's paranormal police procedural series, Rivers of London.--Hutley, Krista Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Cornell, a Hugo-nominated writer for Doctor Who and various comic books, embarks on a detailed police procedural-style exploration of the darkest parts of London's magical underbelly. This is not a lighthearted or playful romp through a sexy urban fantasy setting; instead it explores elements of real horror, such as kidnapping, rape, and gruesome murder. Though the story can get a bit bogged down by tedious descriptions of procedure or wordy ponderings on the nature of magic, the unusual plot-which follows officers using police techniques to learn, without a guide, about an entire world of magic, superstition, and darkness-will keep readers hooked. Stumbling in the dark is a slow process, but when the lights come on they reveal an interesting and very gritty new fantasy world with ample room for sequel stories. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.